Learning from the interns

A learning process: IX Telecom Sdn Bhd co-founder and deputy chief executive officer Mohd Amzari Tajudeen (standing left) and Noor Mohd Helmi (standing right) sharing a light moment with the interns (from left) Steenhoek, Anna Potapov, Daniel Kress and Shivani.

The rapid growth in technology requires companies to look far and wide for ways to grow their businesses.

IX Telecom Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Noor Mohd Helmi Nong Hadzmi is making use of an opportunity to seek input from four interns from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management.

The students, from the Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab) faculty, were with the Cyberjaya-based telecommunication services company from Jan 5 to Jan 23.

“We began with briefing them about our business, and the challenges involved.

“As the founders of the company, we are technical people, so getting insights from people with formal business education is refreshing,” he tells Metrobiz.

G-Lab students have been sent to over 300 start-up and growing companies in emerging markets around the world since 2000, delivering insight and analysis in areas such as strategy, new-market entry, human resource development and marketing.

“We looked at 10 challenges and narrowed them to three critical areas — business strategy, realignment of core business with core competency and the streamlining of company processes. We rarely think about them but they are important,” Noor Mohd Helmi said.

The interns’ varied backgrounds in chemical engineering, medical science, finance and economics and their knowledge of best practices and business frameworks helped the company refine their business decisions.

But theory alone wouldn’t have been enough to convince the tech-savvy team in IX Telecom to radically change its methods.

Prior to receiving the interns, Noor Mohd Helmi had been selected as participant in the MIT G-Lab CEO Summit in Cambridge, Massachusetts in September last year to meet with the industry experts and to learn from one another.

“I met with engineering andbusiness professionals and looked at how these groups of people come together to commercialise new inventions.

“I also attended their technology licensing talks and was given a tour of their robotics science labs,” Noor Mohd Helmi said.

IX Telecom was one of the three companies in Malaysia selected by MIT for the programme around the world for their students to do projects in their host companies.

A total of 42 companies were selected worldwide for this programme.

MIT selected the companies based on the impact the companies had in emerging markets.

Shivani Kumar, one of the interns, said understanding a business and relating it to the frameworks she learned was the first step to looking at how things could be improved.

“We also observed that the team in IX Telecom is very involved in the company’s activities, contrary to the typical stereotype of top-down management of the Asian culture,” she said.

Another intern Mark Steenhoek added that by helping business owners find what their core business is and focusing on it, would help the business owner to focus on how to deploy their resources.

“It is important for businesses to grow that niche before going for other opportunities. This is important for the customers who know that they get the best expertise they need.

“For potential investors, they would also be able to identify what business they are investing in hence being better to diversify their investments,” he said.

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