Schneider Catalyst Program: Accelerated learning for talents in East Asia & Japan
August 12th is International Youth Day, observed by the United Nations. This year’s theme seeks to highlight the ways we engage with young people at local, national, and global levels. Engaging with young people enriches institutions and organizations as well as draws lessons on how representation and engagement of youth can be enhanced.
At Schneider Electric, we celebrate International Youth Day because we want to enable and provide young people with equal opportunities to strengthen their abilities and achieve global action. Through internships, early careers, scholarships, career development programs, and working with young people in our local communities, we empower our youth.
Here is the story from Ciuyi as she details her experience as a Catalyst program participant.
Hi, I am Ciuyi. I am a Project Application Engineer at Schneider Electric, working on safety systems for industrial plants. I joined Schneider Electric as an Energy Generation Program (EGP) Associate with the Process Automation (PA) business unit in 2016 upon graduation. As an EGP, we are assigned to several rotations in the different functions of the business to get exposure to both technical and commercial roles.
Joining a transforming development program
After completing the EGP program, I wanted to continue to expose myself to businesses out of my daily role. So, I signed up for the Schneider Catalyst Program – a program designed to identify and accelerate early in career talents across the East Asia and Japan zone. I had the opportunity to qualify into this 4-month program where I was part of a group of 4 and assigned to a business challenge. I found the experience so exciting that I signed up for it 2 years in a row.
In 2019, I was assigned to a business development project in Inside Sales in the region with teammates located remotely from totally different functions. This year, I was assigned to a new topic on another end of the spectrum, a project on digital employer branding. These experiences have been truly enriching and transforming because we had to work hard on a large range of foreign topics, with people from different backgrounds, functions, and perspectives, within a condensed timeframe.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to master new skills
Exploring new business topics led me and the team to adopt different approaches and directions.
The project on Inside Sales intrigued me from the beginning. Although the topic was new and the scope vast, I reached out to different stakeholders in the zone to identify the core function of the role and its connection to the different business units, as well as countries. From those data, my team and I proposed a structure for the Inside Sales model in the East Asia Japan region.
For the project on digital employer branding, I initially faced some internal opposition to the topic. As a rather passive user of social media, I had to step out of my comfort zone. While it took me a while to accept this challenge, I am very proud to say that I contributed to develop our very own Instagram filter and launched it using the company’s official local Instagram account! Our bold idea won the 1st place at the Singapore final and we went on to create a short animation video explaining our project for the zone!
Collaborating with agility to drive impact
My personal experience with the Catalyst program would not have been positive without my teammates and the continuous support from our project sponsors and the subject matter experts. As this program is meant to be a career development project, we often spent nights and weekends on it.
In addition, given the short timeframe, I learned how to balance the effectiveness of the solution, the suitability of the solution to Schneider Electric, and the practicality of our execution plan. Even after formulating our execution plan, we often had to go through additional rounds of edits in all the phases due to our unfamiliarity to align with the company direction. So, I was elated when the management team gave positive feedback on our proposals.
Apart from being able to join meaningful programs like Schneider Electric’s Catalyst, I am also grateful for the opportunities that I have had in my regular work. My managers have been very encouraging and supportive. I personally value the mutual trust, respect, and empowerment at Schneider Electric where despite being in a male-dominated industry, I am considered as an ‘engineer’ instead of a ‘female engineer’ for the chance to go to the site, to travel to some potentially higher risk countries, or even for offshore projects.
As I reach the end of my 4th year with Schneider Electric, I realize that time is a little dilated in the industrial world. Projects range from 6 months to years, and there is always so much to learn in and out of my role. However, one thing for sure is that I will learn every day across domains and keep stepping out of my comfort zone so I can better contribute to the Digital Transformation happening now.
About the author
Ciuyi Yeo is a Project Application Engineer in the Industrial Automation, Process Safety industry. Her personal belief is that challenges make us stronger, and it gives her great satisfaction when things come together. She’s excited to see how the world (IT and OT) is evolving from digital transformations and is constantly learning so she can better contribute to the world.
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