Interview with Qi Rui, from fashion graduate to site reliability engineering

Interview with Qi Rui, from fashion graduate to site reliability engineering


After initially studying a Diploma in Nutrition, Health and Wellness at Singapore Polytechnic, Qi Rui switched to studying fashion and graduated with a BA in Fashion Apparel & Design from Norwich University of the Arts in 2019.

Once she returned to Singapore from the UK, she decided to pursue a career in tech and studied Data Science and AI with the Institute of Data. While job hunting, she came across mthree and joined the Alumni Graduate Program in September as Product Management Analyst with a global investment bank.

We spoke to Qi Rui about her training at the mthree Academy, her advice for other grads and why she enjoys working at an investment bank.

How has the first month in your role gone?

"It's been exciting because I've been learning loads, asking lots of questions and just getting to experience what it’s like working for an investment bank!

As it’s my first few weeks I’ve mainly been listening in on calls, shadowing people and doing training. I’ve also been testing systems and writing documentation on how to tackle certain issues and soon I’ll be helping with setting up a chatbot.

It’s been great to be friends with the other mthree grads in my cohorts so I don't feel like a new person starting alone. Everyone’s been really supportive and we each have our own senior colleagues to train us and answer our questions.

In Singapore, we're flip-flopping between working from home full time and going back to the office. It's been nice to go into the office, I enjoy meeting everyone in person and being able to do things like having lunch together."

What was appealing about working for an investment bank?

"All my previous experience has been working in retail so going into the corporate sector was different for me - especially a large multinational business like an investment bank. Working at a bank was something that I wanted to experience, so when I was offered the job, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I had to take.

On my job hunting journey, people were judging me on my previous background in fashion even though I've studied data science and AI. But when I went into the interview with the investment banks through mthree I was comfortable and they were open with my background. They considered everything else that I did outside of fashion and said they wanted people from a variety of backgrounds to give a different perspective on the issues the teams are working on."

Did you have any preconceived ideas of what it’s like working at an investment bank?

"I didn't realise how much of an important role tech plays. With the bank I’m working at now, tech is a major focus for them because they want to expand and build on the tech side of banking and are actively trying to improve and upgrade it.

I also didn’t think that I’d be working with such a variety of people. In my office, there are people from different countries who all bring their own perspectives and makes work interesting."

Why did you choose to work in tech?

"It's a really exciting and up and coming industry right now. So when I came back to Singapore from the UK, I decided to use my spare time to upskill myself. I felt like if I didn't get in now, I don't know when I would be able to have the time.

Even before switching to tech, because of the lockdown, fashion began using more technology and fashion designers started using AR. This was the spark that ignited my curiosity for learning tech."

Did you feel more prepared when starting your new job because of the mthree training?

"Definitely. Many fresh graduates suffer from imposter syndrome so I found the training helped me overcome that. I felt more confident because I knew I had the skills for the role before the scope of my job was even explained to me.

When I was studying data science and AI, I was using Python in a way that was simplified for me which led to me struggling with the different Python concepts when I was applying for jobs. When we covered it in the mthree training it helped grow my confidence in being able to do more with Python.

It also helped me learn new programming languages; the skills I developed learning Java and Python were transferrable when I was learning other languages."

Are there any skills you developed from your fashion degree that has been useful for your current role?

"I think my creative skills, as creativity plays a huge part in my role. People think of tech as logic and that it has to be done in a certain way but you need to be creative to come up with different methods to tackle the same problem. I like that in my role I can use both my logical and creative skills."

What advice would you give to graduates that are considering joining mthree?

"Research who has joined mthree before. I found people on LinkedIn who had joined the Alumni program and they gave me the support and confidence to apply for it. You can also go on to the mthree website and take a look at the testimonials from other graduates, the quotes always had real pictures of the person which I found useful – it’s always nice to see a face rather than just words on a page!"

What would you think is the benefit of joining a bank through mthree rather than applying directly?

"The application process was really smooth. When Christine from mthree called me I was quite surprised because most companies I applied for didn’t even bother to call to let me know I’m through to the next stage. She took the time to explain the whole recruitment process and she helped me with the interview process too which was really nice."

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