The Art of Downplay

So I learned an amount of things today, including what it actually feels like to downplay yourself in a competition that is all about projection and putting your most persuasive face forward. I joined the Maybank Go Ahead Challenge after receiving an invitation from them a couple of months ago through email. At the time, I was still looking for work so I was open to the idea. I took their online assessment just for kicks not expecting that I’d move on to the next round.

Fast forward to yesterday, I got in to the Campus Levels which was practically where the real challenge began.  All the activities yesterday revolved around a case study touching on economics and finance. I am an Engineering graduate so I am no expert on the nitty-gritty of finance and economics. The only sources of knowledge that I could pull was from the stuff I learned when I started investing in the stock market and the flyers I’ve read whenever I visited the bank to do some transactions. Oh yes, there was Engineering Economics, but we never discussed how exchange policies were established. So I basically felt out-of-place and mainly lost save from the fact that I met new friends along the way.

Around midday, I decided this wasn’t for me and the fact that I was not impressed with the time management practiced, it only added to my desire to just go home. Although, knowing myself, I was always curious to know what was next so I saw it through the end of the event. So I did what I thought would be the most graceful thing to do in the situation, downplay myself in the actual assessment. During every activity, there were assessors who roamed around and basically eavesdropped on the brainstorming and conversation going on, and they weren’t exactly the discreet kind – I could feel them behind my back. The actual and final assessment that day was a solo presentation of a plan of establishing a bank and a new currency that will be used instead of the existing barter system.

While everybody was enthusiastic, presenting their proposals even while hungry and with bloodshot eyes, I presented mine in the plainest and most direct way possible. Everybody was eager to expound and expound to convince the assessor to accept their proposal, I didn’t. Despite being the eager one to pitch in with insight during the group brainstorming for this last activity, I was the least enthusiastic in the actual individual presentation. Talk about really selling myself and that proposal short.

My plan worked and I got myself out. On my way home, I realized I’m not exactly for the world of banking. Or at least not yet. I’m not yet closing my door to the industry but I am sure now is not the time for it. Yesterday, I saw the potential and probable existing culture of their organization and I can say I’m not a fitting candidate. IT financial services, though is another story – that still has technology and engineering in it and I can handle that.

Yesterday taught me a lot about myself and I’m glad I took the opportunity even for a day. It made me appreciate Dad pushing me to take Engineering. I am still curious about the world of finance and economics. Most of all, I learned that the power to achieve my goals  is always in my hands.



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