Monday, September 14, 2015

So, MGAC 2015 is One-of-A-Kind Experience

So, here is my testimonial for MGAC 2015
This testimonial may not do the justice of how amazing MGAC 2015 as I might have missed out one thing or two because there are so many things happened and I really wish I can put everything in
Might as well leave comment and ask questions if you guys are intrigued about MGAC 2015

So here's the raw email I sent to the organizing committee
I guess this is the last task for me as being one of the challengers
But then, if there are still more tasks, I am up for it!



Hi Winnie,

We are totally still inflicted with that syndrome. Some of us are still having sleep deprivation since their challenges, in real life, continue right after the event. I am blessed to be a part of this year's batch of challengers. They are awesome people! Actually, MGAC 2015 is still in my mind in a way that my unconscious mind is still processing the event. My processor is not as advanced as the others; hence it takes longer time to fathom everything. In fact, MGAC 2015 happened ever so quickly that we did not realize how fast time flew.

Personally, the best experience that I had during the competition is meeting my team members. Chris is the charming guy who has his own way to woo people in getting what needs to be done effortlessly. Adya is ridiculously funny and brilliant when it comes to ideas, innovations, and facts analysis. Shun has a very high emotional intelligence besides being the stabilizer of the team, she cooled us down when the discussions got heated and led us back when we had gone astray. Her gracious approach always got us back on track in no time. Jane, or Zhang Jing-Qi, is a very dedicated team player who always demanded to get her involved that one of the days she was very upset, literally throwing tantrums, because she felt excluded. She is funny, too, only if you allow her to be funny. Michelle is the feisty lioness when it comes to numbers. No one should disturb her when she is doing her thing. Besides my teammates, going to Cianjur in Indonesia was also one of the best experiences I had. It is because it has always been intriguing to me to see the determination burning in the people's eyes in order to face the ordeals of life just to continue living. It was an inspirational 'vacation'. Mak Ida was very accommodating without the slightest feeling of intimidation sensed when we were helping her to collect the vegetables. I remembered making 'sambel', with the help of the chef of the day, Chef Jane, too hot that most of the people complained about the very hot green 'sambel'.

Day 0, when I first met the guys in our rooms, we had started to contemplate what would be happening. We contemplated that we would be in a team because of Adya's good trait at making up conspiracy theories behind every task, we guessed it correctly. We had our pre-discussions among the three of us about how it would be and we always worried about how to survive the sleep deprivation, as we were expecting that to happen. To us, it was the hugest issue that we need to consider, especially me, being the person that needs a lot of sleep. Hence, we came out with two plans. First, Energy Saving Mode which we dubbed, Reserving Energy Mode and second is Tactical Sleep to tackle the very first issue. Energy Saving Mode is getting as much rest whenever possible when there were no tasks given by being stationary and in a conscious state of resting. For Tactical Sleep, just sleep whenever possible. For me having good rest is vital in everything we do, regardless how little time we had, it was my utmost concern that they were at ease, comfortable, in order to be at their optimum state. I guess that is one of the recipes for our team success.

All of the challenges were totally new to me, except for the physical challenges. Little that people knows that I have a very good stamina that I can survive any physical activities. People always belittle me for that but I always feel good that most of the people ended up gaping looking at how easily I can handle physical hurdles ahead of me. But then again, my energy drained. So, I lost at the end of the obstacle course because my energy was all consumed. I was at my Energy Saving Mode during the cooking session. But that was the only thing that I would be very proud of myself during MGAC 2015. Other challenges were totally difficult, novel, and dreadful for me. Being a part of a very brilliant people, it made me held myself back more. More than I always been. Rather than to going all out, all zealous with gung-ho, I chose to be conservative. It was because I was totally new with the challenges and I did not want to hold the team back. However, I pushed myself to be familiar with most of the things discussed. My teammates realized how lost I was and they had been nothing but amazing and ever so understanding, to get me included in every tasks given, regardless the time constraint. Kudos to Chris, Shun, Adya, and Jane. Michelle was too busy with her numbers. But occasionally she helped me out on certain things.

The most difficult challenge for me was the virus attack. We had everything laid out for the content that we were confident that we could get some sleep. It was one of my happy times since I could get some sleep. When my mind was all set to sleep, regaining my senses back was totally the toughest task ever. When Shun and Adya were freaked out from the virus attack, Shun tried to wake us - Chris, Michelle, Jane, and I - up. I was not. Because I could barely think of anything but to get some sleep. It was a personal struggle. Part of me really wanted to get up and help, however, another part of me wanted to sleep and insisted other parts of my body to be resting, too. Even Chris was having tough time to get up and Shun, ever so patiently, trying to get us up without exploding. That is another recipe of our team. We were very understanding and were very respectful to one another. We never had a huge argument. We came to a decision ever so easily most of the time because we stressed a lot on the core values of the company. Even though Luangza is a mere made-up country among other countries to make the existence of the country more plausible, even though SoF-Toys was just a fantasy toy-making company, we had them in our heart so dearly. We lived up to the values of SoF-Toys with affection. Cheesy as it sounded, but yes we did that. However, I felt so bad for them that I did not help them that night. We considered ourselves as the calmest team dealing with the virus catastrophe. We even had a laugh about it like we really meant it. Chris gone baby-mode was epic that night! I witnessed that when I was half-asleep.

