Resilience and team work, rather than self-confidence and individualism were some of the important life lessons shared by winners and participants of the Global Finals at the Gala Dinner of the Maybank Go Ahead Challenge (MGAC) 2016 held in Kuala Lumpur on 23 August 2015. The Awards Ceremony at the Gala Dinner capped a grueling 10 days Global Finals for the 60 Global Finalists from 14 to 23 August in Kuala Lumpur.  The Global Finals wrapped up the six months of competition spanning 13 countries. MGAC is an award winning and unique case competition combining elements of the Amazing Race, The Apprentice as well as corporate responsibility initiatives to spot the all-rounder talent to join the Maybank Group.

A jubilant Chenyun You from China, was named the Global Champion of the Maybank Go Ahead Challenge. Chenyun You, a Masters graduate in Finance from Cass University won a cash prize of $1,000 USD. Team Transformers, comprising Finalists from China, Singapore and Malaysia burst out in excitement when they were announced the Grand Prize of $40,000 USD. Team Dark Knight with participants from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia won the 1st Runner-up spot of USD20,000. The 2nd Runner up, went to Team Kingsmen comprising Finalists from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia taking home USD10,000. The ultimate reward to the Global Finalists is being offered to join Maybank into its entry pipeline programme, the Global Maybank Apprentice Programme (GMAP). GMAP is an award-winning, entry-level, 2-year rotational programme offers best-in-class development, incorporating on-the-job training and an international assignment to offices where Maybank has a presence.

Maybank’s Group President & Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Abdul Farid Alias; Group Chief Human Capital Officer, Pn Nora Abd Manaf; Dr John Lee, Group Chief Risk Officer; Dato’ Rafique Merican, Group Head, Islamic Banking & CEO Maybank Islamic Berhad and Ms Pollie Sim, CEO International presented the prizes to the winners. Also present at the Gala Dinner were senior representatives from top local and international universities with campuses in Malaysia.

“MGAC is one of Maybank’s innovative ways of surfacing the best talents from around the world to be part of us. Witnessing their creativity, determination and resilience throughout the competition, they’ve inspired me and the rest of my colleagues to push ourselves even further, to be open to change in order to stay relevant. I hope that the investment that the organisation has put into the Challenge, will continue to contribute to our future generations as well as the growth of ASEAN,” said Datuk Abdul Farid Alias.

“We are all winners because we came out Champions from experiences we have never faced before in our lives. The Challenge was more than meets the eye. We have never encountered the type of activities, emotions and aspects of our weaknesses or strengths. Each stage was intense as it pushed us out of our comfort zones and help us build resilience. More importantly alone we cannot achieve much, so teamwork is important. I congratulate Maybank and the MGAC producers for giving us this priceless experience. We now realise that work-life is challenging especially if you want to be on top of the game. And, Maybank has shown us what it takes to be ahead of competitors and achieve success,” said William Teo team leader of Team Transformer.

For the first time in the Challenge, the Global Champion could choose to complete an exciting two-week international assignment at any Maybank office of their choice around the world. Chenyun selected Maybank New York as she wanted to experience the pulse of the New York financial centre apart from London’s where she spent a year completing her Masters. “MGAC has given me an unforgettable experience and it taught me the true meaning of resilience especially during the physical activities at Tadom Base, known as Malaysia’s toughest obstacle course. I struggled a lot completing the course but I believe that you have remove yourself out of your comfort zone and push yourself further in order to move forward. I am now more open to taking on new challenges in order to let myself grow both professionally and personally,” said Chenyun.

This year, the competition received a record of 37,000 applications, a 65% increase from 2015 and a 36 fold increase since its inaugural in 2012. Maybank received applications from 105 nationalities around the world with 18 nationalities competing at the Global Finals. The Global Finalists were from United Kingdom, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Cambodia and Malaysia. The diversity of nationalities clearly demonstrates Maybank’s global reach and attractiveness as an employer.

“The increasing number of applicants year-on-year, from 1,000 since its 2012 inception to 37,000 in 2016 proves how nimble we are in responding to the new trends in recruiting top talents such as the Millenials, especially with the increasing use of new technology platforms. MGAC is one of our platforms to recruit best young talents not only in the countries that we operate in but globally and we are honoured that we are playing a crucial role in contributing to the development of the region. MGAC has pushed our participants to go beyond the boundaries and experience real-life challenges for them to learn the importance of resilience and tenacity,” added Nora Manaf.

The Global Finalists had to pass the Campus and National Levels before reaching the Global Finals. The Campus Levels were held in 23 campuses in the region before moving onto the National Levels which ran in 11 countries in ASEAN, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong before ultimately joining together the top candidates in the Global Finals in Malaysia. The Global Finals tested Finalists not just in trading, finance and marketing, but also others areas such as arts and sports amongst others. A special addition to this year was the Mentoring Session where a key player in the industry gave the candidates advice and guidance in running their operations. Jenn Chia, a local artist, emcee and Youtuber, shared with the teams on ways to drive their campaigns on Social Media.

Their Corporate Responsibility took the teams to an Iban community in Sibu, Sarawak where they improved living conditions in the longhouse, involving painting its paving cement pathways to the longhouse and upgrading the communal toilet facilities. The last activity on 21 August involved raising awareness for four causes to the general public in an open event held in Malaysia’s top shopping avenue, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. The objective was not to raise money but to collect pledges from the public to support their causes. Using a symbolic concept, each pledge was turned into a yellow brick which was put together to create a house-like structure at a busy intersection along Lot 10 Mall. The house symbolised the impact made when everyone collaborate effective to support those in need.