Left: Ella Tan Ray Ing is a CAG Overseas Undergraduate Scholar who will head to the University of Oxford to read a Bachelor in History this year.
Right: Joshua Tam Jun Wen, Toshifumi is currently studying for the Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics, National University of Singapore. He is a CAG Local Undergraduate Scholarship recipient.
"One thing I learnt about Changi Airport Group is that they care about who you are as a person, beyond the academic achievements and awards that you might have received,” said Joshua Tam Jun Wen, Toshifumi, Changi Airport Group (CAG) Local Undergraduate Scholar, at the start of his interview with BrightSparks. It was evident that CAG’s warm culture had made a deep impression on him, as he continued to expound on the value of individual achievements throughout the chat.
In an industry that runs on clockwork precision and rigorous codes of practice, CAG does not lose sight of the need to also innovate. For example, as the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore began to rise early this year, the company quickly modified an online form, originally designed for marketing campaigns, to become an online temperature submission system for employees instead. This new system allows its employees to easily submit their temperature daily on-the-go and the company to also generate reports for easy tracking of all submissions.
CAG remains committed to grooming future managers and executives who are forward-thinking to drive innovative solutions that will ensure Changi Airport’s position as one of the best in world never wavers.
Believing in the Individual
Ella Tan Ray Ing, CAG Overseas Undergraduate Scholar, emphatically agreed with her fellow scholar’s point of view. Citing her personal experience, she told us after she applied for the CAG Scholarship, she found out that she was unable to get into the overseas universities she wanted so she had been prepared to study locally.
But CAG believed in her and recognised her aspirations, offering the resources and a gap year to try again. “CAG generously offered me the choice of deferring my enrolment to university and reapplying to other universities abroad in the next cycle,” she narrated. “After much consideration, I decided to take a leap of faith and embarked on a gap year to reapply to more overseas universities with the guidance of the CAG scholarship team.”
“Without CAG’s support in allowing me to explore and discover my potential, I would not have been able to head to Oxford for my undergraduate studies.”
In Joshua’s case, he first experienced CAG’s “Terminal Heartware” during the scholarship interview. He described: “Throughout the different stages of interviews, CAG focused on understanding who I was as a person, who I aspired to be, what experiences I had gone through, and how I overcame setbacks in life. Almost every question they asked sought to know me better, and I believe that was what set the application process for CAG apart from other scholarship application processes.”
He also emphasised that the atmosphere of the interview process was always kept warm and supportive, so that candidates could be themselves and engage in a relaxed conversation. “While waiting for the assessments to start, I recalled conversing with and getting to know the other candidates,” he described.
“I felt very comfortable voicing my opinions within the group, and I believe the others felt the same as well. Moreover, the group discussion topics were unique, which made the discussion lively and fun despite it being part of a selection process.”
Throughout the entire scholarship application process, it is apparent that CAG trusts in its people and their development – even when they have not properly entered the organisation yet.
A Matter of Choice
Joshua, who is reading a Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics at National University of Singapore (NUS), is confident that he will be able to bring valuable insights to the table when he joins CAG. His course taught him how to use statistical and analytical tools to handle and analyse big data, as well as solve business problems, which will help him forecast retail performance in the airport or analyse financial trends.
He is also equipped with a variety of soft skills. “I hope to apply the people skills I have cultivated from the many projects in my modules, as well as leadership skills I have honed through my experiences as a house head for the computing faculty camp and the softball captain in my hall,” he told us.
His contribution will be essential to CAG as he joins the company at a time when the global economy is deeply impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The aviation industry has been not been spared, with steep decline in the demand for air travel. However, Joshua shares his confidence that CAG is well poised to emerge from this stronger than before when the situation recovers.
Ella is also confident that CAG will weather through the crisis. “The aviation industry can be affected by the unexpected ‘black swan’ events that may come our way, such as the recent COVID-19 outbreak,” she explained.
“But I have faith that the company and industry will weather this, as we had in the case of SARS. During my internship, I had a glimpse into the strong culture of excellence at CAG and I believe it is this, and with the capable leadership of our management that CAG will emerge from this crisis, stronger than before and I look forward to the day that I return from my studies to do my part for the company.”
On a personal level, she looks forward to being involved in innovation and strategic planning that will keep CAG’s standard of excellence high.
And while her major in History may not seem directly relevant to CAG’s work, she was quick to clarify that. “Studying history and politics offers you the ability to understand global issues from a multidisciplinary perspective, with a unique understanding of cause and context. It also enables you to create multilayered solutions to complex problems,” she outlined.
In that vein, she is looking forward to work at CAG and play a part in enhancing work processes. “I hope to hone my research and analytical skills to be able to offer different perspectives grounded in an understanding of the international climate. I also hope this will equip me to develop effective, innovative solutions at the airport in order to improve the effectiveness of various airport functions.”
Be bold, be brave
Both scholars have found their place in CAG, where they can expect a fulfilling career in an environment that cherishes them for the excellent individuals they are. Hence, it is no surprise that their closing words of advice for future scholars are about embracing the self and working hard.
“CAG does not look for a particular “type”; they are genuinely interested in understanding what makes you, you,” counselled Ella. “Don’t worry too much about comparing yourself to others - everyone has different personalities and strengths.
“What matters most is to be sincere in your interactions, be open to whatever comes your way, and enjoy the process as much as you can.”
Joshua agreed: “Think of who you want to be, understand how this is aligned with CAG’s corporate goals and mission, and find out how CAG can provide you with the environment and opportunity to get there”.
“Be honest and open throughout the selection process because CAG is more interested to know who you really are than who you think they want you to be.”
Joshua represented Singapore in Softball in the recent 2019 South East Asian Games (SEA Games) held in the Philippines, and brought home the Gold medal for the first time in the nation’s history of participating in SEA Games Softball.