Grabathon Experience as Intern at Grab

Ilham Syahid S
3 min readMar 2, 2022


Doing an internship during your undergraduate studies is one of the best experiences. Gaining work experience would essentially boost your employability, especially for an engineering position. Thrilled with the program held by Grab Campus Apprenticeship (GCAP) affiliated with Kampus Merdeka posted on LinkedIn, I applied for an Engineering, Product, and Data Analytics position.

I was really fortunate to be asked to participate in Grabathon by my manager, Bayu Yanuargi, and without doubt, I stepped up to the opportunity. This is my first time participating in a hackathon and I had no idea what I was going to do in the beginning but I was not the only one feeling the jitters.

I did not expect the event to be extremely exciting, especially for an intern.

Grabathon is an annual Grab’s version of hackathon that opens for all Grabbers in all regions (how cool is that!). This year’s Grabathon 9.0 was a three-day event. There were 5 themes that we could choose from, in which every theme has its own different purpose, but the main goal of this event is to enhance the Grab Superapp. Our team chose Customer Candy or Engagement, to build solutions that can attract users to our app.

My team members are mostly from the MapOps — ID team, where they are knowledgeable about collecting features in the map. We were so fortunate to have a mentor (Chee Ming) during the entire Grabathon event where he gave us various advice to explore our problem statement and ensured that we included any relevant data.

After some brainstorming sessions, it was time to implement the solution! Only two of us coded the implementation, my partner Iqbal and I. Our improvement mainly revolves around the GrabFood feature, and “hacking” current Grab apps is our first move so that we can know exactly where our solution is. The development process ended about a day before the presentation. Did we work overtime? Well, no. Some parts of our Grabathon’s project have intersected with our main development, so it killed two birds with one stone.

Evaluation day! I believe this was one of the most nerve-wracking days as we had to pitch our solution to the judges. As I was responsible for both the backend and frontend sides, my role was to explain the technical side and the overall system.

Unfortunately, we did not move forward to the next stage which was the final presentation to all Grabbers, but we are truly honored to have been a part of Grabathon 9.0 and grateful that we clinched the runner-up spot out of the 70 teams that joined the challenge, which is very close to being finalists. Since this was our first time joining a hackathon, we did not set high expectations. Again, this is a truly remarkable experience for me, especially since I recently joined Grab about a month ago prior to Grabathon.

From my experience, these are some of the points I’d like to highlight:

  1. Hackathon is not just about implementation. Implementation is key but the idea is worth much more. Remember that our goal is to solve the problem. Our solution came from the point of view of both ourselves and the current customers in our existing feature.
  2. Ideas can derive from anywhere. Everyone can innovate, including interns!
  3. Do research customers’ needs, create a customer-centric strategy and always be hungry in every improvement that you implement.

Cheers to all interns around the world!

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