This session leads with a discussion on the importance of holding on to one's ideals when embarking on a career; the need to remain curious as an important career life-skill while the future grows more complex and uncertain; and an exhortation to students to use their generation's technologies to do good in the world.
Forrest and his team will then take questions from the audience.
Carma Elliot: So good afternoon to those of us joining online from our global audience of the family, our partners and stakeholders and those joining us here in Singapore. In person as well in the ABC Theatre on the Dover campus of UWCSEA. So a very warm welcome to you all. Thank you for joining us. And we're delighted that for our first session this afternoon we have our speaker is Forrest Li who is the founder of the Sea Group.
And the topic this afternoon is the world of work towards the future. And in our session so far at our 50th anniversary forum, we have been talking about learning to shape the future and that has included both on the topic of education, but of course towards the future of work for the young people in our schools and colleges across the world.
So let me just briefly introduce first before asking him to speak. Forrest Li as the founder of Sea and has served as its chairman and group chief executive officer since its inception, Sea listed on the New York Stock Exchange as a global consumer Internet company. It was founded in Singapore in 2009 with a mission to better the lives of consumers and small businesses with technology Sea operates three core businesses across digital entertainment, e-commerce, as well as the digital payments and financial services known as Garena, Shopee and Sea Money respectively.
Forrest is a member of the board of directors of the Singapore Economic Development Board and serves as an independent and non-executive director of Shangri-La, Asia Ltd. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the National University of Singapore and on the Advisory Council of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. Forrest holds an MBA degree from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a bachelor's degree in engineering from Shanghai, Jiao Tong University.
So Forrest thank you for joining us today, and you are a long way away from us, but thankfully with the benefit of Zoom, you are able to join us in person today. And I would like to hand the floor to you Forrest, thank you.
Forrest Li: Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you, Carma for having me here today. Let me start by wishing UWCSEA, my warm congratulations on achieving this milestone. For 50 years, you have shaped young minds and changed many lives an impact to be very proud of. It is my honour to speak to you today on the future of work.
I understand there are many young people in the audience today who are about to join the working world if I may, I have three pieces of advice for you. First, hold on to your ideals. A tension many young people face is whether it is possible to do this, but to still succeed in the working world. UWC teaches students to hold strong values and rightly so.
Some of you may be wondering whether you may need to compromise those values to succeed in your careers. My belief is the opposite : ideals and dreams should drive careers. You have many years of your working life ahead of you. It would be a waste to spend all that time and energy on something that is not meaningful to you.
If you try, you will always be able to find a way to work on things you care about. That is how it was for me. I started Garena, a game company because I love games, but more than that, I wanted to create a place where talented people could thrive, have fun, and to bring the most joy to players.
I started Shopee because I wanted to bring ease and convenience to families across Southeast Asia. I wanted to build a platform that could let them buy almost anything online easily. Over time, we saw how our platform could also empower those who are left out of the digital economy. People could start to buy things online they never had access to before.
Small business owners could start to access a huge market beyond their neighbourhood. This real, tangible improvement in people's lives became the drive of our work. In the end, we have choices. You can choose to join an industry, a company or a field where you feel you can make a difference and live out your values.
That is why I became an entrepreneur. I urge you to listen to what your ideals tell you to do.
Another common worry among the young is about what skills you need to thrive in the future economy. Given how rapidly things are changing, my advice is rather than focusing on what will be different, focus on what it will be the same it is impossible to know what future jobs will look like. Many will be completely different from today, but some skills have been valuable for all kinds of jobs over hundreds of years.
These are soft skills that no degree can train you for. In any working environment it is your ability to communicate, coordinate, problem solve, and work in the team that will matter more than your technical training. While we value talent, we value qualities like commitment, discipline, responsibility, and a willingness to learn more than pure technical ability. Because every industry is a team sport, no individual can achieve great heights alone.
You must always be able to work with others. My last piece of advice is wherever you go and whatever you do, try to use your generation's innovations to do good. This may sound easy, but it is not always the case. At Sea our deep belief is that technology can drive positive change, a strong force for improving lives. But every innovation is a double edged sword.
It all depends on how it is used so I hope you will always ask of any new technology you get a chance to work on - How can this be used to lift the people up rather than hold them down? How can this improve lives and reduce suffering? This is not just the work of charities. Sea is proof that a mission like that can make business sense too when your starting point is that you want to help people, you will naturally start to build something that people want in their lives.
