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An Invaluable Skill During the Pandemic, According to this Sap Student

As the world rose up to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Luiza Massari took up arms in her own unique approach. Luiza, Club Officer and full-time MBA student at ASB found herself in the esteemed HSBC bank in Malaysia when the pandemic struck. “Being very honest, I was looking for something in the startup world for my internship. But COVID-19 happened, those plans were canceled.” “And I somehow found myself in HSBC.” Luiza is referencing her Summer Associate Program, of course.

‘Adaptability’ Is The Name of The Game

What makes a survivor in the modern workplace? Is it leadership? Exceptional personal management skills? According to Brazil-born Luiza, she’ll start out her career always prioritizing the ability to be fiercely adaptable. “If this internship has taught me anything it’s how to be adaptable and flexible in a positive way.” “I was looking for something else, but when the virus struck, very few employers were hiring. I couldn’t do much about that but learn how to get through it.”

But call it sheer luck or good decisions on Luiza’s part, her HSBC role was more than just a pleasant surprise. As a Summer Intern, Luiza took her place in a Special Project Internship. This Special Project consisted of a team of talented, innovative and forward-thinking individuals tasked with redefining the face of work during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

There, Luiza and her HSBC teammates were given a duration of about 3 months to redesign how HSBC employees worked. “We had to understand the 3 drivers of new work, such as productivity, physical space and IT resources for HSBC employees in the midst of a pandemic.” “We had to discover what was the best way for the employees to work, in a way that will not affect their own wellbeing or productivity.”

Of course, a good bulk of the work had to be done remotely as it was during the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia at the time. Luiza’s time at HSBC was divided into 2 weeks in the office, and 2 weeks of remote working. With the challenge of communication during the MCO and the fact that Luiza had no experience in the corporate world, her prowess to adapt made her unstoppable.

When all was said and done, Luiza and her team managed to establish ‘new work’ guidelines for 3 whole departments in HSBC. “I always said I didn’t want to work in a bank at the beginning,” she says with a laugh. “But I honestly found the motivation to do so when I understood why I was there. This was a project that would impact the way that people would work from now on. Not just based on targets, but based on a better quality of life and their own needs being met.”

Unlimited Professional Support, Through Thick and Thin

“No matter what I needed, my advisors were there for me.” That’s what Luiza had to say when asked about ASB’s support during her SAP. “We had to do an exercise where students recorded themselves for 2 minutes as a reflection of each week, and then send that to our advisors.” Its effectiveness was clear from the very beginning.

“There was this one time where I had to record my reflection for a topic called ‘Managing Up’ where we talked about the best ways to deal with upper management, bosses, stakeholders.” “Coincidentally, I was having trouble with one of my supervisor’s micromanagement as it hindered how I could work,” she continued. Immediately after bringing that up in her reflection video, Luiza was contacted by one of her ASB advisors personally who led her through highlighting this to her supervisor.

Staying True To Passions, Adapting To New Ideas of Leadership

Even though she derailed from her original plan of an internship in another part of Southeast Asia, Luiza has no regrets about the SAP that taught her priceless lessons about true adaptability. “I know now the kind of leader I want to be,” Luiza continues. “I want to be someone that’s people-centered. It’s not always about the requirements of the job, but more about whether the people you’re managing are motivated to do the job.”

Luiza told us that she was always a shy person in nature, and once again thanked ASB for the exposure it’s given her so far. “ASB allowed me to understand that I already am able to do a lot of things, I was just afraid to in the past.” When asked about where she wants to go from here, Luiza answered with no hesitation. “I’ve always wanted to work in the accessibility industry,” she says warmly.

She’s talking about workplace-related accessibility, where she wants to solve the problems of people with disabilities to come into the workplace. To take things one step further, Luiza has already started to do a little work with the blind community to tackle the high rates of unemployment among them. Luiza’s ASB journey may not be over yet, but she truly is a bright mind to be reckoned with.