Luthfi Bin Fauzi Bafana is currently studying in France as part of French-NUS double degree programme with ENSTA Paris. Upon his return, he'll be pursuing a Master of Science in Engineering at NUS before starting work at MPA. Luthfi is a recipient of the MPA Local Mid-Term Scholarship.
Growing up, we all know that Singapore is one of the busiest ports in the world. This distinction has always been highlighted in textbooks, newspapers and communicated to citizens in various forms, for good reason. A significant part of Singapore’s economic success is dependent on the well-being and connectivity of its ports.
Just recently in 2021, Singapore handled a record 37.5 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit, the measurement used to determine cargo capacity for container ships and terminals). If anything, this validates the importance of Singapore’s ports and the trust that Singapore has with global logistics partners.
Ensuring the continued success and driving Singapore’s port and maritime development is the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). MPA takes on multiple roles such as Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, and International Maritime Centre (IMC) Champion, and National Maritime Representative.
Unsurprisingly, the people at the MPA are made up of passionate individuals such as Luthfi Bin Fauzi Bafana, who are driven to help Singapore retain its status as a premier global hub port and IMC.
Luthfi, an MPA scholar, is currently an undergraduate at ENSTA Paris, majoring in applied mathematics with a minor in mathematical engineering. Upon returning to Singapore, he’ll be pursuing a master’s degree before starting work at MPA.
We caught up with the 25-year-old, who shared with us his academic journey so far and how he is looking to apply his knowledge and expertise at MPA.
Firstly, how did you discover the MPA scholarship, and what made you accept it over the others you were considering?
I learned about the MPA scholarship through BrightSparks. I wanted to join an industry where I could learn and explore as much as possible, and have the chance to solve equally fascinating and challenging problems. The MPA scholarship provides me with many opportunities to grow and develop by supporting my studies in Singapore and in France.
The maritime industry is very vast. Why did you choose to start your career with MPA?
The maritime industry is indeed vast and offers many avenues from which to forge a career. I chose to start my career with MPA as it is an organisation dedicated to developing Singapore’s maritime industry. I was attracted by MPA’s initiatives to boost our ports, increase global connectivity, and transform the maritime industry. MPA’s efforts to invest in innovation and R&D, such as the Living Lab, particularly resonates with me as I firmly believe that we need creative solutions to deal with the challenges of the future. I feel that my background in mathematics and engineering works in tandem with MPA’s vision.
How is MPA supporting your academic pursuit?
MPA, through the MPA Local Mid-Term Scholarship, supports me financially for my studies in NUS and in France. The scholarship also supports my master’s stint when I return to Singapore. My internship with MPA will certainly supplement my academic training greatly as I have always enjoyed learning how to apply what I have learned in the classroom to the industry and vice versa.
We understand that you studied at NUS for two years before heading over to ENSTA Paris to complete the programme. How have you adapted to life over there?
The French tertiary education system is quite unique from Singapore’s. The time I spent at NUS has provided me with good academic fundamentals for my French stint. However, in France, I also take courses which are unrelated to engineering disciplines such as economics, law, culture, and business. These courses can sometimes be a little challenging as they are carried out in French.
To this end, NUS facilitated intensive French language classes and two immersion stints in France, in Rouen and Montpellier, prior to commencing my studies in France. During these two immersion stints, I lived with a host family and had the opportunity to immerse myself in the French culture.
Here, beyond my studies I am part of the English debating association and soccer team for ENSTA. I also engage in citizen engagement activities here in France, tutoring French students from high school to university level in English, mathematics and science.
Sounds like you are enjoying a very fruitful and engaging time over there in Paris. What are you looking forward to the most when you come back to MPA?
I look forward to working with and learning from my colleagues. As an organisation with clear goals and like-minded people working towards the same objectives, this would foster a positive and supportive working culture in which everyone is motivated to realise their potential.
I hope to be able to work in multiple different roles with different responsibilities. This would give me the opportunity to explore my potential, expand my horizon, and apply myself in different areas of the industry.
How do you feel about the prospect of working in an organisation that contributes significantly to Singapore’s maritime sector?
It feels purposeful working for an organisation with distinct objectives with regard to contribution to Singapore. It is one of the main reasons I chose to embark on a career with MPA compared to other career paths in the larger maritime industry. With Singapore’s strategic position in the world and how important a role the maritime industry plays in Singapore’s economy, MPA does important work in reinforcing Singapore’s status as a premier hub in Asia and the world. I look forward to the prospect of being part of this journey.
What would you say to convince someone to join MPA?
MPA provides the opportunity to start a career where one can contribute directly to Singapore’s growth. The maritime sector is one of the most essential industries in Singapore. MPA plays a central role to elevate Singapore’s position in the global stage. MPA also provides one with the opportunity to develop through the wide range of roles it has to offer and does not limit a person by their academic specialisation.