A netizen shared his internship experience with insurer Great Eastern. His post was to "warn" others to be careful when choosing which company to do their internship with.
Back in May i stumbled upon Great Eastern’s ‘The Great Internship’ which is a 2 month internship which they claim to be “bond free” and promises to teach us about “finance” and “investment”.
It is stated to run from 5 June to 24 July. And they promised to pay us a sum of $500 every month for our internship pay.
What we learnt were mainly ‘soft skills’, ‘how to dress to meet clients’, ‘how to sell more policies ect’, ‘fact finding’, none of any technical skills. All these were taught to us by ‘mentors’, who are currently working as insurance agents
There were also ‘presentation challenges’ which interns were made to think of ways to promote the internship to other students in the future. This includes a promised prize money for winning teams to split, the biggest being $4000 which my team managed to win a prize.
Also, we had to pass 4 papers by the Singapore College of Insurance, and they would use scare tactics like your can’t receive your pay or prize money if you don’t clear these papers. The shocking part was that we were made to pay $107 of our own money for each retest. Which they will then deduct from our pay. We did not know of this until we joined.
I failed M5 twice and could not retake it as the retest dates were after my internship, during the school term. And I demanded that they be fair to pay out my second month pay (less the retest) and all the remaining prize money which they promised. I was also straight to tell them that I would get Ministry of Manpower involved should any amount be withheld, to be used as collateral to make us retake our papers till we passed.
I did not want to be a financial advisor under Great Eastern as I did not like the way us interns were constantly threatened with our pay ect. Even if they did intend to pay us regardless, it is humiliating and morally wrong for our superiors to do so, we are busy university students and the last thing we need is to worry whether or not our time would be compensated for.
My mentor agreed with my request, and promised me that I would be paid whatever amount owed to me, and that his admin staff would contact me.
On 2 August, Sunday. One of the admin staff contacted me and told me to come down to the office ‘after 1pm’ to collect my cheque. I told her ‘I would reach at 3.30pm’. At 3pm she then sarcastically replied that she would need me to come down on Thursday ‘because today is a Sunday’. I had already left the house then.
Whether or not it is unprofessional, you decide.
All interns have a right to our pay, and it should never be used as collateral for any extra obligations from any company.