You will find a business opportunity for it.
These are three my messages for you today. When you enter the working world, I hope you will do so with your values intact. I hope you will work more on your soft skills, not only worrying about hard skills, and I hope that it will take every chance you get to use new technologies to uplift others. If everyone in your generation did that, imagine the amazing impact you could have upon the world.
The future is bright and there is a lot you can achieve go out into the world and change it for the better. Thank you.
Carma Elliot: Thank you so much, Forrest, for those very uplifting words and and talking about both our values and mission driven business, but the values that that business looks for in its staff as well, which I think is a very powerful guide for our subsequent conversation. So I now would like to introduce from the Sea group, the two other panellists for today we have two of your colleagues with us.
We have Professor Yan Shuicheng and we have Jessica Shao, who is the senior director for People's Strategy and Leadership at Sea. So let me please first introduce Professor Yan. Professor Yan Shuicheng is currently director of SEA AI lab SAIL and group chief chief scientist of Sea He's building SAIL up from zero in addition to other significant fellowships. Professor Yan is a fellow of the Academy of Engineering in Singapore.
His research areas include computer vision, machine learning, and multimedia analysis. Till now, he has published over 600 papers in top international journals and conferences. He's consistently been cited among Thomson Reuters highly cited researcher since 2014. Professor Yan's team is also highly successful and has been awarded many times in internationally renowned competitions. And to add to that Professor Yan is also a parent in the UWCSEA community so let me also introduce Jessica as Senior Director for People Strategy and Leadership at Sea
She works closely with various business leaders and people leaders on crafting talent solutions for the company. Prior to joining Sea, Jessica spent more than ten years with the Boston Consulting Group across Shanghai, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Singapore, working on both business strategies and people strategies she holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree from Shanghai, Jiao Tong University, and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School.
So thank you. And to both Professor Yan and to Jessica for joining us. Professor may I ask you just to add a little bit more to your bio or your short bio by telling us a little bit more about yourself so we can get to know you better before we start asking questions.
Professor Yan: OK, thank you, Carma Yeah. So thank you, Forrest. Yeah, I think I should be among those who are very familiar with the area around the UWC Dover campus first, I'm a parent at UWC as Carma just mentioned, my daughter is in grade five. Yeah. She's enjoying the wonderful life in the beautiful Dover campus. Yeah. Secondly, I've been connected with NUS for about 11 plus years and nurture quite some PhD students into campus.
So now I work in the nearby Sea group founded by Forrest and his amazing partners yeah. As chief scientist I'm building alab with the ambition to push the artificial intelligence towards artificial general intelligence, which is more powerful, more human like, and able to acquire new skills quickly by zero or few demonstrations.
Yeah. So I'm a researcher with particular interests in intelligence including, for example, the human intelligence from humans like my daughter and artificial intelligence from machines. Thank you very much.
Carma Elliot: Thank you. And turning to Jessica.
Jessica Shao: Thank you on. Good afternoon, everyone. It's my pleasure to be here today to attend this 50th anniversary Forum. Congratulations to UWCSEA. As Carma mentioned in my current role, we work very closely with business leaders and the people leaders across different business units at Sea crafting talent solutions to help our employees having a better journey at work. Outside of work
I'm a mother of two daughters. My older daughter is also entering senior school later this year. During my my day to day interaction with her. I also think about what the workplace will be like for her in the future and also in my spare time, I volunteer my time coaching and mentoring senior school students and college students, help them define the path for the future, which is very close to the topic we have today.
So I really look forward to the discussion today. Thank you Carma, back to you.
Carma Elliot: Thank you, Jessica. So we have some questions and starting with questions for all of our panellists. And I'm going to turn to you first, Jessica, if I may. So we've been asked, you know, sometimes we hear our alumni talking about critical moments in their experience at UWCSEA, these experiences which helped to shape their and decide their future career.
Were there any such moments in your education or your life that really helped you to decide your future career? And if so, would you be prepared to share them with us?
Jessica Shao: Sure. Thank you. Come on. As I mentioned in your introduction, I spent more than ten years in management consulting. One of the critical shifts in my career is from looking at the business and commercial side of strategies to looking at people's strategies. I used to be a little bit technical and nerdy in my high school. One of my favourite activities was solving the physics problems with my best friends at school and also in management consulting.
