Wanted – only the best!

Graduate training schemes and internship programmes are a win-win situation for both employers and job seekers. SIMRIT KAUR checks out two such programmes. 

ASK MOST graduates, where their dream jobs lie and most would say “with a multinational company”.  

The general perception is that such firms offer higher pay, more challenges and better prospects.  

AHMAD GHUZAL: We need to seek out talented individuals, or we will lose out.

This makes it difficult for other companies to attract quality candidates.  

So how do the smaller players attract the best?  

Affin Bank thinks it has found a solution through its Affin Associates programme.  

“Our programme is not the typical management executive programme,” says Affin Bank’s head of human resource Ahmad Ghuzal Tahir. 

“We target highly-talented individuals with potential from both local and foreign institutions and are prepared to offer something different to induce people to join.”  

The programme is the brainchild of Affin Bank CEO Datuk Abdul Hamidy Abdul Hafiz who was formerly head of Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Berhad. 

Affin Bank Berhad is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Affin Holdings Berhad which is listed on Bursa Malaysia. It has 3,400 employees. 

“We are a mid-sized bank that believes in developing talent from within. We do not want to take the easy way out by pinching staff. Our programme trains participants to think like businessmen.  

Globalisation and ICT has turned banking into a highly competitive industry.  

“As banking is about knowing how businesses operate, we put trainees in an environment where they will learn all the businesses the bank feels is essential to achieving its objective,” says Ahmad Ghuzal. 

The key components of Affin Associates is industry attachments with local conglomerates and multinational companies as well as coaching sessions and stints at renowned business schools. The programme, which will run for 12 months, is expected to begin in January. 

The MSC internship programme at EDS offers fresh graduates a taste of working life.

“During the attachment, we will send them for training in renowned regional or international business schools,’’ adds Ahmad Ghuzal. 

Another unique thing about Affin Associates is that students will not be bonded to the company.  

Rather than looking at “dropouts” as a waste of time and resources, Affin adopts a more long term view.  

“Banking is all about relationships. We believe the people we select will be somebody in the business world one day, so the relationship they forge with us, even if they leave the company later, will stand us in good stead,” explains Ahmad Ghuzal. 

However, Ahmad Ghuzal is confident most will stay on, attracted by the fact that they were handpicked to be part of the bank’s succession plan. 

Affin Associates is open to final-year Malaysian students in any discipline who possess a minimum CGPA of 3.0. 

The closing date is Sept 15. For more information, visit www.affinbank.com.my/associates.  

Internship with a difference 

Ranked among the top 100 companies in the United States, EDS Malaysia or Electronic Data Systems has no problem getting good employees.  

However, the company wanted to contribute to the development of knowledge workers in Malaysia by participating in an internship programme. 

EDS president Ayut M Patel says that the programme is run in collaboration with the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC). 

“The inter aids in knowledge transfer and is in line with EDS’ philosophy of promoting talent from within. We will offer the good ones permanent positions in the company.”  

Recent graduates from both local and foreign universities do a six-month attachment at the company. 

According to EDS shared services manager R Rishesingar, planning the programme took about one and a half years.  

“We wanted to make sure the interns receive sufficient experience, so we decided to send them to various departments on a rotation basis.  

“It’s a very rigorous programme as they get to see what the different business units do and their modus operandi. In many graduate training programmes, trainees are not given much responsibility but at EDS we expect trainees to deliver.” 

Successful graduates commenced work on March 1. 

For the first two months, interns were given a taste of working life in the various divisions at EDS before they were sent, in May, for compulsory intensive training on business writing skills, communication English, presentation skills and leadership, teambuilding and problem solving. 

Then, in June and August, they were assigned to their respective managers for on-the-job training after an assessment to see where their talents and skills best fit in.  

“Our programme is focused more on depth rather than breadth,” explains Rishesingar. 

He adds that EDS will make a decision on which interns it will take on permanently after the programme ends in September. About half will probably be given permanent posts. 

The interns, 16 of them, are sponsored by MDC. About 20% are from non-IT disciplines and there is a good mix of local and foreign graduates as well as bumiputra and non-bumiputras. 

Shahrul Rizal Che Hashim, 26, Lee Yew Kheong, 23, and Venukanna Ganapathy, 23, are all in the last phase of their internship. Venukanna says he did not join the programme because of a lack of job opportunities. 

“I have always wanted to work for a MNC and I knew this programme would improve my prospects. It is very well-structured  

“In the first two months, we got to serve in several departments before being given the choice of which department we wanted to be placed in for the rest of the programme.” 

Lee decided on the procurement department and is currently handling the account of an Australian bank. He orders hardware and software and likes the working hours as “I get to manage my social life and work time.” 

Shahrul, who is a master’s degree holder, is responsible for the servers of a local bank. “It’s very challenging and I feel a sense of satisfaction when I solve a problem.” 

For more information on the programme, log on to http://internship.mdc.com.my  

Related Stories:Employable skills The other side of the story The dos and don’ts 

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