At James Cook University, Ms Mira Natasha picked up valuable experiences such as public speaking and interacting with students from around the world
By Esther Teo
December 17, 2020
Ms Mira Natasha had always dreamed of starting her own business.
“Growing up, my parents were very entrepreneurial and always brainstorming new concepts for business ideas, as well as different marketing strategies for their start-ups,” the 21-year-old says.
The only thing standing in the way of Ms Mira’s dream? Her painfully shy personality and lack of confidence.
To learn to break out of her shell, in 2016, she enrolled at James Cook University in Singapore, which would give her the opportunity to interact with people from around the world and all walks of life.
“JCU is an international university here that has a branch campus. In addition to receiving my degree faster due to JCU’s trimester system, I also wanted to experience a holistic campus life, and attend events and other non-academic activities. JCU prioritises both quality of education and student recreation, which was what I was looking for,” she says.
In lieu of junior college, Ms Mira enrolled in JCU’s Pre-University Foundation Programme. She then pursued a bachelor’s degree in business with a double major in marketing and business management — subjects that would be key to her entrepreneurial aspirations.
Beyond academic lessons at JCU, Ms Mira also discovered a whole new side to her personality.
“My experiences — meeting new people, working with different classmates for projects, having to speak up during open discussions in tutorials and lectures — really helped me to be a more open person, as well as gain more confidence,” she says.
She also did marketing internships at events management company Rebel and Soul, and luxury lifestyle management service Quintessentially. Her roles involved liaising with stakeholders such as clients and partners every day, both online and face to face, which helped to shore up her confidence further.
After graduating last year, Ms Mira joined human resource consulting firm Enable Business as a business development and sales executive. Her role involves interacting with clients regularly, from cold-calling to garner interest to conducting sales pitches.
“Without my exposure to public speaking at JCU, I would find it much harder to speak to clients with confidence,” she says.
Ms Mira was also surprised to find that the knowledge and skills she had gleaned at JCU were so directly applicable to her work.
“I did not study business development and sales, but my business degree covers many concepts and terms that I am now exposed to. I am so grateful to have studied such a comprehensive and exhaustive degree programme,” she says.
Her work supervisor, operations manager Kiran Nalla, says Ms Mira’s strength lies in her patience and composure when handling accounts and client expectations.
“She possesses the spunk and savviness of her generation which enlivens her work environment, galvanising the bonds between her and her co-workers,” he adds.
Ms Mira’s dream of running her own business remains on the back burner for now, but with her newfound confidence and skills, she is well equipped to pursue it, should the opportunity arise one day.