Career Advice

Investing in Millennial Talent: Austern International & FDM Group Partnership

John Smith

For the second year running, we welcomed Austern International into our Hong Kong Academy to undertake a company challenge. 22 students from Australia spent a week with us working on a real life challenge and presenting a solution. Austern International Facilitator, Luke Defina, tells us more about their experience.

Technology has grown so quickly that a lot of the jobs and degrees we studied might become displaced in a few years. As a result, many millennials today are facing an uncertain future.

What jobs are available? Is what they’re studying even going to be relevant in a few years’ time? Will they have enough experience?

Regardless of their area of study, soft skills such as public speaking and problem solving remain a vital part of any long-standing career. Because of this, FDM has proudly partnered with professional development company Austern International to run a week-long company challenge for over 20 committed students. These students range in age and come from various backgrounds such as finance, engineering and medicine.

Like FDM’s graduate model, Austern International breaks the mould with the traditional internship. Rather than starting with coffee runs and other unrelated work, program participants work with real businesses to solve practical problems in a very short period of time. They then present their solutions to company executives for practical feedback. The aim of this is to facilitate and accelerate the growth of essential soft skills and digital awareness so that students are prepared to take on jobs that don’t even exist yet.

For the January challenge, FDM came up with two main topics, requiring students to develop a recruitment strategy and a client acquisition strategy for the expansion of FDM offices to Taiwan.

The challenge:

How would FDM go about setting up a business in Taiwan?

Group A: What is an effective recruitment strategy that FDM could use in Taiwan?

Group B: What client acquisition strategy could FDM use to expand into Taiwan?

It was a lengthy process for all participants. Days and nights filled with extensive research, planning and problem solving over just a few days to develop a unique and innovative solution. Thankfully, with dedication, teamwork and lots of coffee, all teams pitched wonderfully and were well received by the FDM panel.

“I don’t have much knowledge about IT so trying to understand that side of things as well as the philosophy and mission of the company in one week whilst developing something that caters to that was challenging. It’s great that FDM has really embraced this opportunity and allowed us access to the office space and employees. I found the brief and task very interesting.” Alexandra, Austern International Student

At the end of the week, the participants were challenged and pushed in terms of their soft skills. They worked both in teams and independently, communicated and presented ideas and gained insights into the power of digital transformation.

“It was a challenging week. We had a practice hackathon the week before and that was nowhere near as intense! This is the first official company challenge that I’ve done so I found it a really interesting experience getting to talk to FDM employees. Team work is something that I love and I was fortunate to be working with exceptional people, although we didn’t win we still had a great journey.” Gary, Austern International Student

Austern International would like to express our deepest gratitude towards FDM for giving up the time and effort to facilitate the development of our students. We are exceptionally grateful and look forward to continuing our partnership for future Austern programs.

If you are interested in learning more about our partnerships in Asia Pacific then please contact us here