Singtel is a brand that many in Singapore identify with. Over the years it has built a strong repute in delivering reliable mobile and data connectivity round the clock. This has allowed users to stay engaged and up-to-date at any time and at any place.
But Singtel is more than just a telecommunications company. With a finger on the pulse of technological advancements, Singtel helps to steer Singapore towards its vision as the world’s first Smart Nation. To that end, it has invested in strengthening its digital infrastructure to build new engines of growth. One major stride is its partnership with the Economic Development Board to build enhanced capabilities in cyber security, smart cities and data analytics.
Singtel’s investments today will reap great rewards tomorrow, when digital and info-communication technology (ICT) solutions enhance quality of life and improve business efficiency. Beyond monetary investments are equally heavy investments to nurture its people, through programmes such as the Singtel Undergraduate Scholarship (UGS), SHINE Internship, Management Associate Programme (MAP) and Specialist Management Associate Programme (SMAP).
Two Singtel Undergraduate Scholars, Ser Yang and Hou Liang, talk to us about their experience as Singtel’s scholars. After graduation, Ser Yang joined Singtel as a Management Associate in a Strategy and Planning role in Singtel’s Group Enterprise. Hou Liang is currently an undergraduate pursuing the Bachelor of Computing in Information Systems at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
A Fulfilling Tech Career
Ser Yang admits that he was not completely sure of his field of specialisation when he was younger. However, one thing was for certain: he marveled at the realm of technology and wanted to immerse his hands into it.
The tech enthusiast then matched his aspirations with Singtel and applied for a scholarship with the dynamic company. “Singtel is increasingly investing in their technological capabilities. I knew that being part of a big company like Singtel would provide me with opportunities to grow my career in the field,” he muses.
Today, his role in Group Enterprise requires him to study technological trends and identify how the Group – and Singtel as a whole – can participate in growing technological developments. He also studies the interactions between technological functions in start-ups to understand how they can synergise with Singtel’s business units. “We engage in more in-depth discussion with these start-ups so that we can develop a proof of concept or build a partnership,” he shares.
As for Hou Liang, the undergraduate saw a career in Singtel as an opportunity to enable businesses through IT. “This is why I chose to pursue Information Systems,” he tells us. “Although I was largely interested in IT, I did not want to just become a coder. I want to use IT to effect a change in and improve businesses.”
Singtel Undergraduate Scholar
Strategy and Planning Manager (Management Associate)
In order for Hou Liang to realise his vision, he needs to be well-versed in IT and familiar with business processes. His internship at Singtel’s IT Systems and Services (ITSS) department allowed him to harmonise these two functions.
As part of his project to implement a visual Interactive Voice Response (VIVR) solution, he had the opportunity to observe how customer care officers engage customers over the phone. This allowed him to understand the challenges and pain points faced by customers, and gave him insights in developing a solution to address customers’ needs. The visual IVR experience, as opposed to a traditional speech IVR experience, is a cross-channel customer experience solution that provides a visual interface to customers seeking agent assistance. “My internship allowed me to better understand how Singtel works and interacts with various stakeholders. It was certainly a beneficial experience for a young undergraduate,” he tells us.
Apart from internships, Singtel widens the exposure of scholars in their undergraduate years through networking sessions. These consist of senior-management leaders and other management associates, providing a platform for scholars to understand company developments, the Singtel culture and their career opportunities. According to Ser Yang, this allowed him to gain valuable organizational knowledge. “Through these networking sessions, I had gained a better understanding of my career pathway,” he says.
Singtel also provided Ser Yang with financial support when he completed his overseas exchange programme in Babson College, a top entrepreneurial college in the US. He was also given opportunities to go on business study missions in Tokyo and, more significantly for him, in Argentina and Uruguay. He shares, “Argentina and Uruguay are parts of the world that not many get to be in. It was a privilege to understand their start-up culture, entrepreneurial spirit and challenges. My exposure to different kinds of ideas developed around the world gave me a greater worldview of technological development.”
Singtel Mid-Term Undergraduate Scholar
Bachelor of Computing in Information Systems
National University of Singapore
The Singtel Spirit
Both Ser Yang and Hou Liang are unanimous in their claim that Singtel embodies a nurturing culture. Ser Yang shares, “My colleagues have been supportive of me ever since I entered the organisation. My boss also checks up on me occasionally to find out how I’m doing and what I’ve learnt. I am also constantly presented with new projects to see whether I am up for new challenges. These are testament to the presence of opportunities for those who wish to develop.”
And although Hou Liang has yet to commence work at Singtel, he has already experienced the extent of Singtel’s care for its people. He highlights the awards ceremony which marked the culmination of his internship. Not only was it a get-together for scholars and interns, but also an opportunity for interns to put up a group presentation encompassing their internship learnings. Hou Liang’s group video presentation which featured his visual IVR project was proven to be the most popular among the crowd when the group won first place!
But Hou Liang walked home that day with more than just the top prize. He walked home with a certificate which he claims was “more than just a piece of paper.” He adds, “Our certificates included a photo of us with our supervisor and were carefully placed in leather folders. I appreciated this gift of acknowledgement wholeheartedly – these little things reflect Singtel’s sincerity and truly make a difference.”