Alumni Interview: Zen Foo, Strategy and Planning Associate in a Series B Tech Start-up in Beacon London
Sri KDU Schools spoke to Sri KDU Secondary School 2010 alumni, Zen Foo a Strategy and Planning Associate at Beacon London. Read Zen’s interview below!
“Sri KDU has always been known as an institution that provided its students with a holistic education experience and one to which has helped me grow a mindset to be pursuant in what I wanted to achieve or pursue. After pursuing A-Levels at Cardiff Sixth Form College, I took on a degree major in Economics at the London School of Economics and graduated in 2016. Soon after graduation, I went on to pursue my career in finance at an investment bank here in London, as a treasury markets trader.
However, after a few years of being in finance, I came to realise that competing in the corporate rat race was not giving me the purpose I was searching for or the push I wanted. I decided to take a leap of faith and a significant pay cut to jump over into the world of tech and start-ups. Currently, as a Strategy Associate at a Series B tech start-up in London, we look to disrupt the world of supply chain and logistics. The work we do is meaningful to me as I have always been someone who values change and outside-the-box thinking. The job I do requires structured thinking, the ability to own, solve and drive solutions to ambiguous problems, managing your stakeholders and of course, excellent Microsoft Excel skills which Sri KDU Secondary School has definitely prepared me for through its ICT lessons.
What I really enjoyed about Sri KDU Secondary School is that the school gave everyone a platform to express what they were good at or what the students wanted to excel in. This in return gave everyone a route to building self-esteem and self-confidence. My academic experience in Sri KDU proved that it didn’t matter your area of excellence, from academics, performing arts, sports, to extracurricular — Sri KDU Schools continuously provided its students the opportunity to be great at what they wanted to venture and excel in, including the appropriate space and means to showcase these extraordinary abilities. After working a few years, I realise the most important assets a young person can have in the working world is confidence and conviction in their beliefs.
Growing up, every student has their own strengths and weaknesses and mine was being fairly shy in school and not having that self-confidence like any normal teenager and millennial in that era. My experience with my friends joining the competition in the Paramount Championship however helped change that outlook for me, where I sung and performed in front of an audience for the first time ever in my schooling experience or in my life for that matter! Not only did I conquer my stage fright, but our band emerged winners of the competition. I think that experience was a profound one, as it really helped me come out of my shell and helped build confidence within my own abilities. It has truly gone a long way into my adulthood, helping me in many ways in my career now.
As a fresh associate in a new world of tech and start-ups, I personally believe that humility and eagerness to learn are two important traits to have but being kind is just as important as taking ownership in the work you do. My advice is, start small and own it and remember, being kind is never a weakness!”