Melissa Sng Rui-Qi is a Senior Manager, Quality Service Experience Department at MINDEF, where she is in the thick of MINDEF's transformation to be a citizen-centric organisation that is building up its service philosophy and digital capabilities for the future. She is a Defence Merit Scholar and holds a Masters of Arts (Honours) in International Relations, University of St Andrews.
Defence Executive Officers (DXOs) are the non-uniformed defence professionals working alongside their military counterparts.
Armed with diverse capabilities from a multitude of disciplines, DXOs are integral in supporting the defence of our nation.
29 year-old Melissa Sng is one such individual. An internship opportunity with the Singapore Army motivated her to join the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) after completing her A Levels. “With my experiences on the ground, I hope to improve policies and processes for the national servicemen and SAF officers I had served alongside.”
Melissa was awarded the Defence Merit Scholarship in 2011. Upon completing her studies, she served her first posting in the National Service Policy Department.
Service for the Nation
“Fresh out of university, I planned a nation-wide campaign that had a high degree of public interest because it was about the implementation of the NS50 Recognition Package!” she recalled with excitement. “As part of my first posting, it put me in good stead to learn the ropes of budget forecasting, events and campaign planning, data analysis, managing audits and tenders, and crafting public communications alongside policy formulation. My work was tangible and reached more than one million national servicemen!”
“My current role in the Quality Service Experience Department is to strengthen MINDEF/SAF as an organisation and deliver better services to all our servicemen and their families,” Melissa described. “The role straddles operations, policy and strategy, and as the main bridge between members of public and MINDEF/SAF departments, we have to consider different viewpoints.
“It is especially exciting to be in the thick of MINDEF's transformation to be a citizen-centric organisation that is building up its service philosophy and digital capabilities for the future.”
Face the Future with Courage
When asked for some advice for her “juniors” graduating into tough times, Melissa was full of encouragement.
“It is truly a tough and unenviable period for graduates of the class of 2020. Many of you will be experiencing setbacks not seen by previous batches, including mine, and all this will make you stronger and more resilient,” she spoke with great faith.
On a practical note, Melissa also suggested picking up internships or personal projects during the downtime. “I found each of my past internships valuable – even though you might not be doing significant, meaty projects due to the short length of the stint, it helps to get a sense of working styles, dynamics and different job roles before entering the workforce proper,” she reflected.
A Career like No Other
Melissa shared that there's definitely something for everyone in MINDEF. “There are different “job families” for candidates to gain experience in. Added to that are a multitude of learning and development programmes, making MINDEF a hive of exposure and opportunity.
“Staff at junior levels are given opportunities to take on high levels of responsibility and be involved in major meetings and international events.”
“MINDEF is a large organisation, and many projects and tasks are the work of several departments, so officers need to have good collaboration and critical thinking skills. While it is true that we have a hierarchical culture, this has not been a drawback as my bosses have always been extremely open to the views and ideas that we have.”
“The national security, military and conscription context lends itself to unique imperatives and considerations within our work at MINDEF, which cannot be found anywhere else,” Melissa concluded.