I spend most of my time looking at the business strategies, business valuations and Excel modellings. But here I am today looking at the people strategy. All my work is about people connecting with people, understanding people, helping people develop. I'm an executive coach and a career coach. I'm also a psychometric assessor. And also, in addition to the work here at Sea, I help people grow and develop.
I find a lot of fulfilment in my work today. Looking back, I think there are two major shifts or critical moments contributing to this. One is my education at Harvard Business School. I took the leadership courses there where we are required to read a lot of cases and the books on leadership, which makes me realise that the people at the core of execution people is at the core for us to deliver better results and a bigger impact.
The second shift in my career or in my life is the birth of my older daughter. During the birth of my older daughter, I start to observe her very closely I observe how she grows. I observe her behaviours. I observe how she develop her likes and dislikes in life. And I'm also thinking about how to educate her better, how to shape her behaviours, and how to motivate her better in life.
I start I started to read very broadly about psychology, about human behaviours, about motivations. Following this I ventured even further to take the programmes and the courses around psychology, coaching and the theory which I I find that following my intellectual curiosity helped me to land where I am here today, which is a very fulfilling career at the leading at the people side of things.
Thank you. I hope this is helpful for the audience today. Back to you, Carma.
Carma Elliot: Thank you, Jessica. And I think that Professor Yan is going to tell us about those moments which helped to define his thoughts about his career.
Professor Yan: Yeah, sure. Yeah. So I actually I ever discussed with my family and friends quite some years ago. We truly observed that there's a clear turning point, actually, for my life that is my shifting from the pure mathematics to artificial intelligence. Yeah. So I'm actually from an age where I started in middle school and high school. I was educated and believed that we may have a brighter future if we learn mathematics, physics and chemistry well.
Well, now, so I selected computational mathematics as my major when I entered university. So the formulas and the metrics are really beautiful. Yeah. But I always thought if these formulas can be used for some real world applications, in a way, I'd be more exciting. Yeah. So at that time.
So Microsoft opened a new lab in Beijing, later is called Microsoft Research Asia. So at a talk from Microsoft Research Asia, I learned that the core formulas of computational mathematics are being used actually for solving problems like the amazing imagery retriever or face recognition and the, more importantly, they were hiring interns. So I applied.
And then my whole life trajectory has been totally changed from a purely mathematical researcher to an artificial intelligence researcher. Yeah. So actually, the underlying factors driving these changes that internally I expect a balance of theory and application. Now, this is quite similar to the so called maybe Taiji or in Inyang theory, a good balance of theory and a big case.
You may put a researcher in the most effective status. Yeah. So the logic for my critical moment is that I originally had my own ideas and dreams in mind, and right at that moment it shows that actually my dream can become reality. Yeah. So my personal opinion is that opportunities or critical moments actually are only for those who are prepared people.
So that's my personal sharing. So back to your Carma.
Carma Elliot: Professor Yan. And Forrest could you share any such moments in your life or career, your education journey with us?
Forrest Li: Sure, sure. Yeah. Thank you. Carma, For me, actually, like I have been asked for, like for this question many, many times. And I've been thinking a lot. I do feel actually it is a hard to pin down a single moment that changed everything in my life. Many moments in my life build on each other. And it became the journey that brought me here today.
So I would say all of my experiences played a part. It's hard to differentiate, which is a more critical and which is a less critical, but I think it is a natural for young people to look for critical moments that make or break a career. But I think the three principles I just spoke about, are more important than any one moment.
So if you hold those principles first, now, everything you do will contribute to a successful outcome. So it will happen naturally. I know a dramatic moment would make for a better story. But looking back, it was not a single moment for me. Rather, it was the gradual connection of many moments that brought me to where I am today.
So it's OK to just let your journey unfold.
Carma Elliot: And that's really interesting Forrest that the three of you took such, you know, look back on your life and the things that were sort of, you know, changed the course for you were either cumulative or there was a specific moment. So I think that's that's important and really to what you've just said, that we don't need to focus on one way of developing our careers.
And in fact, that leads us on to the next question around what the future of work actually looks like. And we've heard and including in the forum discussion so far, we've heard people describing careers now as not being about albums, but about playlists with this generation potentially reinventing themselves multiple times throughout their career. What is your view on this and how can students be equipped for that?
So, Professor Yan over to you first.
