Intern-view: Giann Vega on Phinma Properties

Welcome to another episode of Intern-view, where The Border Collective interviews former interns of interesting and cool places and where we ask what’s their advice for the next batch of interns.

Please note that any company featured in this series is in no way endorsed by and from TBC. No one’s advocating that you should go intern at our featured places. We just thought that these people had stories and projects that were great to share.

Hello, dear readers, it’s me again, Justine Lara T. Chua and I’m absolutely sure you’re sick of me! Don’t worry though since next week Betina takes the reigns as we head over to Unilever Business Week for 4 days and 4 nights! We’ll be posting regularly the highlights of our day as we go through the business case competition. 🙂 So keep a look out for it! For today’s post, we’re having another Intern-view with a very good friend of mine that I’m excited to introduce to you!

I met Giannreli Vega last May 2015 at Maybank’s GoAhead nationals. (Full disclosure: we both hated it because it was badly organized. Plus, it made us stay at the F1 Hotel until 2am just to be eliminated. That’s what got us talking actually; being trapped in the bloody hotel. I was cranky when I went to work 4 hours after that, and my parents will never feel any goodwill towards Maybank again because of it. Be prepared if you want to join this year’s Maybank challenge.)

Giann is slick in a polished, old time-y way that made me both immediately mistrust and admire him. No boy acts like that in today’s fuccboi culture. There must be an agenda behind it. And there is; Giann’s out for global domination in his own quiet, contemplative way. That admission caused me to respect him even more. And start trusting him. Here’s his dream in his own words.

The dream is to be a partner at a global consulting firm. Work as a consultant seems to be very fulfilling as you get to work with different people and companies – learning from them and helping them gain more value for their stakeholders.

A graduating senior from University of the Philippines Diliman, BS Business Administration, Giann interned for Phinma Property Holdings Corporation last June – July 2015. To exhibit his slick-ness (I cannot think of another word to explain his demeanor. If you ever meet him one day, you’ll understand what I’m talking about), Giann wrote 5 things to know about him. 

  1. A particular hobby of mine is immersing myself in international current events every day; I watch CNN when I wake up and just before I sleep. In between, I read up news articles and also watch my fair share of talk shows like that of – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I also enjoy TED Talks and TED-Ed content.
  2.  Always interested in all things global – be it competitions, conferences or any kind of activity wherein I get to interact with different people from different places.
  3. Attended the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations 2015–Asia Conference here in Manila last August 2015.
  4. Applied and qualified for a Master’s in International Business at a global business school based in the United States.
  5. Whenever I find myself wanting some time off from work and studies, I enjoy quiet times with my friends – be it watching a movie, eating dinner or playing beer pong together.

He doesn’t talk or act like a normal person, since he spends every hour of his day achieving, but that’s part of his charm. Think of him as you would a wise, eccentric professor. It makes him infinitely more bearable. Also, I needed him since he’s the only person I know who’s interned for a real estate firm.

Thanks for reading and hope Giann answered something useful for you! 😀

How did you find and pick this internship?

Phinma Property Holdings Corporation, or Phinma Properties, found me. It was a Thursday afternoon during Business Law class that I received a call from the company. They received my resume from the Career Fair, and they wanted me to go in for an interview.


Why did you choose to intern?

My application for Phinma Properties happened during the busy month of April of last year when a lot of companies were calling for interns. Of the many companies that I applied for, Phinma Properties presented something unique – it was a medium sized firm from an industry that was not that heavily marketed or talked about in the School of Business. Moreover, beyond it being a property developer that piqued my interest, it was also the opportunity of being able to work closely with the managers in the company that made me choose Phinma Properties over the other bigger companies for my internship.

How was the experience of applying and being interviewed for the internship?

The application was like that of other companies. You first give your resume to the company, either through Career Fair or through their website. Then after paper screening, they call you in for an interview. I got interviewed twice for my application. The first was on gauging my past experiences and abilities as a university student. The Head for Human Resources did this first interview. She then introduced me to the manager calling for interns – the Assistant Marketing Manager of the company, Mr. Enrique Moran, who later on became my direct supervisor.

During the interview with him, I was with another applicant, who would later on become my co-intern. Mr. Moran asked us about our experiences in university, as reflected on our resumes, the roles we took up in organizations, and more.


