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MPA – Maintaining Singapore’s Competitive Edge

mpa_angAng Shao Jie chose the MPA Scholarship, ­knowing his work can seriously impact the ­Singapore economy.

Why did you choose the MPA Scholarship? Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I was first drawn to the maritime industry by its rich heritage and impact on our nation’s economy. It has always been part of Singapore’s history, and currently accounts for about  seven percent of our GDP. However, due to the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the industry, there are always challenges that we face.

I chose the MPA Scholarship, as being part of Maritime Singapore’s dynamic future gives me a sense of purpose, knowing that what we do in MPA is important, and has an impact on Singapore as a whole.

In five years, I hope to be involved in the Tuas Port project, which will consolidate all container port operations in that area. With the first phase of Tuas Port expected to be operational in ten years, I would like to be part of the implementation of this plan. The government has planned for the current container terminals from Tanjong Pagar to Pasir Panjang to be relocated to Tuas and with reclamation, the area will be transformed into the Southern Waterfront City.

How is the MPA Scholarship different from the other scholarships in the market? What fundamental questions did you have in mind to make the decision to choose this scholarship?
I find that it is difficult to compare different scholarships, as each caters to different career paths and demands different skills from scholars. Before applying for scholarships, applicants should first establish their aspirations in terms of field and career path.

Personally, I wanted to study Economics and work in the public sector. I strongly believe that a good public service is the key to a nation’s development. Being a statutory board with an industrial outlook, MPA provides a good platform for me to achieve my aspirations. MPA is not only supportive of our academic pursuits, but is also concerned with our personal development. On top of the usual tuition fee and allowances, MPA sponsored our summer school programmes, conferences and overseas exchanges.

What do you think are the strengths that landed you the scholarship?
I think my greatest strength is perseverance. I was never the smartest student, the most talented athlete or the highest achiever in any arena. It was pure determination and focus that guided my life and let me achieved some successes.

Certainly, there were numerous low points along the way, but on hindsight it was probably these lows that made me a stronger person.

What is job satisfaction to you?

I derive pleasure from seeing a project panning out successfully, as most of our projects tend to have a direct impact on the industry.

Tell us a little about your other interests.
I really enjoy playing different kinds of sports. Working life naturally limits how much physical activity I can indulge in but I try to go for runs during lunchtime or after work. The parks near my office are very scenic and conducive for a good relaxing run. On weekends, I play football and basketball. Often, I end up with bruises after some robust games.

What qualities are essential in a candidate to be chosen for the scholarship?
It is no secret that good grades and a good portfolio are expected for most scholarships. More importantly, I think applicants need to be cognisant of their key strengths and know what their career and academic aspirations are. Finally, confidence always helps!

MPA Overseas Scholarship
Age: 23
Now: Doing BSc (Economics)
at University College London, UK
From: Hwa Chong JC