Professor Yan: For this question, I have two personal suggestions The first, I think, set a lifelong goal, which is enough for one person to pursue for the whole life is very important So it's not so good. For example, you set a goal for the middle school and the high school and college. Yeah, I think from the early beginning if you can set a lifelong goal, this may be very valuable.
Yeah. Secondary. I think we should prepare ourselves to be explorers. So that means ready to start a new journey any time, but still target the same goal. So this is my belief, but basically this is not avoidable, that we need to reinvent ourselves in certain ways. Yeah, because there are two types of reasons. So one is internal reason and another is external reason.
Yeah. So internal self-satisfaction is a major driving factor for life. Yeah. So mostly after we reach certain goal for the life we may feel OK. Actually, the current job maybe is not so exciting anymore. So means we need to change, for example, the contents of the job or the job role in such a way to ensure that we can still be passionate.
Yeah. So this is one way. One reason and other reasons from external. Is from the technology side. Technological innovation should go through five stages. And finally, reach the very stable stage. And then in this stage, most original work forces, we have to leave the original tech knowledge and move towards a new development cycle.
Now with a different tech knowledge. So means no matter from internally or externally, sometimes we need to passively or actively reinvent ourselves in such a way. Yeah. On from this analysis I feel when we set our lifelong goal, it should be technical, agnostic so means because every tech knowledge has its own cycle and one tech knowledge is impossible to be internally exciting for one person.
So means you should be prepared to change and reinvent ourselves at the right time. Yeah. OK, back to your Carma.
Carma Elliot: Thank you, Professor Yan. And I'd like to turn to Jessica and maybe just also there is a question that has come in through the chat. And if I could ask on the on the question of potentially reinventing ourselves multiple times throughout a career, could you also maybe comment, Jessica, given that your your people role, are there alignments in the, the young people of the different markets that you serve?
Both perhaps in terms of, you know, the careers that they expect, but also what you're seeing with the young people coming on board.
Jessica Shao: Yeah, sure. Thank you. Thank you, Carma. Let me answer the question of the playlist first. Based on my own experience, I think it's very important to follow your intellectual curiosity and also the willingness to try new things to land where you are exploring the job universe. And in addition, I have two inputs for the people exploring the job market in the future.
The first is know yourself really well So usually the best career options will be at the intersection of what we are good at, what we really like, and to what the world needs. While we are uncertain about what the world needs, the job universe is very dynamic. But what we can control is what we like and what we are good at.
So be very crystal clear about these two fronts. I think it's very important for us to explore our future path. And then the second thing is to invest in learning and in building transferable skills, as Forrest mentioned in his speech. The soft skills are very important for the future, which can be transferable across different functions and across different industries.
So for the soft skills side, I have the one thing to add on is that there are three types of soft skills is going to be very important for us. I think that can potentially answer also the questions from the audience that what we observe, the three set of soft skills are very important for today's young people. The first is the thinking skill, the critical thinking and the problems solving.
Although I shifted myself from business strategy to people strategy, but the thinking and the problem solving method has mostly been the same. The second one is the communication skills. It's like today we are having this panel discussion. We are giving public speeches. We are communicating with people in order to influence them. This is really important. We can have all the thinking, the ideas, but in the future, it's still about influencing the people around us.
And then the third type of soft skill is the managerial and the leadership skills. So this becomes even more important when we're exploring our career paths, when we become more senior in our career path. It is the leadership skills in order to for us to play a bigger impact in the role that we have. So I think equipped with these transferable skills, no matter how the job universe shifts over time, the rise and fall of the different job categories and with the technology advancement, I think the students today can be better equipped for the future.
Yeah. I hope it answers the question from the audience.
Carma Elliot: And actually, thank you, Jessica, as you have picked up a question that has come in on the balance between academic success, and soft skills, actually. And maybe we can come back to that later on. I did want to ask Forrest the question about playlists versus albums as well and if you had a comment on that Forrest?
Forrest Li: Sure, sure. Yeah. It's a very interesting question. Actually, at first I wasn't quite sure what this question meant in terms of the albums and the playlist. And but thinking about it, I suppose albums are very artist centred. You may not like every song, but you buy it as a package. But playlists are more listener-centred.
You can pick only the things you like and add it all together. I think it's good to try different things to explore what you really love, find what your passion is in the playlist. You can listen to many songs and to get a sense what you like. And this is important. But I will say that we will find what you are passionate about.
