Whilst researching for scholarships, it became very apparent to EDB Scholar Laura Tsui that the agency was where she wanted to begin her career. She tells us, “I met some EDB officers during the application process and they impressed upon me that EDB officers are driven and passionate about the work they do, coming up with win-win solutions for companies and Singapore.”
In charge of directing Singapore’s economy, the EDB continually shapes and develops Singapore’s manufacturing landscape for the purpose of generating sustainable economic growth and creating good job opportunities for our nation.
Laura takes some time out of her busy day to tell us more about her own experiences as an EDB Scholar.
Professional development opportunities from the start
In Laura’s case, she spent a summer interning at the Electronics Division in EDB’s headquarters, and another in EDB’s Shanghai office. She recalls, “For my internship at EDB’s headquarters, I was assigned to a research project on advanced packaging technologies in semiconductors. I was tasked to find the area of highest relevance for these technologies within different application domains, such as memory, communications, etc. This was followed by formulating value propositions for Singapore in the identified domains.”
Being assigned such a huge responsibility as an intern may seem intimidating to some, but Laura saw it as a learning opportunity. “This was when I learnt to approach new problems in a systematic manner - in spite of the lack of prior knowledge. I did not have any background in semiconductors or related technologies but my mentors were more than ready to share their knowledge with me. After getting acquainted with the industry, all I had to do next was understand the business models in the domain and identify the differentiating factors for Singapore. It was simply a matter of getting more familiar with the issue at hand, followed by logically approaching the problem. I believe this laid the foundation for being able to cope with uncertainty. This experience gave me the ability to understand different environments in a creative yet structured way, which is a useful skill to have across different industry clusters.”
Laying solid foundations
When it comes to nurturing talents, EDB believes that a successful career begins with proper fundamentals. New hires and returning scholars will join the newly launched Associate Program, a structured one-year learning journey designed to learn the essential skills needed for a career in EDB. Through the Associate Program, new hires will get a breadth of exposure to a variety of industries, develop an appreciation of policy formulation and implementation and experience the EDB culture – be it teambuilding or networking with the senior management.
Currently, Laura is a lead in EDB’s Biomedical Sciences Division. But as part of EDB’s Associate Programme, her work is not limited to her designated industry. She elaborates, “Not only do I handle work from the Biomedical Science Division, I also get to work with industry clusters like Consumer Businesses, Clean Technologies, Lifestyle, and the Resource Development team under the Policy & Planning Group. It is exciting to learn about the plethora of opportunities for Singapore’s economy! The environment is challenging yet supportive, and being an associate gives you the chance to work and learn from various people. Furthermore, being exposed to executives who are at the top of their game really drives me to perform at my best.”
Laura Tsui Man Yang
Biomedical Sciences Division
Although Laura’s career with EDB has only just begun, she looks forward to shaping Singapore’s economy in the many years to come. She tells us, “I remember that my original impression of EDB was that we mainly work with MNCs. But this changed when I was assigned to a team that supported a Singaporean digital health start-up. I realised that it is more than just the size or legacy of the company – it is about industry development and identifying the gaps that exist. Being able to support a home-grown champion in an emerging space was a very proud moment for me.”
As for future EDB scholars, Laura shares a few parting words of wisdom. She advises, “Before you take the plunge into a career with EDB, make sure that you know what you are getting into. Think of what economic development, especially in Singapore’s context, means to you.”
She concludes, “EDB officers need to be sharp and critical thinkers who are able to communicate effectively. Officers have to partake in efforts to develop strategies for industry development, and be able to convey these ideas to different parties so that they can be carried out. You will have the opportunity here in EDB to dream and deliver on that dream.”