The Intern Takeaway: Business Development




The Dilemma

Ever felt at a loss with what to do? Ever felt dread as LinkedIn prompts you to congratulate your friend on starting a new, complicated-sounding position at a famous MNC? Well, that was me. As I saw my friends secure internships left right and centre, I began to realise that I didn’t know what I was going to do for the summer. I knew I had the sufficient soft skills to do well in a generalist, business-minded role, but I was also conflicted by my education as a Mechanical Engineer. Should I lean into my hard skills, or explore my soft skills? Perhaps a position that allows me to flex both? The indecisiveness was burdensome, to say the least.

Not everyone needs to code

Then I received an announcement: “FoodRazor is looking to hire a Product Development Intern.” I was intrigued. And so, I decided to apply for the interview. Funny thing was, while I had minimal computing skills, the company was generous enough to offer me an alternative Business Development role, where I would focus on helping the Sales and Marketing team generate leads, as well as the CEO, with other miscellaneous matters. That’s the thing about working for a start-up, the job scope often morphs around you, not the other way around.

Lean and Mean

When I first met the team, I was shocked. 6 full-timers, 4 interns (including me). Of the 6 full-timers, only 2 were Singaporeans while 2 of them were working remotely from Indonesia, and Vietnam (he’s Burmese but…) I had never worked with such a diverse group of nationalities, but I saw the benefits right away. After all, diversity provides perspective and perspective leads to multi-lateral critical thinking. The ideation process was fast, and the decision-making process even faster. Everyone covered for everyone, yet everyone knew what they needed to do. It was a fascinating experience.



People, people, people

My role often had me helping the Sales team the most. After all, in a start-up, everyone is a Salesperson. As such, I met on average, 3 new people every week. Be it Square’s Integration team, or an Icelandic bakery owner (yes, ICELAND), the meetings, while sometimes tedious, were always filled with opportunities to learn about other people’s feelings, ways of thinking, and experiences. It not only improved my outlook on life but my soft skills as a host and salesperson. By far, my most enjoyable experience was when I ventured out and physically approached hawkers, coffee shop stall owners, and minimart owners for a chat, in the process gaining a POV on the Singapore Dream not many people liked to talk about.

One person, many roles

Don’t be mistaken, my work wasn’t only limited to sales meetings. I had to develop my organisational skills by creating a live webinar for the first time. I had to learn to be more efficient with my time when doing research for government grants. And I had to find the discipline I always lacked to work well from home remotely. There was no handholding and screen time tracking, you just had to deliver tasks, or face the music.