It matters there should come a time when you stop exploring and to try to build it rather than always looking for new things. So go deep into it. This is how you create a meaningful career and a life.
Carma Elliot: Thank you Forrest that some really important thinking there. And I'm sure we'll get some questions, you know, as to how that has helped to shape your individual careers as well. And I have some questions now more in the technology side for Professor Yan, if I may. So, Professor Yan technology drives so much social development, but many people also look at the influence of technology in recent years as possibly being quite negative. Jobs lost to automation, excessive screen time, unsocial social media are often referenced as prime examples of negative impact.
But assuming that you believe that it can be a force for good how do you see technology benefiting everyone versus the negative impacts that are so often reported?
Professor Yan: Yeah, OK. Yeah. I think this question is quite big. Yeah. Technology itself is quite broad as so maybe for me, I mainly answer from the perspective related for example with artificial intelligence. Yeah. So basically I want to share my personal appealing from three different aspects. So first, where are these negative impacts from? Secondary how to determine a technology should be utilised or banned.
Finally, how can these negative impacts, for example, can be eliminated? Yeah. So first, actually, as Forrest just mentioned in this speech, every innovation is a double edged sword. So it means that the negative impacts of technology sometimes is not avoidable. Yeah. So the negative impact of technology may come from how we utilise the technology. For example, the nuclear technology can be used to generate clean energy and then protect the environment of the earth, but can also be utilised, for example, to produce the destructive weapons.
Yeah. So this is one aspect And secondly, that negative impact of the technology may come from the technology limitations. For example, the current smart speaker often cannot understand the intention or the needs of the user sometimes may generate, for example, very funny or very strange answers. Now, this is because the current technology for natural language processing is still not good enough.
Yeah. Finally, I think that the negative impact may come from the fact that as a new thing to the world, it is quite a difficult actually to fully predict all the effects of our technology to the society. Yeah. Thus, sometimes some unexpected situations may appear with the application of a technology. For example, the original target of social media ADPs are to help the users to communicate any time and anywhere. But the consequences that some users fully rely on to virtual social activities and ignore the real physical social connections.
Yeah, this is quite bad. Yeah. So since there is no perfect thing in the world, they have questions about how to determine whether a technology should be banned or used. Actually, we should not immediately ban technology only because some negative impacts for some users or some scenarios appear. Yeah. A more reasonable way for me, I think should be to determine based on the expected long term and then accumulate value to the society.
Yeah. So it's not based on this kind of short term or immediate for example Observation is based on the prediction and the long term and accumulated for example values. Yeah. So, from the long term perspective, then the negative impact of technology may be eliminated or elevated for example based certain solutions. Yeah. So first, I think some negative impacts may naturally disappear along with the natural evolution process.
For example, the question mentioned the job loss issue, right? Yeah. But as it was said, that thought is that to God will actually, we open another door to us. So when the original jobs disappear, mostly some new jobs will come out. All human as a whole need to work, much less than before. So for example 30 years ago, we need work for six and a half days per week now we need to work for five days per week.
But we believe that in future, maybe four days or even less time will be required for each week to work. Yeah. So I suspected that I think also, more importantly, that technology itself is a solution to the issues or the negative impacts caused by the technology. So the impact technologies should become more and more major along with the further development of the technology.
Yeah, So it is predictable along with, for example, the further development of the natural language processing, for example, currently we can see quite a lot of these kind of amazing results from open A.I. based on these kind of so-called larger scale model. We believe actually that capability of the smart speaker will be better and the better, and even more we may have more home robots actually to help us to finish a lot of these kind of house work in the future.
Yeah. And also that unexpected impacts from a technology may be alleviated by another new technology, for example. The unsocial social media issues may be a result of telepresence technology. So means which makes remote social activity more realistic. So excessive screen time is still actually can be possibly alleviated by augmented reality glasses, which ensure we can see through the screen.
And this can protect our eyes and also our necks will not be hurt any more. Yeah. So personally, I'm quite positive and also passionate about the new technology. And if we be if we may be patient, I think the new technology should better our lives. And at the same time, the negative impacts can be eliminated along with the time.
Yeah. So this is my personal opinion. Yeah.
