Trying everything as an intern at DBS

“One thing I underestimated: how tiring it’d be to stand still for an hour on the parade square, holding on firmly to a flag that’s catching wind from all directions as part of the DBS contingent in this year’s National Day Parade. At 22, I'm the youngest member among my fellow colleagues.

My journey to get this internship at DBS was rather long drawn – I repeated a year in secondary school, and completed a two-year Human Resources course in ITE. Holding the certificate, I realised that I couldn't imagine myself in that profession.

A career in tech was something I felt drawn to, so I enrolled in diploma studies in Information Technology at Temasek Polytechnic. This year-long internship as a junior data engineer would mark the final year of my studies.

Acutely aware that I was three years behind my peers, I approached this internship with the mantra to volunteer for everything and anything extra that the bank had to offer.

So, when I received the e-mail calling for volunteers to march in the contingent on my second week here in April, I didn’t hesitate… until I realised that none of my friends had joined as well. The last NDP I attended was when I was 11, as part of the national education programme, so I also had no idea what to expect.

I still remember the first day we reported to Seletar Camp for the first of many training sessions.

As I nervously sat in the holding area with my colleagues, I was cognisant that most of them were probably high-ranking in the bank. I rehearsed how I’d introduce myself in my head many times, before offering my hand for a handshake to my neighbour: “Hi, I’m Richard.” I had said, rather formally. Surprised, she shook my hand, but today, weeks later, she still jokingly recounts how formal I was.

As the weeks whizzed by, filled with marching, drills, countless conversations and even games of charades in the waiting area, so did the notion of “ranks”. When we’re a contingent, we’re just people, trying to step to the same beat together.

True to my mantra of trying everything, I’ve sailed across Marina Bay with my mum, planned bowling and potluck sessions for my department, and even spent a full Sunday on the film set of our mini web series DBS Sparks as a background extra. The day after the NDP, I’ll be competing in an intense tournament of Tug of War in our annual sports day.

Oh, and my (other) proudest moment: winning an iPad Pro from a bank wide quiz on our internal chatbot. Jokes aside, I’m only about over three months into my internship, but I've learned so much. Everyone I’ve met, from my teammates to colleagues from departments across the bank, have been extremely generous with their time, guidance, and advice.

There’s truly much to gain when you look around and grasp as many opportunities as you can – material or immaterial – I know I have.”

- Richard Aw, Intern, Middle Office Technology team

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