There were minor arguments we had, if I were to recall. How we resolved it? By getting back to our core values. My CEO did his job extremely good, parallel to my leadership class that I attended last spring, which says CEO should be guiding the employees to the vision of the company by leading the employees through the values shared in the company. To be honest, even being fired, was not the toughest challenge for me. Of course I was shocked and I managed to get myself together minutes after Chris broke the sad news to me. Personally, I was thinking the best for the team. I would consider myself as the weakling in the team, and I was fine to be the one got fired. God knows how disappointed I was with myself, how crushed I felt, but then, after rationalizing, I would be willing to sacrifice myself. It was also surprising to me that I gained my senses very quickly. Also, I would pay no mind to sacrifice myself for #TerminatorMGAC15. But then, at least I know how it feels like to get fired. God forbid I would be fired in real life. It was awful, though.

MGAC 2015 is a very eye-opening experience I have ever had. I learnt a great deal of things. Mostly, I learnt from my team. I dare to say every challenges we did, it was a job well done. Even we did not score the first task, to win the heart of the investor, which was when I learnt about dare to lose in order to win. Personally, making mistakes is a big NO for me. Hence, I dread whatever tasks given for me, because I cannot tolerate mistakes. Looking at how my teammates dealt with it, I learnt that it is OK not to be OK because that is when the learning process happens. That is the biggest lesson I learnt. I had been listening to the saying goes on and on in my ears and in my head without really understanding it. The thing is 12 days is a very long time. I was surprised that I survived without going too mad about something. I am a very emotional person that I will easily get offended and I can turn into a storm, or even hurricane, if the right button was pushed. But I had none of the nightmares. I dreaded it to happen. So I learn that being able to control the emotions within myself is very important in order to get my mind up for anything coming. Most probably it is because of my team, as they are the nicest persons I have ever met. Next, ask questions. That is the third lesson I learnt. I rarely ask questions to people which I prefer to find out about matters myself. Due to time constraint, I might not have all time to do all the research myself during the competition. The easiest way out is to just ask, which I did not. I find it difficult to ask questions because I fret that people might happen to think of me as being incompetent. Hence, I am so scared to ask questions.

If I could turn back the time, the first thing that I would do is to take a very good care of my teammates. I was too consumed to the idea that I was not contributing to the team that I felt so hopeless and insecure. Taking good care of people is the reason why I choose the field I am in right now. They had been doing the heavy lifting. I felt that I would also want to contribute, in my own way, which is to look after them. For me, there are many ways of doing things and getting things done. If not doing the heavy lifting, then, supporting the team in any ways possible is a contribution, too. Secondly, I would bombard them with questions about everything. I should have been mustering all the courage, enough to get involved. I was scared for being a nuisance which is annoying and might hold the team back because of my incompetence, but that would not be an issue if I do it with diplomacy. Lastly, I would be confident to voice out opinions. Due to the insecurity of my competencies within the scopes that were being tested, I rarely share my concerns and opinions. I should have let my mind speaks more than what I did back then.

For future challengers, since MGAC is not only looking at your competencies within the financial scopes per se, it is wise to learn more about yourselves. Being the person you are is very important. You will be monitored every seconds of your life. Literally, all eyes on you. Meeting many brilliant people is very inspirational to me. Hence, mingle with awesome people you know. That is a part of the preparation. Join as much student activities as possible in order to learn how to deal with people. Dealing with people is an art and science that needs to be polished. It can be an innate talent to some, but not many of us. Somehow it will help revealing your characters and attitudes in dealing with circumstances, be it is a foreseen event beforehand or vice versa. As they are searching for talents, discover as much talents within you beforehand because MGAC will reveal more about you which unknown to yourself. Trust me. A part from the preparation of the technical parts, sleep as much as you can before the 'war' because, trust me, you will not be sleeping as much as you think you would.

Again, MGAC 2015 has been nothing but amazing to me. My appreciation goes to Maybank for holding such prestigious event in seeking talents all over the globe. I would like to thank the Organizing Committees for orchestrating such mind boggling ideas put together in a competition. I would like to thank for the opportunities given to me. I would like to thank my awesome teammates! I could never replace you guys. Also, I would like to sum MGAC 2015 as 'one of a kind' because it offered me one-of-a-kind experience for its #morethanachallenge. Never would I ever manage to compare what I have experienced from MGAC 2015 with anything else. I do not think I could thank you enough.

That is my two cent about the event. Flashbacks are playing on my mind right now.

Thank you.

Mohd Farith Zainudin
MSc. Candidate, Hospitality Industry Studies
New York University

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Thank you so much for your time, if you have scrolled up till here. I am very appreciative for your kind support.

Gonna get back to my homework assignment :D