“If you look at what I am doing, it is a similar business model to companies like iFlix, Netflix and Spotify that offer a conducive environment for personal development.”
With up to 200,000 unemployed graduates in the country and a less-than-robust economic outlook, fresh grads with little to no experience are struggling to find a decent job. Many are clueless when it comes to the definition of finding “the right fit” – a term used commonly by employers.
Iskandar Samad, Chief Executive Officer of Astro Tribe and Raku, is more upfront. He seeks graduates with creativity, problem-solving and soft skills. “Someone needs to have the right attitude and behaviour towards the job more than talent. Talent can be defined in many ways and is a good criterion but it is not the be all and end all measure.”
Start-ups vs MNCs
He says most people prefer to join multinational companies (MNCs), working their way up the ranks in the same company. But MNCs no longer offer job stability like they used to, with many now opting for contracts and taking a hard look at headcount.
There are many start-ups such as Grab, K-Fit and Garena, he says, which offer great learning experience compared with MNCs. “Many industries like banking, telco and media are being disrupted by start-ups. A company like Astro Tribe and Raku offers the same experience to fresh graduates. If you look at what I am doing, it is a similar business model to companies like iFlix, Netflix and Spotify that offer a conducive environment for personal development.”
Astro Tribe and Raku are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Astro Malaysia. Tribe is a new video OTT (over-the-top) service launched in March 2016 for the Asean market, and is currently operating in Indonesia and the Philippines, and launching in one other market in 2017. Its target is the young and fast-growing market for mobile video that could one day overtake cable and satellite platforms in Asia. Launched in April 2015, Raku centres on online music and radio streaming via web and mobile app. It also creates new content, for example, live events and shows throughout Malaysia (Rakufest, NegaRaku), and live recording of artiste performances (Raku sessions).
Fresh graduates, says Iskandar, should try to join companies that allow them to acquire skills that are increasingly needed in the next five to six years. Start-ups have a different culture and ethos altogether. Often, they have an innovative and energetic vibe, are agile and nimble, and are willing to experiment. A lot of them provide good learning experience to fresh graduates because the job often doesn’t fit defined skills set, allowing them to take on different responsibilities, he says.
Above all, fresh graduates need to be open-minded. Says Iskandar, the job market today requires grads to contribute more to a company and not limit it just to their field of study – there’s a need to be flexible at the same time. “Graduates really have to find that balance of contributing to a workplace because it is important to understand that your career is a long-term journey, not a short-term sprint,” he says.
Iskandar’s Rules for success
“Managers appreciate when you are not doing a certain task just for the sake of completing it but you are committed towards the end result.”
Sense of curiosity
“It is vital to keep asking questions about what is happening around you to keep yourself alert to how the world is changing ? curiousity breeds innovation.”
Work and life balance
“Today’s working culture is no longer nine to five, which means you have to spend longer hours at a workplace. But finding the right balance is key to having the stamina to contribute long term. I make sure I have some time to cycle 50 to 100km every weekend to keep fit; it also allows me time to reflect on what has happened during the week and plan for the next.”