“I feel that I had achieved what I was hoping to get out of the last 6 months – trying a new, unfamiliar role in an industry that I don’t specialise in, and also learning new approaches and techniques to apply to my future career.”
By Lee Shang En
change of perspective.
When I first started looking for internships for the semester, I never would have thought that I would end up in Design Prodigy, which didn’t seem like the ‘right fit’ for an engineering student like myself. Marketing and Engineering do not have any obvious correlation between them after all, at least that’s what I thought initially. The unpredictable climate as a result of the ongoing COVID situation around the world definitely played a part in opening me up to a new challenge, one that would deviate from the conventional choice of internship within my comfort zone. DP stood out as a company with a more all-rounded approach in grooming its interns. The concept of polymathy definitely holds true for much of what I have experienced in the past 24 weeks, and it definitely helped me to mature, not just as a marketing technologist, but also as an engineer.
It was overwhelming at first, trying to learn new concepts and software while also adapting to the work environment (virtual, but still daunting nonetheless). This would eventually prompt me to discover something that would be repeatedly drilled into our heads – that we shouldn’t be too obsessed with the tools to achieve certain objectives; proper goal setting and planning is way more important. As an engineering student, I was used to answering questions that were set given certain constraints and assumptions, which quite literally made me think within this ‘box’, with its fixed set of rules. To achieve the best possible end result though, we should be planning for success and finding the right set of tools to get there, rather than to only limit ourselves to the tools at our disposal.
The secret to becoming a polymath is to learn fast and cover as much ground as possible in the different fields, spreading your attention while not losing sight of your objectives. Being in DP for a 6 month-long internship, there have been multiple projects to partake in, and multiple clients to deal with, and these start right from the get-go. While that may seem daunting, we were given a lot of trust and freedom in dealing with these tasks, as well as tons of guidance and support from colleagues, so we were in a safe environment to explore any ideas we might have.
Another thing about the polymathic approach is the collaborative nature of the workplace, which meant that the team often has to learn from one another in order to expedite our projects. It is natural for different people, even ‘polymaths’, to be more well-versed in certain fields than others, so something that really amazed me was the eagerness of everyone on the team to share any knowledge they have, either through their own research, or maybe just something they had read about in some news article.
I feel that I had achieved what I was hoping to get out of the last 6 months – trying a new, unfamiliar role in an industry that I don’t specialise in, and also learning new approaches and techniques to apply to my future career. Above all, my biggest takeaway is to never be fazed by the task at hand; trust in your ability to deal with seemingly unsolvable problems because the answer is often a synthesis of existing solutions.
If I were to have one criticism of the entire journey, I would say that we could have been pushed even further in terms of having to deal with more projects and fulfilment work for clients concurrently, which would have further honed our abilities to work in multi-dimensions and help us make the ‘jump’ sooner.
All in all, I would like to thank Design Prodigy for this fruitful and eye-opening experience, as well as the team for being so approachable and patient. All the best for 2021!