Left: Inez Yang is the Area Director, New York, Brand & Communications/Business Development at STB. She is a STB Mid-Term Scholar, and she holds a Bachelor of Business Management from Singapore Management University.
Right: Darren Leow is an Assistant Director, Stan Development. He is an STB Overseas Scholar, and he holds a Bachelor of Economics from University of Chicago.
The Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) mission is clear: to showcase the diverse culture in the nation, and position the country as a prime hub for leisure and business. The organisation helps Singapore gain international recognition on the global stage through an extensive network of partnerships and strategic marketing efforts, all of which consolidate Singapore’s status as a dynamic city with opportunities for capital, business and talent.
To retain Singapore’s global standing in the years to come, STB is keen to groom candidates who are passionate about the tourism sector through its scholarship programme. STB scholars, Inez Yang and Darren Leow speak to us about their scholarship journey and the vibrant opportunities that STB has given them.
What attracted you to STB?
INEZ: When it came to deciding which company I wanted to represent, I knew it had to be one I felt personally for. There are few brands more meaningful and exciting than a country – and one I fiercely call home – so I jumped at the chance to apply to STB.
DARREN: After junior college, I researched the scholarships that were being offered by government agencies. It was through this process that I learned that the tourism industry was a vibrant and dynamic one, and the work in STB would be challenging in both depth and range. I felt that I could aspire to build an interesting and fulfilling career in STB.
Singapore is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. How do you aspire to help the country retain this status?
INEZ: I am currently overseeing STB’s marketing in the Americas, a role where I tap on the US’ vibrancy to embark on innovative means of marketing. Such work in different fields and with varied objectives has trained me to develop targeted marketing solutions while delivering shared goals.
In addition, as travellers ultimately seek experiences which enrich themselves, I strive to continue uncovering and telling the rich stories of Singaporeans, as I believe these stories of grit and passion are what truly set us apart from other destinations.
DARREN: In today’s tourism landscape of evolving consumer needs and constant technological disruptions, Singapore’s tourism industry needs to continuously adapt and innovate to stay ahead. As such, I aspire to enable the industry to scale up on data and technological capabilities. In my work in STB’s Technology Transformation Group (TTG), I lead a team to develop the Singapore Tourism Analytics Network (Stan), a system that stores and analyses the tourism data that STB has. This will empower STB to conduct customised business analyses and ultimately make more data-driven decisions.
How has the scholarship equipped you with the skills and mindsets to achieve these goals?
INEZ: An international perspective is crucial in marketing a destination, and I am grateful STB has supported me as I embarked on a semester exchange programme in Boston.
Having lived and travelled in the US for half a year, I got to understand the perceptions Americans and my friends from all over the world had about Singapore. This helped me to better craft a relevant and convincing narrative, which I continue to draw on in my work today.
DARREN: By allowing me to rotate to a new role every two years or so, I have constantly been able to try new things and learn new skills. For example, I have also just returned from a two-year overseas posting to STB’s regional office in Mumbai, India, where I gained a deep appreciation for the work STB does in marketing Singapore around the world. Working in the India market, I had to learn to understand cultural norms, keep up with in-market trends and developments, be resourceful to achieve win-win outcomes for STB and our partners. It was invaluable to gain overseas working experience in a key source market early in my career.
Ultimately, STB is supportive of the learning and development of its staff, with a suite of foundational courses to build competencies that are relevant to much of the work we do.
On that note, what are further benefits or opportunities that STB scholars can expect should they join you?
INEZ: With our 21 regional offices located internationally, STB scholars in Singapore and overseas have a friendly resource to tap on whichever part of the world they are in. Also, the impact of STB’s work is not limited just to overseas visitors, but we ensure our tourism products and events are ones which Singaporeans benefit from as well. This makes our work especially fulfilling, knowing that we have a part in shaping the experiences which our friends and family enjoy.
DARREN: STB scholars will be part of the Management Associate Programme. This comprises a two-month on-boarding and two five-month rotations in different business units. This connects you with a group of like-minded peers, and gives you a good introduction to the work that STB does.
As the tourism sector is very diverse and STB plays a variety of roles including but not limited to regulator, developer and marketer, there are many opportunities to gain exposure to different kinds of work, and to specialise and build depth in your chosen particular domain.