Carma Elliot: Thank you so much, Professor Yan. And that's a very rich seam of conversation, and we're lucky to have you in our community because I think we're going to have to invite you back for a longer session and in fact, working together camps with our students as well to really think through some of what they see as the negatives and positives of technology, particularly in the world of education, where sometimes, you know, we need to have more conversations about technology beyond a particular gadget, but also how we enable different ways of teaching and learning.
And there are those among our teaching community who are working very closely in this area around the.
Professor Yan: Right.
Carma Elliot: We would love, love to have you back to to work with us on these big questions. So thank you so much. And I have another question that was submitted in advance for you Jessica, which is are the top challenges attracting and retaining the new generation, the younger workforce, the Generation Z that we hear about. So all of those born after 1995.
What are the kind of top challenges that you face in attracting both attracting and retaining them in Sea
Jessica Shao: Thank you Carma, so think about looking at the students in the audience today. A lot of people are going to enter the work space potentially in the next ten years. And also in the technology firm, a lot of our employees are slightly younger than the traditional industry potentially in the around 30s or below 30s age range.
So how to work with this younger generation, how is it different from the millennials and also the baby boomers before that is the big topic for a lot of people teams across different companies for all of the companies to address that. And they are going to make a bigger and bigger proportion of the workforce going forward. And also with the slight decline of birthrates around the world, I think the workforce is potentially going to shrink and the companies are even going to fight this kind of work.
So how to understand this younger generation better is a very important topic. They are born after the era that the Internet and the World Wide Web is invented. So they are digital natives. They are very familiar with the social media's potential. They spend a lot of time on social media and screen. Their attention span is potentially slightly shorter.
So how do our managers and leaders engage them? And the traditional levers are not as effective as before. Before that, we are using potentially the package, the compensation, the benefits in the workplace. And then there are a lot of other perks. But while understand this generation, people more like Forrest mentioned, they're pursuing their ideals. They are looking also at not only valuing the company based on their products and services.
So how do we attract and retain them? This becomes a very important topic. What we also find that what is effective is understanding what they value in their lives. Probably there will be less about financial security. They have probably about less about the also, you know, the ideas there are pursue at that point of time. What they value more is the mission and the purpose of the company.
The second thing is they value flexibility a lot, especially this post-pandemic world. And then third thing they value is learning and development. So a lot of companies like us, we are investing a lot on building a very strong vision and culture for our employees, cascading the culture down through the whole organisation. The second thing we're working on is providing potentially more flexibility for our employees.
And then the thing is that we investing a lot on the learning and development of our employees, trying to attract and retain them better so the time of war is coming and for the future of the workplace. And I think it's not only the employers out there on the market competing for the talents, it's also the students here today who's the Generation Z workforce, who's going to enter the workplace and become the leaders of the future.
And I think it's also very important for this group of future leaders, the students here today, to think about how they can help shape the future workplace to be a better place. Yeah. So back to you, Carma.
Carma Elliot: Right. Thank you. We I think we have time possibly for one, if not two more questions. And I'd like to take something from a question submitted in the chat and maybe I could ask you Forrest this question, if I may. And yesterday on our forum, we talked about the benefits of a connection with nature and outdoor education.
And I wondered if you could say a little bit about how, you know, the alignment between, you know, that that connection to nature that perhaps we've lost a little bit more through the through the pandemic and how do you see that? Our mission is for sustainability and for peace and connecting young people across cultures to with that mission in mind.
And I wonder how you see that. How have we lost in the wider sense, that connection to nature? Or actually do you have a lot of hope for, you know, the teaching of sustainability and education and the connections to nature.
Forrest Li: I thnk like technology or digital economy, digitalisation definitely help us to allow us to spend more time outdoor. Just think about with all the smartphone right? And if we want to do anything we want to study, you have to stay in, stay in the room to stay in front of a computer or stay in front of a desk.
Right. And but now is with my phone with my smartphone. I can go anywhere and I can still like enjoying the outdoor or enjoying the nature. At the same time. I still feel well connected and while I'm walking and and walking in nature or running in nature. I still can feel connected right to my work and to the work by my phone.
Yeah. I think like this is a I think this is a one aspect that the other aspect is I think digitalisation largely increased the productivity. Right. And as I mentioned, one example is for e-commerce, they did offer people like a lot of like a small merchant, or small sellers more opportunity to sell things, just not only to their neighbourhoods, but for the national or worldwide market.
