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HDB – A Calling To Public Service


HDB welcomes its scholars to take up non-building related courses too, Koh Sin Ee realises.

When I first entered SMU, my ­aspiration then was to become a ­successful ­investment banker. However, the first year of my undergraduate studies altered my beliefs. Through interaction with my peers and seniors, I became aware that job ­satisfaction is derived not from the pursuit of money and material wealth but from making a difference in the lives of people, and there is no better way to do so than to join the Public Service. Hence, I decided to apply for the HDB Scholarship.

My Scholarship Experience
The HDB Scholarship opened up new doors and opportunities for me. With the provision of an annual allowance and a sponsored undergraduate education, I was able to pursue my degree without financial worries. I also had the opportunity to go on an overseas exchange programme at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, USA.

The semester spent at USC was ­immensely enriching and fulfilling. The learning environment was very lively and the students were more than willing to share their thoughts and views. I enjoyed the open discussions in class tremendously and benefitted from the robust exchange of ideas. I also enrolled in a German language class at USC, which was a refreshing change from the usual business courses.

During my stay in Los Angeles, I ­travelled to other cities, such as San ­Francisco, Las Vegas and New York, ­during weekends and term breaks.  Being a ­nature lover, I ­visited many renowned scenic ­places like the Grand Canyon and ­Yellowstone ­National Park with my ­newfound friends. I ­distinctly remember venturing into the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California where I first tried skiing and snowboarding.

HDB’s support of its ­scholars’ ­participation in such ­programmes enabled me to embark on this overseas ­exchange trip.  The experience was certainly an eye-opener, as it pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and broadened my ­horizons.

Internship & Career
The HDB Scholarship also provided me with the ­opportunity to undertake an internship in my ­second year of undergraduate ­studies. I was posted to an HDB branch where I gained exposure to issues at the ground level and interacted directly with the residents. I also took on community ­engagement work, where I learnt more about event ­planning and management.

After graduation, I joined the ­Corporate Planning Section under the ­Corporate ­Development Group (CDG). Within a short span of six months, I was involved in the organisation of key events such as the HDB Senior Management Retreat and the CDG Planning Exercise, which facilitated the charting of HDB’s future directions. I ­discovered that there are numerous details to take note for an event to run smoothly. The ability to handle an event well comes with experience, and I have learnt a great deal from my colleagues.

have learnt a great deal from my colleagues.
I am also involved in the handling of HDB’s responses to Parliamentary questions. The wide scope and complexity of Parliamentary questions require me to understand the various functions of HDB and keep myself up-to-date with current affairs. Despite being a new officer, I was given many opportunities to give presentations during meetings, and this greatly boosted my confidence and further honed my presentation skills.

Come Join The HDB Family!
There seems to be a common misconception that the HDB Scholarship is only meant for engineers and architects. As both a Business major and an HDB scholar, I can ­confidently say that this is not true. HDB warmly welcomes people across various ­disciplines who have the genuine passion and drive to serve the people. I am glad to have made the decision of accepting the HDB Scholarship, and I encourage those of you who share my passion to come and join the HDB family too!

HDB Scholarship
Age: 23
Attained: Bachelor of Business
Management, Lee Kong Chian School
of Business, SMU
Now: Corporate Administrative Manager,
Corporate Development Group, HDB
From: Victoria Junior College