It is that time of the year again, where students and professionals gather for Bondue’s signature networking event.
Bondue Business Forum (BBF) is a combination of panel discussions and networking sessions, where students can interact with and gain targeted advice and insights from experienced professionals from renowned companies. This year’s theme was “Connecting Insights”, which focuses on the industrial trends, the nature of the various jobs, and the challenges faced by professionals on a day-to-day basis. Companies that came down for BBF varied from big-name companies like Google and Deloitte, to up-and-coming start-ups like Howdy and Saleswhale.
BBF officially kicked off after a welcome speech by Professor Gregor Halff, Deputy Dean (Programmes) for the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, which was then followed by the panel discussions. Panellists were asked how industry leaders can identify and move into emerging markets, given the increasing focus to capitalise on high growth potential economies. They were further asked how undergraduates can prepare themselves to be ‘regionally ready’.
Mr Spencer Li, Managing Director of Synapse Trading, shared the story of how a friend of his could find employment very easily after graduation even though he was often seen at the club, then jokingly asked the audience what the moral of his story was. Ultimately, he advised students not to understate the importance of networking – not just in a formal setting, but also those in an informal setting that undergraduates might miss out on.
In addition, Mr. Anthony Pagano, Regional President (Asia Pacific) of Burger King, talked about figuring out what undergraduates would want to do, what their aspirations are, and to follow those aspirations by finding places that allows undergraduates fit those aspirations.
Ms. Doina Costache, Regional Leader (Asia Pacific) Branding & Advertising for Google encouraged undergraduates to focus on acquiring skills instead of focusing on their intended profession. Her reason was that “the profession might change, but (with) your skills - once you build the very basic foundation - it is very easy for you to switch from one profession to another.”
She also answered the golden question: What does it take to get hired by Google? She commented that it was a rather simple recipe, and that is to “stay hungry”.
Students and professionals then proceeded to the networking segment, where students were free to approach the various companies and talk to them personally. To fit over 200 people in the University Lounge was no mean feat, and it was evident that the space constraint meant that it was difficult to walk around to find professionals or even have a conversation without feeling cramped. However, the hunger and thirst for knowledge did not deter the students, and they were very quick to strike up conversations and ask their questions.
There was no doubt that BBF helped students find out more about the various industries and professions, as well as gain connections with influential individuals. However, some students wished the networking portion of the event was extended, as some of them were asked to vacate the venue and continue their discussions outside as Bondue began to pack up and clear the venue.
All-in-all, this year’s instalment of BBF was yet another success for Bondue. For those intending to attend such networking events, I encourage you to have initiative, be open-minded, and most of all be sincere in forming connections. Take the initiative to approach professionals, be open-minded enough to accept new and different insights, and be sincere enough to follow-up on your networks even after the event. With that being said, hopefully BBF will come back next year, bigger and better than ever.