As the consumption of fossil fuels grows worldwide, the need for alternative energy sources needs to be explored. Jesse Raj Espinoso Pandian rises to the challenge with the Sembcorp Scholarship.
The Sembcorp Scholarship is about developing talented individuals into future leaders who want to use their energy to be a force for good. Sembcorp’s purpose and passion is to do good and create sustainable future.
Why did you choose the scholarship?
I have always been keen to join the energy industry. Keeping abreast of developments all around the world, one thing was clear to me: the demand for energy is growing exponentially. This prompted me to look at organisations whose work has a direct positive impact on the environment and through research, I found that Sembcorp emerged as a leader in the energy industry who is also committed to enable a low-carbon economy. Given the projection of energy growth and how diversified the business is, I felt that this is a place where there will be plenty of opportunities for me to learn and grow my career. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this team.
Would you advise others to take up a scholarship?
Of course! The scholarship helped to alleviate my financial concerns and provided me with a stable opportunity to be part of the organisation upon graduation. All these factors encouraged me to fully entrench myself into learning and to further develop my passion for the renewable energy sector. Having said that, the primary motivation for taking up a scholarship should not be limited to the benefits that it provides. The driving motivation should be your passion for the industry and if you believe in the vision of the company.
What made you decide to choose your course in your university?
I personally believe that Mechanical Engineering is at the heart of most engineering specialisations. This course provided me with exposure to various engineering specialisations while enabling me to develop a versatile technical background.
What do you think set you apart from the rest of the candidates applying for the scholarship?
Having a clear understanding of the industry that you are interested in will certainly help to demonstrate your commitment to the scholarship provider. I shared my views on energy industry trends and vocalised how I saw myself contributing to the company.
Have your views changed once you stepped out into the working world?
Definitely. The stress is more real given that whatever I am doing has a direct impact on the world. In school, we learn about theory and applications, but when you are working, you always encounter situations that are not “ceteris paribus”. In addition, there are plenty of moving parts and different stakeholders and opinions which I need to take into account when making decisions.
How are you enjoying your time at the company?
The challenges of working on projects are thrilling especially when you get to work with different stakeholders. Being exposed to the various phases of a project has also allowed me to have a fuller understanding on product life cycle development before it reaches the end-user.
Furthermore, I am in the solar industry and the excitement surrounding energies of the future is palpable. This is where Sembcorp Solar is continually working to develop new and innovative solutions to help capture more value in the renewables space.
What are the most challenging responsibilities you have and how do you cope with them?
As a project engineer, I am accountable for following up on the process workflows and for decisions to advance the progress of the project. The challenge comes when I need to make a judgment call that could result either in a positive or not-so-positive outcome. To cope with such pressures, it is important for me to seek counsel from colleagues and/or consultants so that they can provide different viewpoints which would, in turn, help me to make an informed decision.
How have you been able to use what you learned in school for your job?
Yes, I have. While the technical knowledge I have acquired in school plays an important role in my day-to-day work, I found that the time management skills that I have gained in school juggling multiple projects is more invaluable.
My advice is to not limit yourselves in school to just completing the academic curriculum. Go out and participate in all the clubs, societies and sports activities that the school has to offer. Enjoy yourselves in these activities and in the meantime, seize upon the opportunity to grow by and managing your time and priorities.
What kinds of career and personal development opportunities does the organisation provide its scholars?
In Sembcorp, scholars are part of this networking group where one can learn from other scholars about the different business units in the company. When it comes to personal development, Sembcorp gives all its employees opportunities to develop themselves adding value to themselves and the company.
Did you use your scholarship to go abroad?
The Sembcorp scholarship gives recipients the opportunity to go for overseas exchange programs. While I did not take this up, I took the opportunity to be attached to Sembcorp’s wind and solar business units in India during my summer break.
Being exposed to a different culture and working styles in India is indeed eye-opening. I was particularly encouraged seeing how cohesively the company operated both locally and overseas.
If you ever have the opportunity to be attached overseas for work, do not miss it out because it is an amazing learning experience that takes you out of your comfort zone.
JESSE RAJ ESPINOSA PANDIAN
Attained: Mechanical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University
Now: Project Engineer, Commercial-Solar
From: Nanyang Polytechnic
Jesse Raj Espinosa Pandian, while studying for a Mechanical Engineering degree at NTU, took up several internship positions at Sembcorp to familiarise himself with the organisation. His internships included stints at Sembcorp’s cogeneration plant in Jurong Island. They even took him to Sembcorp’s country office in India, where he travelled around various states to work at the different wind and solar farms.