Written by Nicco, intern from The CRÈME Internship Batch of 2021:
With a passion for marketing and a penchant for finance, I’ve always asked myself “WHY?”. Why are my interests polar opposites? I took a module in school on wealth management, and it opened my eyes to marketing in the finance industry. That’s when I found my métier, my calling. I started looking for internships in this line of work and I heard about the Crème internship from my good friend, who was in this internship before too. My interest was piqued immediately, and I sent in my CV in the drop of a hat.
These are some pictures of me during the interview that I took, I enjoyed the interview so much- and I’m not just giving the “politically correct statement”. It was indeed really fun meeting the directors and learning a bit more about them, the internship, and to my surprise- MYSELF. The directors really perused my resume in detail and had really good insights on my working style, etc. Needless to say, my ego was boosted by the really nice things the directors said :”). It is often hard to separate professionalism from lightheartedness but during the interview, I saw this in amalgamation so seamlessly. Behind the seriousness that was the interview, I got a glimpse of what made this internship #notjustanotherinternship.
During round 1 of the interview, I was offered to move on to round 2- which I was super psyched about. Round 2 was a series of MCQ quizzes- that allowed us to ascertain our knowledge and skills in the financial advisory (FA) industry. I did pretty okay for the law paper, but to my utter dismay, I did rather badly for the calculation one. That’s when I started asking myself if this was the right choice for me- if the FA industry was indeed my calling. I remember telling myself to take these setbacks in my stride and just learn from them, if I do not learn from this avenue, the internship, then when or where will I ever learn. That’s when I decided to give it a shot anyway, and I accepted the offer the directors put forth to me to join Crème. I was elated and was really glad I managed to clench an internship by April, before the exam period in school.
On the day of orientation, I was chuffed to see my peers whom I will be working with throughout the next 8 weeks, and I believe that from the very first day, I managed to forge so many wonderful friendships already. We talked about our goals and got to understand ourselves a little better- as to what we are living for. Every day since then in this internship has been a daily food-for-thought for me. Not only do I meet my goals of being more financially literate every day, but I also learn so much more about myself- what works for me, and what doesn’t.
But of course, not everything is fun and games and this sprung when the CMFAS papers begun. I realised, then, that my written style of study methods were virtually ineffective for these papers, where we did not have much time to study. I did not have confidence in myself at all for the upcoming papers but my wonderful teammates and peers in Crème supported me so much with constant encouragement and the doing of mock papers together while we diligently went through the papers daily after work. We even set up a discord group to study together, all 9 of us 😊. I shared my notes which I believed could help them with them as I knew that at least someone could benefit out of my 100+ pages of notes ><, and they did :”).
In no surprise, I did fail my M5 paper, and I was crestfallen, despondent, and felt rather debilitated. I had studied so much but it was futile. I started to change my study methods to my best, and most conscious efforts. I got many text messages from my friends that afternoon telling me not to give up and I was so touched.
I tried again for M9, M9A, and HI. I was definitely more confident for these papers, with the unrelenting support from my mentors and friends but alas, I still failed. Perhaps, it was not my thing. I started looking at the future of my time at Crème bleakly. As my peers at Crème would say, I started to “PA NIC”.
I panicked so much to the point I got a relapse of my chronic illness- Ulcerative colitis (UC). Due to the undue stress, the physical pain of UC ensued. But there wasn’t much I could do but continue, really. My mentors really looked out for me and succored me to the best of their abilities, despite their busy schedules! I am truly grateful to everyone around me. I told myself that I would not want to, neither can I, let them down. They had high hopes from me from the interviews and I know I can do better. I realised that in the pursuit of perfectionism, I forgot to take care of myself and that’s when things started falling apart. One of the mentors of the other districts, Andrea Sim, reached out to me saying that she had a similar medical issue before and my admiration for her only grew. Despite her setbacks in the past that would have well enervated her, today she is teeming with laughter and smiles every day. She was my role-model, and I wouldn’t have wanted to find one any other way 😊. I was taught a good, albeit rather unpleasant, lesson here.
But amidst the pain and sorrow of the uncontrollable UC, was fun and laughter that irrefutably alleviated the pain and exhaustion. We had many interesting lessons to teach us the fundamentals of the FA industry and skills required- such as presentation skills, etc. The weeks of fun and learning were truly memorable, and I will definitely keep these lessons- both hard and soft ones- ingrained in my mind for a long time.
At the end of the week, #TGIF, we finally met up for the first-time face to face! We had a trekking session that we all pushed ourselves to do- from MacRitchie reservoir to Chestnut (a full 18km!). It was undeniably grueling, but we did it with each other, as a team, as one #Crèmeinternship. Our wonderful Xplorers did a great job putting these trips together for us, and of course, not forgetting the daily icebreakers every morning before work that certainly hypes us up for the rest of the day!
Overall, the pain of my UC was assuaged by the wonderful team, and I am palpably super thankful of everyone here. I have definitely grown as a person, as a leader, as a student, etc. My mindsets of the FA industry have been changed for the better and I understood so much more about insurance- the importance of it, the difficulty in selling this intangible product/ service. It is no easy feat and I commend the mentors a great deal. I truly look up to them a lot. I am so glad that I had this amazing opportunity to be at Crème the past 8 weeks, I wish it were longer! I really do want to continue my journey here and being the best version of me every day, waking up with truly no regrets, but just the foresight of being a better “me” today than I was yesterday.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Crème, including the content creators and Xplorers for this unforgettable journey <3. I will never forget any of you hehe.
-Nicco Parikh #socialbutterflyfortheday