So now you're in college and there's plenty of opportunity out there for you to choose from to make the most out of your college years.
There's business competition this, essay paper that, internship opportunity this, exchange program that - and somehow you want to get a piece of that pie. You want to be able to get a taste of what it feels like to get an all-expenses-paid-trip-by-some-company, to be able to win some money from that essay submission, or simply just to gain that acknowledgement from your peers or parents. And you wonder..why does sometimes the world is not fair because the ones that get the opportunity seem to be the same people all the time? What is it that they do so that any organization seems to pick them whenever they join any competition?
Rather than just being envious and not doing a single damn thing about it, I'd like to share my view as someone who's behind the scene of student business competition, on what differentiate a 'stand-out' student that usually gives them an edge over others.
Opportunity comes to those who want
There's no single recipe on what competition/experience you should take to make the most out of your college years but you just have to try them all. Everybody's path is different but the more you try on to enroll to calling for papers, registration for business case competition, or other random competition - the better you are in constructing your thoughts in written, you improve your comprehension about logic on how company works, and you gain better understanding and self awareness about yourself either, the things that you do best vs the things that kills you. So what if you don't get to be a winner or not to get chosen, regardless you should enjoy the process of submission over the mere outcome itself.
Be memorable in the application
How can you give a 'meaningful twist' to your application process? The same questions like in any job interview 'why I should hire you' question is now gotten to ask in a different context. If I were to see your application process for business case competition I will also have similar questions in my head a.k.a 'Why should I consider these applicants over thousands of other applicants that I've seen?'. I remember that I chose a candidate once because he wrote 'caution: item may contain peanuts' or a candidate that said he joined NLP training. Or another time I was at awe to look at the UFLL submission that contains a comprehensive approach to the digital world to indicate that this person is well aware and did her research about the current trend. Those are the unusual things in a college student's profile that make me intrigued further about the person and end up inviting them to Unilever Future Leaders League UCamp (and I never regret it, those are the ones that give the most color throughout the competition). Too often that I've seen submissions that are generic/templated/only based on theory that I don't get to see the personality of the applicant. If you can embed your personality or your out-of- -the-box thinking into the application process, we want that! At this point, do not care so much whether how applicable your idea is or how weird your experience may sound. Think disruptively in writing your application.
3. Take pride in the word 'ambi'
I'm sure you know some 'ambi' (ambisius) students out there as your friend. But somehow, the stigma of ambi students seems to be negative and resentful. Everyone rejects being called ambi. Yet, fact of the matter, those ‘ambi’ students are the ones that seem to have it all. The free trips to all over Indonesia or overseas, the connection and network to CEOs and influencers, the recognitions from faculty and all, even sometimes the job offering lining up to them even before they graduate. So now I'm asking you again, ...what's wrong with being ambi? suddenly it doesn't sound so bad,huh?
So yes, I take pride in my role as someone behind the scene who has run Unilever Future Leaders League Indonesia for the past 3 years since its conception back in 2014. I take pride in seeing thousands of amazing applications from promising college students and always find it a hard time to eliminate them and only get to pick 30 every year.
Yet, from all those 90 UFLL Alumnae that I interact with for the past 3 yrs are now somewhere creating their own impactful path post UFLL. Hey, I even got to witness how one team in the picture below that we sent to the global round back in 2014 was crowned as Global Winners and make Indonesia proud! A lot wins more competitions and earn free more free trips post UFLL, some join notable companies like McKinsey, become venture capitalist, have their own startup, travel around the world for free, and few I got to recruit on my own working for Unilever (one is even currently in Nederland for a stint to make her the next big bet in Marketing :). I certainly am hoping that joining UFLL did make a difference in their lives and has an impact on its own.
So now, hopefully after reading this you will be more intrigued to try your luck and submit your registration to Unilever Future Leaders League Indonesia 2016.
Go ahead.. enjoy the process. Maybe this is the beginning of entering the big door that may lead you to an unthinkable path… Are you an alumna of UFLL? Please do say 'Hi' in the comments below and drop a few words about how you think the competition has shaped you as a person :)
Published on 20 September 2016 - Category : Early Career