To advance his career, Gardens by the Bay sponsored Mihkaail Ng’s postgraduate studies.
Tell us about your scholarship and your experience in the course.
Gardens by the Bay (GB) offered me a scholarship to pursue the Master of Horticulture at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). The course is specifically designed for horticulture professionals already working in the industry and looking to further their skills. Most learning is carried out in RHS’ dynamic virtual learning environment. It looks at the industry broadly with particular focus on the changing face of horticulture in the modern world. The management of public parks and gardens, including the business aspects, are key components of the course.
While the course has only just begun, the support from the RHS is tremendous. As students come from diverse backgrounds, the school puts in much effort to encourage interaction, and to make participation in discussions and debates lively and inspiring. Lots of resources are available, including access to the world’s largest horticulture library as well as considerable online resources. This is very useful in my research for the assignments. The course is flexible, allowing a student to choose the modules relevant to his field of work or interest.
How have you benefited from the course so far?
The Master of Horticulture course has broadened my perspective on horticulture significantly, giving me insight into the operations of a growing global horticulture industry. The emphasis on people management and organisational efficiency will give me better skills to manage a team and run an organisation. This is especially important given that Gardens by the Bay has grown to become an international attraction that draws visitors from near and far. Besides as we are caring for plants from all over the world, our technical knowledge needs to be expanded.
What are your responsibilities in GB? What are the challenges you face in your work?
I am currently part of the Conservatory Operations team where I work on the floral displays in the Flower Field. The Flower Field is the centrepiece of the Flower Dome and hosts 6-8 changing displays annually, each with a different theme, look and feel. From the initial conceptualisation of the design, to the detailed planning and development of the storyline, to the sourcing of materials, the job is challenging, inspiring and invigorating. Liaising and linking numerous suppliers, contractors and other parties together is a large part of my job. I have to ensure that everything is done at the right time, in the right way, and within tight timelines, so that we present a world-class display to the visiting public.
What do you like about working in GB and what gives you the job satisfaction?
Working in this one-of-a-kind horticultural attraction gives me the opportunity to be involved in operations, design, architecture and planning, events and programming, to name just a few roles. Having a supportive management allows for personal and professional growth. The management has brought together a passionate and motivated team, galvanised in spirit to bring the Gardens to greater heights. Nothing is more rewarding to the staff than seeing visitors delighting in the wonders of nature at the Gardens.
What advice would you like to share with potential scholars interested in your line of work?
You need to be passionate about this industry. With passion, great things can be accomplished and challenges overcome. With a positive attitude, you will also find the work here to be fun and interesting. Join us and be surprised at what the world of horticulture is like.
Mihkaail Anis Ng
Gardens by the Bay Postgraduate Scholarship
Now: Manager (Conservatory Operations)
Attained: Bachelor of Biotechnology from Australian National University; currently pursuing Master of Horticulture from Royal Horticultural Society, UK