9 August 2015 was a proud day for Singaporeans. It marked Singapore’s 50th birthday and what better way to commemorate this message than to have a spectacular display 35,000 feet above the ground! As part of Singapore’s National Day Parade celebrations, Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 in special SG50 livery took part in the aerial flypast. Also featured in the Vintage Parade segment were 20 Singapore Girls on trishaws.
From the earliest days, SIA has taken pride in spurring innovation. Speak of SIA’s innovative measures and a seemingly endless list would ensue. These include the introduction of in-flight complimentary drinks and headsets, individual video screens and telephones, cutting-edge gaming and entertainment, Book the Cook service for special meals in First and Business Class – only to name a few.
In line with its commitment to continuous service improvement, the organisation believes in trying things out, making them work and seeing plans through. SIA SINDA Overseas Scholar Ashish Maheshwary shares with us how one can play a role in making guests feel at home while they are in aerial motion.
SIA SINDA Overseas Scholarship
Corporate Sales Manager with Pax Marketing, SIN Sales
GROOMED FOR SUCCESS
Ashish explored various scholarships that offered the opportunity to study overseas and decided on pursuing his passion – aviation. SIA was his top choice for two reasons. He shares, “Firstly, it was a world renowned airline that consistently delivered exceptional levels of customer service. Secondly, it groomed its staff for long and successful careers within the organisation through the encouragement of job rotations.”
At the end of 2013, Ashish was tasked with helping to set up an airline (now called Vistara) as part of a joint venture between SIA and India’s Tata Group. This was an exciting experience for him because not only was he working for a start-up, he was also to be based in India! Together with 11 other colleagues from SIA, he took up the role of planning the launch of Vistara, which entailed route planning, scheduling, aircraft procurement, fuel procurement and general strategic planning. In addition, he was also involved in other projects including the establishment of the airline’s branding, as well as the design of the office and staff recruitment.
An Engineering major, Ashish tells us that he had doubts during the early years of his scholarship. He wondered if it would make sense to take up a degree in engineering, considering he was not planning to become an engineer. However, he had a chat with then-VP of Talent Management in SIA and was told that he was actually a trained botanist! He marvels over SIA’s appreciation and accommodation of diversity, further augmenting his resolve to pursue a career with SIA. While his degree in chemical engineering may not be directly related to his course of work, it did help to develop his analytical abilities tremendously.
To smoothen Ashish’s transition into the workforce, SIA also provided him with the opportunity of doing two internships before starting a full-time role. One internship was with the Singapore Sales department while the other was with the Network Revenue Management department. Both internships involved working on projects that were directly relevant to the departments and this enabled Ashish to understand the nature of work and the culture at SIA.
RELISHING SPECIAL MOMENTS
Ashish’s journey has not always been smooth-sailing. He had to overcome the steep learning curve and understand the industry’s uncertain climate. In his line of work, managing uncertainty can prove to be quite a tricky manoeuvre. He aptly remarks, “How do I go about long-term route planning five and ten years ahead if I can’t even predict with certainty what the fuel price will be next month?”
Fortunately, Ashish has had great bosses thus far. They were able to guide and accelerate his learning process by letting him partake in projects designed to provide him with the necessary exposure.
When asked about some of his more memorable experiences with SIA, Ashish recalls watching the first Vistara flight take off on 9 January 2015. He recounts, “After a roller-coaster year in India, it was immensely gratifying to see it all come together. Just as the Vistara A320 aircraft was pushing back at Delhi Airport, an SIA plane was taxiing right behind it! It was a perfect moment.”
Another special moment for him was in 2013, when he was in Auckland for the negotiation of a joint venture between SIA and Air New Zealand. Not only was it Ashish’s first visit to New Zealand – it was also his first time negotiating a business deal. It was no wonder that he found the entire experience especially exhilarating.
There are plenty of opportunities for employees to be involved in SIA’s latest developments. These include the welcoming of the new A350 aircraft, the testing of its new products prior to launches and participating in events such as the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, SIA Charity Run and SIA Open House. In addition, SIA also provides a training and development plan for new hires, as well as job rotation opportunities which include overseas work postings.
While he highly advocates the benefits of the scholarship, Ashish advises aspiring scholars to find out more about one’s fit in terms of work, company culture and growth opportunities before applying for or accepting scholarships. This is to avoid the likely frustration that comes with not enjoying the industry or nature of work, or worse, working for a company that you are not truly passionate about. Having said that, it can be immensely satisfying to spend time pursuing a role of your interest, after a scholarship has served as a gateway to an organisation you identify with.