Singapore Airlines (SIA)
Features | Aviation

Soaring For The Sky

To fly with Singapore Airlines (SIA) is to fly with an assurance of high standards and qualify. SIA Scholar Tan Jierong tells us how he helps make the SIA experience a complete one for flyers.

From the SIA logo to the iconic Singapore girl, the SIA brand is instantly recognisable for its commitment in providing the best for every step of its passengers' journey. Its hospitality and cabin service is widely acknowledged as among the best in the world, and its ground staff support its award-winning cabin crew in continuing to propel the airline into the upper echelons of civil aviation.

Like many young boys, Tan Jierong dreamt of becoming a pilot as a child. Although he ended up majoring in international studies and economics, the E-Commerce Executive at SIA tells us how he is still experiencing the magic of aviation as part of SIA’s ground staff.

The User Experience Of Air Travel

When people think of airlines and aviation, roles like flight crews and maintenance engineers come to mind. But as an E-Commerce Executive in the E-Commerce Department’s Digital Experience team, Jierong manages the customer experience on SIA’s website and mobile apps.

He shares, “We are the overall custodians of the digital experiences of SIA’s customers. I think about what the ideal user experience should be like when it comes to our mobile apps, and collaborate with my colleagues in other departments who will handle the more technical aspects like designing and coding of apps.

"We are the overall custodians of the digital experiences of SIA’s customers."

“Our app development vendor is based out of Dublin, Ireland and we review the designs and new app builds that are completed by them before meeting with our colleagues in other departments like IT, Loyalty and Ground Services to iron out the finer details. We also hold frequent meetings with technology companies to explore new possibilities and potential collaborations.”

According to Jierong, this is important, as recent advancements in consumer technology and devices (such as smartphones and tablets) are beginning to find their way into the user experience of air travel. Jierong enthuses, “I truly believe that there are a lot of exciting ways that we can leverage modern consumer technology to make SIA an even greater and smarter way to fly.”

A Memorable Learning Journey

As a SIA Open Overseas Scholar, Jierong enjoyed full sponsorship of his studies at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) in the US. As an undergraduate there, he had access to many opportunities that enabled him to learn, gain new perspectives and expand his world view.

He recalls, “The absolute highlight of my university life was the time I spent in Japan on exchange, where I participated in a homestay programme and took up an internship. The entire stint took up to about a year, and I got to live in Hokkaido, Kyodo, and of course, Tokyo.

“This opportunity to study in another country – in addition to the US – for an extended period of time was an eye-opening experience and a rare privilege. It allowed me to hone my proficiency in Japanese and gave me the chance to try things like learning how to play the sanshin – an Okinawan folk instrument – and join one of the ubiquitous Japanese college tennis circles.”

For Jierong, this was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience to indulge in the small luxuries and freedoms that only a university student could, and to do so in a foreign land filled with exciting new experiences only made it all the more memorable.

He adds, “The most important skill you learn at college in the US is the ability to think on your feet and defend your views. There’s no such thing as being always right just because you’re the group leader or teaching assistant, and you have to be prepared to argue your stand if necessary.

Tan Jierong
SIA Open Overseas Scholar

E-Commerce Executive

Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) and
Bachelor of Science (Economics),
University of Pennsylvania, US

"When you combine these opportunities with SIA’s nurturing environment and the chance to immerse yourself in a culture dedicated to service excellence, you get one of the best scholarship experiences ever!"

“Having said that, UPenn is also known as the 'social' Ivy League university, and this means that everyone is outgoing and eager to make new friends. You get to watch and eventually learn how to network effectively and eventually expand your social circle across a very diverse international student population!”

A Fulfilling Career

Looking back on his two years with SIA, Jierong feels that that he has had one of the best experiences any fresh graduate could ask for. He explains, “You feel proud telling people you work for SIA, both in and out of Singapore. SIA is also a wonderful place to begin your career. Young executives at SIA are constantly called upon to tackle complex problems and thus gain plenty of industry exposure early on.

“When you combine these opportunities with SIA’s nurturing environment and the chance to immerse yourself in a culture dedicated to service excellence, you get one of the best scholarship experiences ever!”

However, Jierong is not one to encourage aspiring scholars to blindly rush into applying for an SIA scholarship. He recognises that opportunities are only valuable insofar as the passion and interest to fully capitalise on them exists in those who have access to them.

He advises, “Aspiring scholars should think carefully about whether they will be a good fi t at SIA. It’s probably difficult for an 18-year-old to know exactly how they can contribute to a company five years into the future, so they should focus instead on finding out more about SIA’s corporate ethos and culture.

“The aviation industry is a complex and multifaceted one, and if you think you have an interest in taking SIA to new heights and believe in its unwavering commitment to service excellence, this is the scholarship to apply for!” he rounds off decisively.