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Product Development Intern (Singapore)

1. Tell us about yourself

I'm Dennis and my awesome fulfilling internship period was from Start of January 2016 to End July 2016! Currently in the renaissance engineering programme in NTU - a concurrent degree programme comprising of engineering and business.

2. What were you doing before joining ShopBack?

Prior to joining ShopBack, I was serving the army up till early December and after that I went for interviews in UK universities, followed by a trip to snowy Harbin in China :D 
My activities and interests are mainly swimming, rock-climbing, going to the gym (I used to have a crazy schedule of working till 12+ and then going to the gym until 2 before I sleep and wake up at 8am the next day for work AND I tried to start a fitness culture in ShopBack - which needless to say, failed.  

3. Why did you choose to intern at ShopBack?

My choice to intern at ShopBack was a pretty interesting one! I was in a desert in Australia during one of my overseas exercise and wanted to intern at a start-up company during my long holiday before university because I believe that there is a huge value of working in a start-up where it is amazingly fast paced and there is simply so much to learn from in the shortest period of time.
I did a google search of "most promising startup in Singapore" and ShopBack appeared (Strong SEO game hahaha).

I have a vision and dream of starting up my company one day and plunge into the world of entrepreneurship and that is the main reason of wanting to gain experience working in a startup (additionally, i know that every employee is valued and contributes directly to the company as the budget is tight and every hire is for a reason. I really did not want to be an intern that makes coffee and does administrative work)

3. What was your impression of ShopBack?

My impression of ShopBack was that it is a crazy hard company to get an internship position. I applied to 2 other start-up companies and already had internship offers, however, I had to go through THREE interviews with ShopBack before my internship was confirmed.
I remember my first interview which I had to do tasks (Later on I figured no one else did ALTHOUGH HENRY told me it was the normal standard procedure) such as going around during the town hall and talking to the employees and finding out more about them before 6pm and I had to share with Henry about 5 people that I have talked to. After that I had to submit a report about Rocket Internet and my studies about it.

ShopBack provides for an extremely fast paced working environment and a really steep learning curve. Most importantly, ShopBack really values the interns and every intern is treated just like a full-timer with responsibilities and deadlines to meet so that we do not feel that we are doing "useless tasks". The people at ShopBack are also extremely motivated and even though the official work hours are until 7pm, employees usually stay until 9-10pm. This drive is really what pushes me to work harder as well and I love to be part of a focused and driven group.

A huge shoutout to my bosses: Justin, Henry, Jesmine, David, Bryan who alway stays with me till wee hours in the night (sometimes even till 3am) to finish up our work and sometimes just to chill and play table tennis.

4. What tasks were you working on and how did you go about doing it?

I was assigned to be a competitive analyst where I will monitor competition and come up with reports for the relevant people. After picking up skills such as Excel and Database Querying, out of curiosity I started diving in and doing other reports for the companies and trying to come up with solutions for current problems that the company is facing.
I am, and pride myself as a problem solver where I will come up with alternative solutions to a current problem in hope of effectively overcoming it. After that, I was really fortunate enough to take on the role as an Associate Product Manager for the Affiliates team and eventually as a Product Manager where I worked with the back-end engineers and under the guidance Matthew, the senior engineer, I learnt a lot about data management and API structure. THANK YOU MATTHEW, TAT HONG AND ALDRYN!

5. What is your most memorable experience at ShopBack?

My most memorable experience in ShopBack will be the times I spent with Justin (The Product Boss at ShopBack AKA the SQL Emperor). Justin is a really amazing and capable leader. I have really learnt so much from him and there are so many times where Justin will sit down and patiently discuss with me about my projects and lend a helping hand. He also taught me many management lessons and ways to structure my thinking and argument. He is much more than a mentor and I am really grateful to have him as my boss. Although I win him at table tennis :D (with handicap).
I have to also mention about my close team of friends known as Team Junglebook who really gave me advice regarding some personal struggles and also guiding me at work.

6. What will you go on to do after your internship?

ShopBack has really influenced and motivated me to look more into startup companies and learn more. I will implement the lessons I have learnt at ShopBack into my future journey down the entrepreneurship path and apply all the lessons Henry has taught me regarding starting up a company.

Lastly, I always believe in this quote (I’m sure many of the people in the product team will know this) "To be in the 1%, You need to do what the 99% wont" and I constantly strive to improve myself and work hard to achieve my goals. I hope to make a difference one day and I strongly believe that to make a difference, you have to be that difference.

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