Learn more about the Process

By Joan Cheong | University Engagement Lead, DBS Innovation Group

Assessing DBS' inaugural UNI.CORN batch - You mean it’s over?

August 5, 2016

And just like that, in the blink of an eye, 12 weeks have passed. Three months of intense learning, prototyping, reiterating and development came to pass last Friday on the 28th of July for our young UNI.CORNS.


When we first started this programme, our goal was always to develop young minds, and transform the way we approach education - that is, empower students to get a taste of the working world, give them training and exposure to the world of entrepreneurship and experimentation. Most importantly, we wanted to instil in them mindsets that would equip them to face the working world.


Unlike most other internships, we wanted them to learn to fail fast and pick themselves up to complete the tasks we set for them, all within a very short duration. And that’s what they had to do given the type of challenges we issued to them.

Joan Cheong is

It gives me great joy to say that our very first batch of UNI.CORNs made it through with flying colours.


Their final test came when they had to pitch their ideas in front of an audience consisting of DBS senior leaders as well as the mentors and partners that collaborated with DBS on this initiative. This was probably one of their toughest presentations given that our judges were experienced professionals and had high expectations.


This didn’t daunt any of the UNI.CORNS who stepped forth to present their ideas. Their confidence today is a testament to how much they’ve grown in the short span of time we’ve worked with them. So impressive were their ideas that various departments in DBS have mooted the idea of taking up the proposed solutions in the coming year, one in the area of auto-loans and the other focused on enabling a cashless Lunar New Year.


Facilitating Two Way Learning


While this was a big experience for the students, it was also an eye-opening lesson for DBS. One of the biggest challenges corporations face today is in trying to understand the new generation of millennials. As a bank, we’ve gained new perspectives on how we can develop new banking solutions to benefit future generations. Having first-hand experience of working with bright young minds has helped us to consider how a new generation of customers will think, enabling us to better serve them.


Not only that, we’ve just discovered a gold mine for mining future banking leaders. After getting these UNI.CORNs to live and breathe the banking world, we’re hopeful that many of these talented individuals will come back to join us in future, make banking a joyful experience for everyone.


Final Words and Thank Yous


We really couldn’t have done this without the dedication of all the mentors and partners involved the programme. Special mentions go to the DBS Innovation Group who’ve played a pivotal role in supporting the nurturing of these UNI.CORNs.


On a personal note, it’s been my honour to lead this first batch of UNI.CORNs and I’m going to miss each and every single one of you. The memories and experience of the past three months are lifelong lessons even for me as I hope they have been for you.


So for now, I’m just going to sit back, have a sip of wine and relax… until the time comes to grow the next batch of UNI.CORNs.

Here's a recap of their EPIC journey:




I love everything to do with innovation, human-centric approach, disruptive technologies and I feel a true devotion for user experience design. My passion lies in designing solutions that touches the heart and make lives better.


Want to be the next UNI.CORN?

Have the passion to create and desire to solve real business problems? Then this internship is for you.





© 2016 DBS Bank Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 196800306E