Stephen Lam Kai Chim

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I always prepared carefully for our initial online discussions. And when we discussed the detail of how to build the e-platform, I approached it with a step-by-step explanation and presented a viable blueprint.

By taking on an additional internship from September to December 2020, which coincided with the final term of his undergraduate programme, Stephen Lam demonstrated clear intent about his future career. He thought that by completing this extra internship to the company’s satisfaction, potential employers would appreciate the efforts he had made to accumulate as much practical work experience as possible.

The solution-focused stint with Kubota Rice Industry (HK), the local subsidiary of Japan-based Kubota Corporation which specialises in premium-quality rice, gave Lam the chance to demonstrate his determination, drive and planning skills. “At the time I started working there, I also had to kick-start preparation for my final-year university project.” he recalls, adding that he was able to take on the dual challenge by adopting the mindset that he should maximise every opportunity to learn.

The company asked Lam to develop and build a business-to-business (B2B) online ordering system for customers. Since 2012, they had been supplying Japanese rice to retailers and restaurants in Hong Kong using a traditional manual ordering system. Now, though, they could see a need to upgrade to an e-platform.

Throughout the project, Lam received basic guidance and ongoing feedback from the company’s management team at various stages. And he showed his ability to work independently, progressing from the initial conceptualisation to development and building prototype, followed by testing and fine-tuning and the finalised e-platform. One of the first tasks was to narrow the gap between the company’s expectations and what he could actually deliver, “I learned to set goals that are realistic.” he says.

Along the way, the internship also helped Lam to hone his communication skills. “I always prepared carefully for our initial online discussions. I approached it with a step-by-step explanation and presented a viable blueprint before developing and building anything in earnest. It was essential to get everyone’s buy-in and establish mutual understanding.”

At times, when the discussions became animated or when those involved were debating different viewpoints, Lam would remain even-tempered. “I always tried to be professional. When we had misunderstandings, I used objective facts to make my points,” he says. “So, even though I was busy with school work at the same time, this project was not too stressful. The collaboration with the company was certainly rewarding.”