What would you say were the skills you needed when you applied? Did you pick up any new skills through your internship?

Both my classroom and contest training in marketing helped me carry out my deliverables as a Marketing Intern for the company. Research work was done daily, and doing similar activities back in the classroom helped make working engaging, and prevented it from being something alien to me – something I feared while applying for my internship.

During my internship, I did pickup valuable insights in terms of carrying out market research and creating a marketing campaign. These were lessons learned from both committing mistakes when preparing deliverables and from vicarious learning or watching and listening in on how other people work.

What was your expectation for the internship? How did the actual experience compare?

At the start of my internship, I honestly felt that I would not be that fulfilled with the work I will be doing. While applying for internships, I had the idea that only by interning at a large multinational firm that I will get the best training and value from the time I will spend. I thought wrong.

The experience I had working at Phinma Properties was worthwhile for a lot of reasons. Working at medium sized firm does not mean doing administrative or clerical work. It provides you an opportunity to do work that can give value to the company. You not only get to work closely with people in the company, but the size of the company provides you the opportunity to get to know each and every one of the people you are working with. You get to know their names by heart, what they do, where they are from and a lot more. Moreover, much like everyone else in the company, the culture of being able to talk to top management to voice out concerns is possible.

I remember one of the senior managers saying that “As long as an employee has a valid case, substance and proof to support his claim, top management will give him the opportunity to present his ideas. This enables everyone to contribute more for the company. Their concerns are heard.

I got to work on my deliverables while learning closely from the managers and the employees at the company. Whenever something piqued my interest, I had the opportunity to ask questions directly from the people in charge.


What did you do during your internship? What kinds of tasks and projects were you given? Did you volunteer to take on a task yourself?

The primary deliverable I was assigned to do during my internship was to conduct market research for the company, and along with it as an output, is pitch for a marketing campaign for the company. I read about the company, its various development projects and learned a lot of the ins and outs of the property development industry in the country. More than research, I also got to attend meetings of the various departments where members of top management would be present.

I got to try out actual activities members of the marketing team get to do such as calling up different companies for different needs and even competing firms to gather valuable information.

At the end of my internship, my co-intern and I got to present all that we had several times – to our supervisor, to the marketing team and to members of top management.

What would you say were the best parts about your internship?

I have three best experiences from my internship.

The first was spending a day out of the office for site visits to the various property developments of PHINMA. The purpose of the site visits were for us to see the projects first hand, and to develop an appreciation not only for these, but for what the company does and why the company does such. The drives from one site to another were also value adding as the senior manager with us would discuss various topics with regards to the company and that of the industry.

The second best part of my internship was how holistic the experience was for me. I was assigned to work with the Marketing Department but I was stationed one floor up, with the Planning Department. Here, I sat near managers and I found this very advantageous in my stay with the company as I was able to learn from both departments. I saw the value of how work from one department would be related to and would affect that of another.

The third would be the people I met during my internship. I learned so much about the company, the industry and of the professional world from people at the office. I would get a lot of insights from meetings with my supervisor or random sit downs with a manager or a director at my work desk or by the hall. Being able to learn a wide range of insights and best practices gave me good direction with regards to how I should work during my internship and for future items I do.


What would you say were the worst parts about your internship (or interning in general)?

Going to and from the office. Transportation and urban planning in Metro Manila is way bad. The best piece of advice I can give anyone was something I learned leaving the office on Day 3, an officemate shared that

“He who goes home on time, achieves the best work-life balance he can get.”

This left a mark on me, and has become an embedded concept in my mind as this concerns everyone, not just a mere intern such as myself, every waking day. The daily struggle is not only confined to the work desk, as the commute and travel to the office also prove to be tests of character. Nagging that work infringes personal time will get an individual nowhere. It is with small yet constant daily goals that one can achieve great heights.

If you could go back in time to the first day of your internship, what is one piece of advice you would have given yourself?

A most salient insight I learned confirms a thought that most people have learned or have come across early on in life – speaking up. The best and truest of intentions will always be welcome. The company, being relatively small, empowers all of its employees to have a voice. When one has an insight or opinion to share, they are given an audience and are heard. From direct supervisors to vice-presidents and even the president, people listen to individuals with a genuine concern in mind.

What was the most interesting thing you did at your internship?

