Brandon develops and implements integrated marketing strategies and user journeys to attract foreign investments in his role as Senior Associate, Brand, Marketing and Communications (International Marketing). He is a recipient of the EDB Scholarship and holds a bachelor's degree in Economics and Public Policy from Brown University and a master's degree in Global Management from Antwerp Management School.
There is a famous saying that describes how one can find opportunities amidst a crisis, and that was exactly what the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) did during one of the most challenging periods of the pandemic.
EDB is the government agency responsible for strategies that enhance Singapore’s position as a global centre for business, innovation, and talent. In the process of working with companies and facilitating their investments in the country, vibrant businesses and good job opportunities for Singapore are created. In January 2022, EDB announced that it achieved investment commitments in 2021 that were in line with its medium- to long-term goals, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. When these projects are fully implemented, they will create 17,376 new jobs in the coming years.
EDB’s success is supported by the work of officers such as Brandon Chia. Brandon tells Singapore’s unique story to attract investments from overseas companies in his role as a Senior Associate in the International Marketing team for EDB’s Brand, Marketing and Communications division.
We spoke with Brandon, a recipient of the EDB Scholarship, on his exciting journey so far with his organisation.
To start, what motivated you to pursue a career in public service?
I was attracted to career options that allowed me to be part of a larger mission and purpose. The EDB’s mission of anchoring the world’s best companies in Singapore, to create good jobs and good growth for fellow Singaporeans resonated with me. I wanted to be part of an organisation that was continually pushing the boundaries of what Singaporeans could aspire to be, and to have my work create exciting new opportunities for the next generation.
How did you discover EDB in the first place?
I was introduced to the EDB’s mission by a senior, who shared about the exciting industries and opportunities that the EDB had a key role in anchoring. From building an artificial island through land reclamation to house our chemicals industry, to pioneering the future of space technologies - the EDB has been at the forefront of the new stories of economic opportunity for Singapore.
How did EDB support you while you were studying?
The EDB was generous in supporting my undergraduate and post-graduate studies. More importantly, my scholarship manager encouraged me to pursue a wide range of interests, and I was able to hone my research skills and perspectives through internships in EDB and with private sector organisations.
For example, beyond my economics and policy studies, I was able to take classes in Russian, journalism, data science and history, alongside work attachments at non-profits such as Endeavor Global and YearUp. Through my master’s programme, I also had the opportunity to explore the business ecosystems in Western Europe and China, and work for the waste-to-energy start-up Enwise in Shanghai. These helped me to get more comfortable in working with people from a variety of backgrounds and allowed me to appreciate the challenges and perspectives of business leaders in different cultural contexts, which continues to shape the way I engage partners and business leaders at the EDB.
How was your internship experience?
During my summer internship with EDB, I worked on a range of challenging projects such as developing training recommendations for the professional services sector to digitalise in Singapore, and creating a skills framework for tech talent required by companies in the Bay Area. My supervisors actively created opportunities for me to engage companies on their challenges in these areas, and gave me the autonomy to drive these projects. These helped me to apply the tools and perspectives from my classes to develop insights that would help to advance EDB’s understanding on pressing issues such as digitalisation and digital skills.
You took part in EDB’s Associate Programme upon joining the organisation. Can you tell us more about that?
Prior to my current role, I rotated across three divisions to gain full exposure to EDB’s core work. As an Associate, I had the chance to work with EDB’s Conglomerates, Resource Development and Investment Facilitation divisions, where my supervisors provided great opportunities to engage a variety of companies on their needs and pain points. This helped me to better understand the needs of our customers, and how EDB’s marketing activities and products can help to address challenges faced by businesses in expanding regionally. That set a good grounding for me to appreciate EDB’s work from a rounded perspective and apply the experience and knowledge to my current role in the International Marketing team.
Speaking of which, tell us more about your role with the International Marketing team.
I think of myself as a storyteller for the EDB. At heart, people are storytelling creatures, and stories are probably some of the most powerful things in the world. Where we come from, what we dream of, who we are, what our problems are - at a very basic level, we are just the sum of our stories.
In my case, I’m part of a team that tells stories and develops programmes to inspire the next generation of the world’s leading companies to set up in Singapore, and create good jobs and good growth for Singaporeans. These include stories with leading media publishers such as Wired, TechinAsia and the Wall Street Journal about the future of cell-based seafood in Singapore, the billion-dollar regional digital economy, and how Singapore is the premier launchpad for the next generation of unicorns to get the funding and talent they need to succeed.
How do you feel about working in an organisation that contributes significantly to the economic well-being of Singapore?
It’s a privilege to be able to engage the world’s leading companies to come set up in Singapore, to help create great careers for Singaporeans. This is particularly important in the present circumstances, where the pandemic, inflation and geopolitical conflicts have contributed to a perfect storm that has sustained a high degree of global economic volatility. That said, EDB cannot improve the economic well-being of Singapore on our own; it’s really the work of many different agencies and ministries that come together to help create a great environment for business and career opportunities.
What would you say to convince someone to join EDB?
Join the EDB for a meaningful career where you’ll engage the world’s leading companies to create good jobs and good growth for Singapore.