Ken is a Thai-German national with a very multicultural background. In late 2013, Ken co-founded AIP. Ken is also the youngest Director to serve on the Board of Directors of the Singapore-Thai Chamber of Commerce.
What is your favorite travel memory?
When I was young, my mother used to take my siblings and I to Hong Kong to visit our grandfather. We would go there about a few times a year. The trips were not exactly the exciting type but they were very enjoyable. My grandfather would tell his stories which were very inspiring, to say the least. He told us stories of how he fled from Germany during the World War and traveled around Asia. He also told us about the different businesses he started and how he ended where he was. Until this day, every time I think of HK, it gives me the nostalgic feel where all the memories come rushing back which is rather pleasant.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
It’s definitely been a hell of a ride since day one. AIP was the first business I’ve started, and you can imagine I’ve learnt a lot from the experience. I’ve grown so much and have become a completely different person from who I was five years ago.
I think the most useful skills I’ve developed so far would be people skills. It is something that you don’t normally develop in classrooms but would come over time as you interact with more people. Working in AIP allowed me to really network and meet people from around the world – whether it is our partner companies around Asia, universities around the world, and candidates from over 70 nationalities. Everyone came from different background with different cultures, and it always fascinates me how much you can learn from people.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Over the years of working at AIP, I’ve heard so many stories from past students, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. I can’t pick one because all of them are very special. It gives us such motivation when we hear from our alumni so I’ll share a little of different stories we’ve heard so far.
Many got their dream jobs whether it’s in MNCs, startups, or NGOs. Some started their own startups. Quite a number of people eventually landed jobs in their host companies after their internships and became very close friends with our team. They also become the point of contacts for us, which is perfect as they are able to help guide the new interns through their experiences.
Work apart, there was even a couple who met while doing our program and got married a couple of years later. It’s amazing to see how many memories we build for our interns and to see that most of them were able to get a lot more out of the experience than what they’ve set out to achieve before arriving in each of our destinations.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I’ve also wanted to experience a day in a life of being an intern in all of our programs but if I had to pick just one, it would definitely be Japan. My mother was born and raised in Tokyo, so growing up, I was exposed to the Japanese culture to quite an extent.
I love almost every bit of it whether it is the food, tradition, language, and other little things. I’ve also visited Japan a few times when I was young and later when we started to offer Japan as a destination. However, I never got the chance to stay in Japan long enough to be able to really immerse myself into the culture and community. This will also be a perfect opportunity to improve my Japanese, which I always try to pick up a little whenever I can.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
I believe we connect with our interns more than any other programs out there. Our team really tries to connect with our interns on a personal level, and I think we can see the proof in the reviews that we received from our alumni.
From the start of the process during the initial interviews, we dig down on our applicants’ interests and career goals to find out how we can secure the best internships for them. When they are on ground, we help them connect with other interns and host events so they are not alone in a new country.
We understand that their experience outside of the internship is as important as their internship itself. It’s always very rewarding when our interns tell us how meaningful their internships were and how much their experience abroad will play major role in their future development. I’m proud of our team every single day because of this.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Absolutely, it is our team. We have such an awesome team that everyone works so well together. It took a while to fine-tune the way we work with one another and to have the high level of morale in the team that we have today.
Our team is very multicultural consisting of people from all around the world, and we love the diversity that we have in the office. I can see that this type of environment is not for everyone. You have to be very open-minded, service-orientated, and organized to be working at AIP. We’ve had many people come and go because we demand a high level of dedication, and for many people, it can be too much.
The people that we have now are the best not because of their past qualifications or their degree, but because of their enthusiasm, motivation, and ambition to make AIP a success.
Most of our team members started with us as interns and some had quite a few internship experiences so they fully understand the struggle and issues our program participants go through in all the stages and can help them accordingly.
I couldn’t ask for a better team to be working with. They are THE reason why we’ve been able to grow so rapidly in such a short time and still maintain a high customer service level.