This is in general improved their productivity and also like improved their life quality. This will allow them right to spend more time or spend like have a more resources to enjoy into nature through a holiday or summer vacation. Yeah.
Carma Elliot: OK, thank you Forrest I think that's another benefit from digital technology. That it gives us more time to connect back into nature as well. And, you know, putting nature at the forefront and that connection with nature in education. So I think we're now on to the last question and the one that I wanted to ask to you all.
And perhaps just briefly to ask you, perhaps starting with Jessica again, understanding that soft skills will be increasingly important, how important are grades and academic success when you recruit? Should students have more autonomy to choose their own schooling playlist or should there be a schooling album? How much does past experience still contribute to help develop both hard and soft skills in the future?
Jessica Shao: Yeah, thank you, Carmine, for this question. And I think in today's world, as parents, we are all under tremendous pressure how to, you know, educate our kids, how to put them into the best education institute possible, the best schools with the best grades and a lot of exams to go through in life. All of us facing that pressure during growing up as well, where we find that in recruiting talents, some times what's on the CV, what's on the grades, it's on paper, it's fixed and it's past.
Once all these can get done through the first pass threshold, get them foot into the door for the first round of interviews. Then during the interviews, a lot of it is about how they communicate and connect with employers and also a lot of set of values and the soft qualities they're displaying. For example, resilience, self-discipline, commitment, and also the values like the Sea we have the five values.
We take it to heart, we run we commit, we stay humble and we adapt. These values are very important and we are assessing the cultural fit of our candidates to our values. So a lot of these things I think matters more. Is that how you come across as a person? Are you true authentic to your values? As far as the also mentioned, are you true to your future what you want to achieve in life, what you are truly passionate about?
Those come across very well during the conversations with the companies, but the grades, the schools people went to and also the past experience that stays on the CV. Sometimes it actually can backfire on people that we sometimes do come across candidates with a very impressive CV. But in reality, when they show up in person, we got slightly underwhelmed by the candidates on how they presented themselves in front of the future potential future employers.
So I would think still working a lot on the soft skills don't be too nervous and the stress for you. Even if people didn't go to the top schools, people didn't achieve the top grades at school. The life is a marathon. There is still a very long way to go over time. The values and the qualities and the certain characters will shine through in the longer, really long like a career path, and especially when dealing with uncertainties in future.
Carma Elliot: Thank you, Jessica. And in fact, I'm being reminded that we're slightly over time, but I wondered, perhaps I could ask Forrest if you just have a few final words for us picking up on that last question, and particularly that's what Jessica said about life being a marathon and what would be your tips for our younger those joining us here, younger, who are going to enter the world of work in the future?
Do you have a few final words for them?
Forrest Li: Sure. Yeah. And I'm the first to thank you for having us for this great session we really enjoy and I hope like the audience find it informational and interesting and I think like we we touch a lot of the interesting point. I want to echo what Jessica, just a mention.
I think like at the end of the day, life can be can be very, very different, life experience can be very diversified. And I think every student, every young people is very talented and it's very, very unique. The thing is, it's a really, really important trying rather than trying to figure out what is the right answer, what is the right path.
I think the most important thing is to try and trying to figure out who you are and what you are really good at, what you are really passionate at, because career and life is a really, really long journey and only if you do something you really enjoy. Are you really passionate, doesn't matter if its study or if its work, and you don't feel so it's a study of ways to work - you just simply enjoy every day.
So every day we come in the morning, you feel excited about how you spend the day. I think that will carry you for a very long journey. And that is the most important thing.
Carma Elliot: Lovely. And thank you so much, Forrest. It has been such a privilege and a pleasure to be able to speak to you to Professor Yan and to Jessica this afternoon. And we have identified a fair number of areas where we'd like to follow up the conversation as well. And you've given us a lot to think about. And in particular, you know, following your values, what makes you passionate.
And we've had a lot of conversations in our forum so far about purpose and being purposeful as well. And so I'm starting to see how all these things are coming together as well. And when we when we're thinking about the future of work, we've talked a bit about the role of technology, but there's so much more to be to be said as well.
So we'll definitely be following up with you, Professor Yan as well. But thank you. Thank you, Forrest, and for joining us at what is an unsociable hour for you? So we're very, very pleased that you were able to join us. And thank you to all and to those joining us online around the world. Thank you for joining us.
Forrest Li: Thank you. Thank you for having us Carma, bye bye!