Big win for CEOs in the making


  • News
  • Saturday, 10 Dec 2016

Jamaludin (fourth from left), Khairil (left), Badrunnisa (second from left) and Gopi (right) celebrate with the winning team members Sahbani (third from left), Mohamad Fairuz Izwan (fifth from left), Tee (sixth from left) and Wong (seventh from left).

SHOCKED, excited, ecstatic – these were the feelings a team of four young leaders could not contain as they came out tops in the Year 1 Grand Finale of the Axiata Young CEO Development Programme (YCDP)

Mohamad Fairuz Izwan Basri, Tee Ai Ven, Austin Wong and Sahbani Shapudin won judges over with their Wedding Easy digital business project proposal, a startup for an integrated wedding planning system that caters to a particular market segment.

“Our raw idea started from events planning in general, but once we did market validation and further market surveys, we realised there’s a more niche and untapped market in wedding events and in the Malaysian Muslim segment,” said Tee.

Jamaludin spends time taking questions from programme participants.

Jamaludin spends time taking questions from programme participants.

The journey of drawing up a business plan was one Mohamad Fairuz referred to as a rich experience for the team.

“We learned a great deal throughout this first year, it’s something you might not even get from attending a business school.

“Axiata brought in coaches and facilitators for our benefit, and the training was as intense as it was enlightening,” he said.

But Wong said the team will not rest on its laurels.

“Now that we have our startup, we’re going to be working rigorously on it, and perhaps our second and third year training would focus on how we can manage it better as a team of CEOs,” he expressed.

The team pitched their proposals against two other groups to a tough panel of judges.

They consisted of Axiata Group Berhad chief talent officer Datin Seri Badrunnisa Mohd Yasin Khan, Axiata Digital chief executive officer Khairil Abdullah, Google Malaysia, Vietnam, Phillipines, and New Emerging Markets managing director Sajith Sivanandan and MDEC vice-president of development consulting Gopi Ganesalingam.

The grand finale also saw the presence of Axiata president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim who delivered a keynote to inspire the programme’s participants.

He imparted his experience and spoke of the skills and attributes leaders needed to practise.

YCDP is the latest innovation and highest track of the Axiata Young Talent Programme, which is geared at nurturing world-class game-changing CEOs of tomorrow.

Its 75 participants were narrowed down from more than 6,000 entries over an intense selection process.

“They’ve gone through four resident boot camps throughout extended weekends, various projects and online modules, as well as personalised coaching and engagement sessions,” said Badrunnisa.

Over the last 11 weeks, the teams also went through ideation, marketing validation, prototyping and execution for a sustainable business model that can generate RM1mil minimum revenue in the first year.

“This is no small feat. they are all winners in that they’ve gone through a lot learning,” said Badrunnisa.

YCDP is a three-year programme exclusive to Malaysians aged 20 to 25.

Its pioneer batch comprised of students, fresh graduates and young professionals from various fields.

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