Born and raised in Kedah, Malaysia, Banu’s journey with Intel started at a tender age. She had just finished high school and was looking to raise funds needed for university. Upon hearing of an opening for manufacturing operators in Kulim, she grabbed the opportunity, spending a couple of months as a quality inspector.
“I remember being impressed by how everyone worked: the casual warmth, the joyful atmosphere, and being in a learning-driven environment left an impression on me.”
Banu’s impression was buoyed by her brother, who also worked for Intel at the time. From seeing him bring home a PC for the family to bringing everyone along on a day out for employees, she harbored hopes of someday being a part of the team. Today, having realized the dream, spending more than a decade in the company across multiple roles, and with a few years away in a foreign startup, she’s back in Intel Malaysia as a People System Program Manager.
A journey of steep learning curves
“When I first joined in 2004 as a Manufacturing Supervisor, almost the entire team was older than me. It was a demanding role, and I did reach a breaking point, but I always had support from my manager and HR when I needed it. I pushed through, and I believe that was when I started growing.”
She changed roles almost every two years in her first decade with Intel. It wasn’t because she couldn’t find her place, but more because new opportunities kept coming her way. “In my experience, your qualification is largely just a piece of paper. I’m a non-technical person who’s done and enjoyed a few technical roles. It’s down to how you come in, embrace yourself, how you perform, and the drive that you have.”
With this beginner and learning mindset, she took on a new challenge to join a fast-growing startup in Singapore after over a decade in Intel.
Learning through doing
“Being in the startup was a story of two extremes. There was immense learning and a lot of fun and long hours, and a lot of traveling. With my then-young daughter and husband at home, I traveled to and from Singapore every week.”
She was an operations manager with over 300 people on her watch. A lot of the work was manual due to a lack of automation, which eventually took its toll on Banu. Her managers listened, but the support that was given lacked real substance.
“When you go back to the same unhealthy cycle, you ultimately get exhausted. And once that happens, your creativity gets shut down. The focus on people is so important, and yet not many companies have this appetite. It was a bit of a shock to the system for me and an eye-opener.”
Realizing how much she was missing out on life, including time with her growing daughter, she realized how workplace culture was central to her growth and happiness. So, she decided to return to Intel to reinvigorate and reclaim the missing work-life balance.
The importance of reflection
Banu believes that while it is important to have priorities, they often need to be reflected upon - and looked at with a long-term view. This is easily overlooked when one is in the hustle and bustle of work, growth, and career advancement. Sometimes, the costs outweigh the benefits.
“Pause and reflect. The milestones will never end. By the time you stop and look back, there might be things you’ve sacrificed that you can never get back. It’s only when you stop to reflect that you’ll truly know how you’re progressing in life and be able to see what truly matters. I am glad that I am finally back home at Intel Malaysia, the place where I don’t have to make hard choices between work and family.”
Are you interested in launching your career at a workplace that prioritizes employees’ well-being? Find out more about a career at Intel Malaysia here.
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