The Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) is where Singapore's strategic sectors, growth opportunities, and young talents meet. The result is exceptional – as Lim Boon Leng and Cherie Chow show.
The Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) is based on choice – the scholar can choose where to go from a list of sponsoring organisations. This translates to an early start in personal and professional growth and development, guided by personal preference.
SgIS Scholars Lim Boon Leng and Cherie Chow are taking full advantage of these possibilities at Aztech Technologies Pte Ltd and MOH Holdings Pte Ltd (MOHH) respectively. Boon Leng is an R&D Engineer, designing, developing and managing IoT Android and Web applications and system infrastructures.
In a completely different place and portfolio, Cherie executes costing projects for Singapore's public healthcare institutions which includes analysing healthcare datasets for MOHH.
They tell us why the SgIS was precisely the opportunity they were looking for.
CHERIE: I have always been interested in numbers and naturally Mathematics was my strongest subject in school. This led me to pursue a degree in Statistics which offered me the opportunity to learn about data science and analytics. Data science is crucial for my work at MOHH as it allows me to use software to process and analyse large and complex healthcare data, and value add by garnering valuable insights to make better decisions.
BOON LENG: I first found interest in programming and cyber security back in secondary school, which prompted me to take up a related Diploma and then Degree. It was mainly due to the large interest and unlimited potential in the growth of technology that I had my eyes set on this ever-changing field. It is challenging and makes every small progress very fruitful and enjoyable, motivating me to keep moving ahead.
CHERIE: SgIS provides a platform for scholars to meet and work with different people from various backgrounds and sectors, and at the same time contribute to their respective organisations. I wanted to be able to meet and work with like-minded individuals who have the drive and passion to leave a positive impact on their industries and organisations, which is why I felt that SgIS was a suitable scholarship for me.
BOON LENG: SgIS provides a choice to pick our sponsoring organisation from multiple industries. This allowed me access to a spectrum of job sectors that I never would have imagined working in, and thus was an interesting scholarship to apply to. Having the opportunity to attend the interviews of the different job sectors was very enriching and an eye-opener, as the interview processes were all very ‘specialised' and a great experience. Through this interview process, I was able to assess the career-fit of each company.
CHERIE: Currently, I am an Executive in MOHH's Finance division as part of the Special Projects & Costing team. My job involves developing costing methodologies for various projects in public healthcare and providing insightful financial analysis for business and strategic decision making. To derive meaningful insights from large healthcare data, I tap on statistical software and use data analytics to help in the decision-making process, with quantifiable, data-driven evidence. I believe that my job in MOHH really broadens my perspective about the healthcare sector and at the same time develops my analytic capabilities.
BOON LENG: As a R&D Engineer with Aztech Technologies Pte Ltd, I am involved largely in the development of Mobile (Android) and Web Applications. With Aztech, I am exposed to the latest technological advancements in the IoT industry and undertake design, development, and enhancement of such applications, including system architecture. Aztech has given me the chance to be involved in the entire development lifecycle till production, working as a team to gather requirements, highlight important use cases and concerns, and finally coming up with a good solution that can cater to the projects.
CHERIE: SgIS provides a wide variety of options for aspiring scholars to help them choose an industry that suits them. The scholarship also has a cohesive Scholars' Network where we can engage and network with each other through a variety of activities ranging from bonding sessions, workshops and volunteering events.
There are also opportunities to join the SgIS Scholars' Network Executive Committee (EXCO) where scholars can plan interesting activities as well as listen to concerns and feedback from their fellow scholars. I was part of the SgIS Scholars' Network EXCO from 2018 to 2019 and I found the experience fruitful. One of the most memorable activities planned by the EXCO was an industry forum where we invited leaders from industries like robo-investing and manufacturing for them to share their experience with the scholars. I also made some really good friends through the EXCO and we have maintained a good friendship over the past 2 years.
BOON LENG: SgIS is a rare opportunity that allows applicants to apply to multiple industries. It opens doors for graduates to companies that are keen to groom and develop young talents. It is an exciting experience as you never know if you may end up in a sector that you never could have imagined and end up venturing. There are sectors that you never thought you could put your skills and knowledge into good use.
CHERIE: Vince Lombardi, a famous American football coach, said “It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.” In such a tumultuous period, keep your head up and don't ever give up. You can perhaps take up internships or traineeships during this period to gain job experience, or even attend some courses online to gain a new skill. Do not feel defeated if you encounter rejections for your job applications. Learn from every experience and keep going!
BOON LENG: Study and work are but part and parcels of life, it is important to maintain that aspiration you have that made you study what you are studying and to carry that passion into your next phase of life.
This article was first published in BrightSparks Magazine February 2021. Republished with permission from CareerBuilder Singapore.