Interview with David Han - participant from the winning team of FinHACK in 2017
David Han, current Computer Science student at the University of Hong Kong, joined FinHACK in 2017 and won the first prize with his team. After the event he joined Societe Generale for an internship in the IT department in 2017 and will be coming back for an upcoming summer internship in Hong Kong. He shares with us his experience of the hackathon and internship at Societe Generale.
How did you learn about the hackathon?
My girlfriend saw it on Facebook and asked if I would be interested, that's how I learnt about FinHACK.
Why did you decide to participate in FinHACK?
FinTech is a very interesting field to go into, especially in Hong Kong. However a lot of the hackathons in the market tend to be very business case focused, while I saw FinHACK focusing more on technology and innovation. As a computer science student, it caught my attention.
How's your experience in FinHACK last year?
The hackathon was very smooth, everything was well run and nicely digitized, taking place in a comfortable and welcoming environment. What I really appreciated was the help from the mentors, who helped us on the technical issues we faced. The mentors including those from Societe Generale, were very warm and approachable, and also knew the materials very well.
What's the biggest takeaway for you from the hackathon?
As the hackathon focused on technology and innovation, it allowed me to play around, experiment and take risks, without the concern to be too hung up on the business idea. My time spent with mentors from Societe Generale and others who are passionate about fintech really opened my eyes and broadened my skills, learning how to interact with others, how to approach problem solving, etc.
After the hackathon, you joined Societe Generale in winter last year as an intern in IT. What was the internship about?
I was with the web development team in IT in Hong Kong, helping on a project to develop an application to coordinate and track seating arrangements in the office.
How did you get the internship opportunity?
I never envisioned myself working in a bank before the hackathon. The hackathon was really the starting point. After the event my mentor from Societe Generale reached out to me about the opportunity and that's how things began.
How's your internship experience?
I really enjoyed my internship at Societe Generale. The work culture and environment are very open, with a strong collaborative spirit. My mentor had trust in me to experiment with things. I got to learn about new technologies and also showed me how it's like working inside a bank. My internship really opened my pathway to a career in financial technology as opposed to something just technology focused. I realise a career in banking can be also very enjoyable for someone who has no prior finance or business background. Working in banking has its own perks, it can be very nice.
Computer Science student
University of Hong Kong