What had initially drawn me to join the Leadapreneur team in Kuala Lumpur was Jan and Jess’ strong conviction that the way young people are educated could radically be changed. They are on a mission to radically disrupt higher education. I had also been attracted by the flexibility in working hours and working space that a rapidly growing startup presented as I knew this would definitely fit well with me.
After a couple of email exchanges and Skype conversations I got their green light to spend six weeks with them working on the different projects they were working on from the Malaysian capital. 18 months after settling into a new country and a new continent, Leadapreneur was welcoming its first intern!
"An intense well-rounded and highly rewarding experience". ~ Bettina Guirkinger
From our first team dinner over a tasty banana leaf I was allowed to get an overview of the business operations, what had been achieved so far and what needed to be done. My first responsibility was to be community manager for the EPIC Champions Programme, an experiential programme where 1,000 university students discover what they are passionate about, and are awakened and engaged to become highly employable and entrepreneurial. EPIC was created, and being delivered, by Leadapreneur for one of its key partners: INTI International University & College.
What I enjoyed the most, apart from seeing Jan and Jess totally rocking it on stage, was probably to see a spark light up in some of the participants when they came to discover their purpose and realise what they were truly capable of. It was also great for me to get back into the training-delivery mode and get back in front of a Gen-Y audience since my years as Vice-President in AIESEC The Netherlands, not only in KL but in all of INTI’s campuses including Penang and Sabah.
Another major responsibility was to organise Leadapreneur’s first edition of the Forum series, gathering representatives from different industries to create the new standard for education that goes beyond the GPA. This first edition was a great success as it allowed us to get the ball rolling towards changing mindsets among employers, educators and students.
The Forum was quickly followed by the launch of the first day of the Leadapreneur Academy, a platform that enables top talent to discover their purpose & develop the professional skills they need to successfully turn their passion into action, and becoming highly employable. For both events I was responsible for finding an appropriate venue and get students and partners, with the dedicated help of Jess, who allowed me to reach out to them.
Over the course of EPIC, The Forum and the Leadapreneur Academy, I learned tons about innovation and how to transform the current education system. I learned to work with Malaysian students and lead a diverse team of facilitators. I met incredible people that taught be greatly just from being who they are. I enjoyed learning about “pivoting” and the great results that can come out of it.
And of course it was not all work and I can honestly say I had more than my fair share of fun with Jess & Jan - from a hilarious team-bonding activity at a climbing gym to our regular training runs up the Mont Kiara hill with Jess to meeting some of their close friends visiting from Cambodia over a crazy weekend. Not to mention the very successful Mexican-themed party that master-Jess had prepared for weeks and our getaway trip to the Sipadan islands in Borneo to dive in one of the top diving spots in the whole wide world, hanging out on pristine white beaches and swimming in turquoise waters… I will never forget Jan’s random facts of the day and Jess’ glorious awkward moments. It made my experience all the more fun and enjoyable! I am surprised I managed to lose some weight despite the copious amounts of delicious food, combined with treating myself to some fabulous massages. Kuala Lumpur is an awesome city to be in and when work is fun it becomes an explosive combination that turned those six weeks into an unforgettable experience.