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​Risk-taking leads to success for undergraduate student

Published on: 19-Jun-2020

As part of BM3501 Marketing Strategy module, Nanyang Business School undergraduate Neo Kai Ting and fellow coursemates took on an industry project which involved conducting independent research studies, conceptualising a new product line, and proposing a full strategic integrated marketing plan.

The four finalists Kai Ting, Yang Dingg, Teng Wye Kit and Lee Zhi Ning were then given the rare opportunity to present their proposals to Montblanc officials – Mr Matthieu Dupont, President, Montblanc South East Asia & Oceania and Mr Benjamin Goh, Marketing & Communications Director, Montblanc South East Asia – via video conference. 

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The four finalists impressed the judges with their proposals. For their hard work, the students were presented with Montblanc products as prizes and an open invitation to join the company (Richemont Luxury) as interns.

Kai Ting who won the second prize shared more about her journey and experiences preparing for her project during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though most of the research and strategic plan had been completed during the semester, there was still some follow-up preparation to be done leading up to the presentation. With the circuit breaker measures in place, there were hiccups in trying to conduct the follow-up research, but she managed to resolve some of them with the help of tele-conferencing and other web methods.

"Despite modern technology in place, there were other tasks such as field research that were unable to be carried out," Kai Ting added regrettably.

The COVID-19 situation was not the only challenge for Kai Ting, she also faced time management issues between her work and project schedules. Having just begun her internship, time was a rather prominent challenge. The weeks leading up to the presentation happened to be very hectic weeks at work, hence it was tricky for her to find time to prepare for the presentation. Kai Ting also hesitated to ask her manager for personal time off, given her busy schedule and the fact that she was still a new intern. Fortunately, her manager was extremely supportive and understanding and she was able to get approval for leave during the period of the presentation. Kai Ting also managed to strike balance between work and the presentation by freeing up her weekends to focus solely on the presentation, while reserving her weekdays to settle work-related commitments.

Assoc Prof Lewis Lim was a great support for her preparation. He had provided her with personalised feedback and raised pointers to help refine her final decks for the presentation. His thorough analytical skills and insightful responses helped her to better craft and frame her research and project outcomes. During the presentation, he had also played an extremely supportive role, by providing his opinions to help strengthen or defend her arguments.

On how Kai Ting impressed the judges, she shared that her attention to detail and depth of research and analyses carried out to justify her arguments were the reasons for her win. Her effort to bring a fresh perspective and propose approaches that were not yet done or seen by the brand, also resonated well with the judges. In the words of Mr Dupont, "More risk means more fun" – she took a huge risk with her proposal and thankfully, the risk appetite impressed the judges most. It also conveyed a positive image about herself and the strong impression of her presentation stuck with the judges, contributing towards her win.

Despite winning the second place, Kai Ting felt she could have been more thorough in some areas of her research, so that she could have shown more insightful analyses that better support her marketing plan. She also shared that as this was her first pitching experience, she was rather nervous, and believed that it was apparent in her delivery and body gestures. Following this presentation, Kai Ting received some valuable pointers on how to structure and frame her presentation decks which she looks forward to implementing on all her future presentations.

Having partake in this presentation, Kai Ting has learnt many valuable lessons: confidence and how you present yourself is key, as these can make a huge difference in the outcomes of your presentation. Also, there is no such thing as the perfect answer – there are always two sides to a coin, it is crucial to be able to identify and mitigate the negatives while reinforcing the positives to present a well-rounded and well thought-out proposal. Most importantly, do not to be afraid to take risks – explore the possibilities, be brave in pursuing what others will not.

"It pays to take risks and venture out of the box!" Kai Ting concluded. 

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Undergraduate student, Ng Kai Ting 

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