THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD (EDB) AIMS TO create sustainable economic growth, with vibrant business and good job opportunities for Singapore. Apart from attracting investments into Singapore, EDB also engages Singapore’s existing base of companies to help them transform their operations and boost productivity, and to generate growth in adjacent and disruptive areas by growing new businesses out of Singapore.
At its core is a team of dynamic individuals who work together to promote investments which are sustainable and have long-term potential. Wu You, 24, one of the Associates going through EDB’s Associate Programme, tells us what it’s like being part of the EDB team.
Why did you decide to pursue a scholarship and career with EDB?
When I was still in school and considering future job options, I knew I wanted it to be something exciting, (something) that will open up a lot of opportunities, and something that will allow for personal development. Having a nurturing environment that will help you think through your choices was also important to me. These qualities were pretty evident in EDB when I was going through the selection process – the amount of energy in the organisation really struck me. It was also an exciting new world because there are many different industries that you can rotate around in, and the career comes with external-facing as well as internalfacing roles allowing for all-round development.
The vision of the organisation also resonated with me – to help enhance Singapore’s position as a global centre for business, innovation, and talent. I was going to pursue an engineering degree, but knew that I didn’t want to do a technical engineering role immediately after. Helping to develop some of the more technical industries through EDB was a meaningful avenue for me to apply my knowledge in a more flexible way.
Bachelor in Engineering Science – Oxford University
Masters in Engineering Science – Oxford University
What were the development opportunities that you enjoyed as an EDB scholar, both academically and otherwise?
EDB organises an annual scholars’ meetup which connects you with other scholars, as well as with the rest of the organisation. It’s a good opportunity to talk to my future colleagues and learn more about the organisation. EDB also strongly encouraged us to take on other opportunities like language lessons and sponsored overseas trips. Knowing I was joining EDB also helped to change my mindset. Having a final landing place after university gave me time to pursue some of my passions during my university years. Instead of taking on different internships, I was able to focus on developing myself in ways that would be relevant to the organisation. It also gave me some leeway to spend the holidays exploring my interests.
Tell us more about the Associate Programme that you are a part of, and how it is helping you to build a more meaningful skillset in different functions.
The Associate Programme comprises five main components. We start off with two months of boot camp where we have trainings, and then three rotational stints. During these stints, we get posted to three divisions of different natures to gain a wide exposure. They’ve also introduced a new component this year where we experience global operations; we get posted out for one week to see what it’s like out in the field.
Could you tell us more about the work environment at EDB? Is there a strong emphasis on collaboration?
Collaboration comes quite naturally here. I think it’s because there is a common goal that we work towards. Sometimes we ask each other existential questions, like why does EDB exist or what the ultimate goal is in trying to increase our fixed asset investment. In that sense everyone keeps in mind the underlying goals, so even if our opinions differ when we discuss certain initiatives, we are very open to listening to what our colleagues have to say and come to the best possible conclusion given all the considerations. It is very high energy here, so things get done pretty fast. People are interested and passionate about what they are doing and they are not afraid to share ideas and help guide younger officers like myself along and ask thought-provoking questions.
Any other words of wisdom for aspiring scholars?
I think the most important thing is just to know yourself and be genuine in portraying yourself. Be confident of your strengths and be cognisant of your weaknesses; there’s no point putting up a front to try and get the scholarship because people will have very different expectations of you when you start your career, so just be honest about who you really are.
Another consideration is that it is very hard to make decisions concerning the next several years of your life, so you should think about what kind of person you are before deciding whether or not to take up any scholarship at all. If you are the kind of person who is determined to follow through on your decisions, and you are willing to try and thrive in any circumstance, and if you believe in what EDB is doing, then it may be a good opportunity to consider taking up the scholarship.