Thursday, February 13, 2014

Richmond Goh's FYP experience!

Good afternoon! It seems that exams are all over now and everyone is on their holidays so why not take some time to read more about your fellow DBITan?
In this post, I have interviewed a Year 3 student that has completed him FYP last semester. If you’re interested to know more about how your FYP days will be like, I urge you to read on because I assure that this post will be an eye-opener for you, just like how it was for me!

Richmond Goh is a student very different from the rest. Instead of following step-by-step procedures and making sure that he gets everything right, he chooses a different path and decides that creativity and thinking out of the box is an even better option! Find out more about Richmond as we dive into his FYP experience.

Richmond with his FYP group mates!

1)      What did you do for your FYP? How did you come up with the ideas?

For my FYP, I did my own start-up company which provides buddy-tutoring services. Basically, this is a tutoring service provided and it’s a project that was carried on from our internship. I felt that it was a good platform to continue from and when I proposed this idea to my team members, they all readily agreed to the idea. We came up with this idea because currently, the idea of having tuition has become a norm and you see parents everywhere looking for tutors for their kids. Therefore, we figured that this was a very practical business.
What differentiated my company from the normal tuition agencies was that our company was an initiative to help the cohort of tutors that are mainly students. Based on some research that we did, we realized that tuition agencies actually charge 50% commission to the tutors, which made it very unfair to them. Therefore, we came up with a new revenue model to help these tutors.

The cover page of their name cards
A simple collage of some of his tutors!

2)      Was the process tough?

Executing, for the most part, was the easiest. As long as we had everything we planned in place, everything else flowed really quickly. Planning, however, was the toughest. We restarted out idea for a total of 3 times. We first had an F&B business which failed due to the lack of funds for the start-up capital. Next, we tried a fitness dating company which aimed to connect individuals through the use of fitness. However, we were too young then to execute it.
It took us about a year to start the ball rolling because we were using a different approach. Instead of a teacher teaching a student, this time, it would be a student teaching another student and as we all know, parents nowadays are still quite traditional and feel that the older the teacher, the better. This made it tough for us because we had to spend a lot of time trying to help the parents understand why this method is better. Following that, we had to market it out against all the other competitors that were already known to the public. All these made the planning process a really long, taxing one.

Buddy Tutor advertisement on a noticeboard!

3)      What other difficulties did you face?

Well for me, I had a D for Java so when we decided to create 2 mobile applications, a forum and a website, it was really tough! Even though we managed to find a program that used really simple computer language that normal programmers would understand in a week, it was still hard for me and I took about 3 weeks to understand the language. We even had to fork out money to do our own advertisements. In addition to that, we did our FYP before we did our modules so unlike the other batch, we didn't have the skill sets they would have when they start on their own FYP.

Buddy Tutor's website!

Buddy Tutor's application's login page!

4)      Something insightful you would like to share with your juniors? 
Basically, I feel that you shouldn't work for others because FYP isn't just a module. It is a platform to gauge if your business idea is viable or not. If it is, you can just continue with it and make it a real, running company. Working for others will give you many constrains that making your own company wouldn't. Firstly, you’d have to listen to what they want and do what they want you to do. The worse-case-scenario would be when they actually tell you that they don’t know what they want! This will in turn result in your entire FYP circling around trying to please your superior and at the end of the day, you don’t learn much because all you've been doing is trying to please them.
Secondly, you wouldn't be able to get your work back because it’ll all be kept with the company. If you were to run your own company and have your own works, in future when you go for interviews, you can use it as a proof that you have tried to run your own company before.

This about sums up my interview with Richmond and before he left, he told me that.....

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