At one point during my internship, I had to go call up other property developers to learn more about their projects. Here, I called as an interested customer for their projects. It was a surreal experience to talk to sales representatives of condominiums with a new found understanding of the industry. I was be able to ask the right questions to get the information I needed. All these compared to previous experiences as a consumer who did not have any inside information about the industry. It helps learning the ropes of particular industry. You get to better distinguish good products and services from bad ones.

What would you say was your greatest learning from interning?

Working daily on the goals of my internship program, on the marketing plan that I am to pitch, I have learned that the value of time is most essential. Every day is an opportunity to finish work a day earlier. The moment one fails to surpass the previous day’s output, work has essential been pushed back a day. Improving on past performance means that outputs are finished way ahead of established deadlines. Not only that, but personal development becomes inherent as one now becomes much more efficient than before; constantly challenging one’s self to improve.

Whereas in earlier days, I would be stuck with one problem on hand, now, I am striving to solve not only that problem. I get to have enough foresight to solve a problem that is yet to come. This does not only save time, but also prevents duplication of work and unproductive days; as problems are addressed even before the occur. The Japanese management principle kaizen becomes reminiscent, as work, of any kind, ought to really have continuous improvement.

From learning industry criteria to determine how to best select condominium units to purchase – factoring in livable space, total cost, amenities given, developer reputation and expansion plans – to actually going inside property developments to see first-hand how planning and marketing come together, make it at the top of my list as some of the most practical insights I have received from my stay with PHINMA Properties.

What advice would you give anybody who wants/is about to start interning?

Having worked for PHINMA Properties, I came to see that the optimistic images of internship work that I had at the top of my head, before I started, have been debunked. Working for a company as an intern, entails a different kind of approach to work a student would normally expect; especially that of work from student based organizations in university. The first hurdle that an intern faces is that of culture shock, and the immediate need to adjust and position himself in the new environment.

I found that though being put into a new environment, without any similar faces, and being given sheets of paper that represent the two month program that was to come could be immensely overwhelming and nerve wrecking, as real responsibility has now come, it is with calm responses that one best measures up to the need to step up. (J: Hands up for all those that had to read this sentence a few times to understand what Giann was saying.)

For the first two days, I slowly adjusted to what the company and my work needed of me. From managing social interactions with people in the company – be it someone from the mailroom, to a vice-president – it is with a calm mind and with pure intentions that things are done and all-encompassing objectives are met.

Do you have anything else you want to say to the readers?

I am in my last semester of university, and I can definitely say that all the experiences I have undergone have helped in preparing me for the working world. In this all but competitive world we live in, being wildly ambitious can be one of the best driving factors for one to go far in life. There are a lot of opportunities waiting for you, even outside the Philippines. If you can dream it and work for it, it will be yours.

Be ambitious and be humble.

And that’s it for this week’s Intern-view with Giann Vega! I told you how he talks is weird, but he’s very lovable in a useful way. And you may have noticed that we moved domains! From to! Buying a website was apparently a simple affair; it’s making the website look aesthetically pleasing that’s the hard part. 

I’ll make an  official announcement on The Border Collective’s Facebook page soon, but to all of you who are reading, I’d like to ask a favor! PM me your thoughts on how the site looks please! It’s still in the building stages, so I appreciate all comments! Especially the negative ones! My inbox is always open!

If you have anything you want to ask to either Betina or me, email us at either or! For partnerships and business deals, you can email us at! You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram as well @ChaiXingJun!

If you want to read about interning elsewhere, like maybe at a software company called Saperium, in banking like BPI,  at a telecom like Globe, or even a digital marketing agency called Jump Digital, The Border Collective’s got you covered. We already had someone write about it!

And if you’re already going into the interview stage, we’ve also written about acing your next phone interview, things to keep in mind during an interview, and about a failproof pre-interview routine here on TBC as well!

Up next here on TBC is our Unilever Business Week adventures as well, headlined by Betina, so stay tuned! We’ll be locked in a hotel with the 43 other participants for 4 days and 4 nights to simulate what a MBA (Master’s in Business) will be like, so it’s bound to be fun!

If you’ve got any other questions you want us to tackle or any suggestions on how we can better use the site, drop them into the Google Form down below! If you want your questions answered ASAP, then drop them into our! That’s where we answer time-constrained ones like about Business Week!

Thanks for reading and hope Giann answered something useful for you!

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