At Empowering Futures we have the great opportunity to meet some of the most amazing young talent and we have been working with Nur Muhammad who is a Young Talent Programme Participant from International Enterprise Singapore and chairperson of the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum (JWEF).
We interviewed him and we are happy to share some of his experiences with all of you!
EF – What is JWEF?
Nur – The JWEF stands for the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum, the junior chapter of the World Entrepreneurship Forum. Currently, there are 19 local chapters around the world, with London being the latest addition.
EF – How did you get the role of chairperson of such an organisation?
Nur – Haha that’s a funny story – I went for an interview to join the JWEF committee and when I was presented the question on the role I’d like, I shamelessly said chairman. Of course, this was greeted with some laughter by the panel. However, after going through the voting process by the shortlisted list of leaders, I was appointed the leader of this endeavour. I would still like to think that I was presented the role of the Chairman based on the various leadership positions I’ve held leading up to this position as well as my interpersonal skills and rapport built during the interview process.
EF – What is the biggest win of JWEF?
Nur – The JWEF brings together young enterprising individuals to affect change in the community using entrepreneurship as a tool to create wealth and social justice. The biggest win therefore is creating a synergy between like-minded individuals who share similar goals but with differing skill sets. I would also like to believe the JWEF empowers youths to take action and the belief that anyone can make a difference.
EF – What were the biggest challenges for JWEF?
Nur – Like so many successful endeavours, being willing to sail through the eye of the storm and riding the waves that stands in your way. These waves came in the form on juggling the numerous other commitments everyone on my organising committee had, and admittedly they did brilliantly. Other challenges is having team members who were initially unmotivated and unproductive. However, we overcame this simply by illustrating how their role falls in the grand scheme of things, and how they make a difference. Also, we held a culture of recognition where we celebrated everyone’s successes, regardless of the context.
EF – What would you advice to undergraduate students for their career development?
Nur – Personally, during my undergraduate years, I made full use of every opportunity to speak to new people – you would find me speaking with random people at the canteen and hanging out with the different batches of exchange students. This experience was definitely a practice in communicating with the various styles, and being exposed the different cultural behaviours and predisposition.
Being involved in experiences which were out of my comfort zone would be another one essential takeaway for me. For example, I took up ballroom dancing courses – even though I had no experience and was fully a sports person – and started being involved in the study of entrepreneurship to develop my understanding of the business world.
These aspects – being comfortable talking to strangers and being willing to be uncomfortable – are some key advice I would have as they can easily to translate to any area of your lives.
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EF – What are your non-work habits that help you with your work-life balance?
Nur – I must admit I had an issue maintaining a work-life balance back in school where I was only fixated on academic success and achieving athletic performance goals I had for myself. These days, I’m much more mindful (although I still believe there is room for improvement). When I’m not working, I hit the gym 4-5 times a week, and do a bit of ballroom dancing once to twice a week. On the weekends, I play a bit of football. I must admit too that I really enjoy my work and that in itself is already a good mix.
EF – What is the best advice you received recently, and that you still follow?
Nur – The best advice I ever received was way back in my childhood when I was living with my grandparents. I recalled being constantly reminded to always focus at the task at hand – to do it well once so you won’t have to redo it, as well as making excellence a habit. This was best encapsulated by the famous quote by Socrates “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”
EF – What is your next big goal?
Nur – Upon graduation in the summer of 2015, I actively sought to embrace the business world and one that would enable me to experience working in a new country. The Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme offered by my school presented me this amazing opportunity and I’m currently at the half-way mark of the one year programme.
Upon completion of this programme, and having been equipped with the skills and experience, I intend to move into management consultancy, as I’ve always been interested with developing systems and strategising for optimal performance. This coupled with my fascination for leadership studies makes it my dream position.
Please feel to comment and ask Nur any questions about JWEF or Empowering Futures, he is really passionate about entrepreneurship and positive change, always keen to connect with like-minded people.
Have a wonderful day!