After what appeared to be knockout performances at the Procter and Gamble (P&G) ASEAN Business Challenge (ABC) Malaysia level, UTAR students Pua Jia Jiun and Loh Hong Khai continued their gallant form to help catapult their team, and Malaysia, into a historic win at the ABC ASEAN level held at the P&G headquarter in Singapore from 12 to 14 June 2013.
The ASEAN triumph, a sensational breakthrough for Malaysia in the challenge’s four-year legacy, was preceded by a nip-and-tuck race in the ABC Malaysia level held at the P&G Corporate Office in Surian Tower, Mutiara Damansara from 10 to 13 April 2013. A resourceful Pua eventually skippered his five-member team to national victory which rewarded them with an all-expense paid trip to Singapore to take part in the ABC ASEAN level. Meanwhile, Loh was chosen to join the winning team on a wildcard entry, and on merit of his remarkable performance, to comply with the organiser’s pre-requisite that each participating team in the ASEAN level consisted of six members.
Pua, who was ecstatic over his back-to-back victories, beamed, “It was a terrific learning process. We were able to mingle and engage ASEAN’s bright minds in a friendly and healthy rivalry. In my opinion, the lessons learnt and experience gained from participating in the challenge far outweighed the final outcome. It has helped us in character building.” Echoing Pua’s sentiments, Loh said, “We pledged to keep Malaysia’s flag flying high and I am glad that we lived up to expectations. We have transformed our dream into reality, courtesy of the close cooperation between team members and P&G staff and that has brought out the best of our synergy.”
Three weeks prior to the ASEAN finale, the four teams representing their respective country, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, were required to conduct a holistic and in-depth study on the next generation talent attraction for P&G with customisation to the demographics and career scene in their country. Members of the Malaysian team, who are from five different universities, had to make do with the limited time frame to arrange and coordinate meetings with their mentors, who comprised mainly P&G Malaysia senior employees such as the head of talent management, the head of business development and several key account managers. “It was a roller-coaster three weeks but we trounced the obstacles through unwavering faith and coherence,” recalled Loh.
The fully-sponsored trip to the city of Merlion proved to be an eye-opening experience for the teams. They embarked on a tour around P&G headquarter in Singapore to gain insights into P&G operations and work culture which promotes unity in diversity. Participants and staff from different nationalities, race and culture were brought together in an amicable reception. The teams were exposed to career opportunities in P&G and got acquainted with several regional-level senior management staff in P&G. On the final day, the participating teams were disbanded and their members, reshuffled to form new teams for the Amazing Race Singapore organised by P&G. They trekked around Singapore, executing tasks given to them, and in the process, visited top tourist destinations such as Marina Bay, Universal Studio and the 24-hour shopping mall, Mustafa Centre.
At the end of the day, the four teams received 15 minutes each to present on their cumulative effort. The participants were rated by a panel of judges who included P&G Asia Region Talent Management Manager. When the results were announced, one could only imagine the joy felt by Malaysia’s team. After three botched attempts to bring home glory, they have lastly pioneered a ground-breaking feat for Malaysia in the prestigious challenge, and set great precedent for their successor to emulate. The MacBook that each member received paled in comparison to the magnitude of their trailblazing win. The pursuit to be crowned as regional champion for the 2013 P&G ASEAN Business Challenge was no longer elusive but a tangible dream-come-true.
The P&G ASEAN Business Challenge is an annual competition organised by Procter and Gamble, a global fast moving consumer goods company famous for its household products such as Dynamo, Oral-B and luxury skincare product, SK-II. The Challenge, currently in its fourth consecutive year, aims to unearth talents for future employment in the ASEAN region comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.