CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship alum Melanie Teo went abroad with her programme and enriched her professional life.
Why did you choose the scholarship?
I chose to take up the CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship because I was extremely intrigued by the aviation sector and felt that I could learn a lot from working in the field. I believed the industry had much to offer in terms of both technical knowledge and transferable career/life skills. Also, the fast-paced and multi-faceted nature of CAAS’ work was exciting to me and I felt it would be a good environment for me to kick-start my career.
Would you advise others to take up a CAAS scholarship?
The CAAS scholarship allowed me to fulfil my childhood interest in building a career in aviation. It provided me with a platform and strong support to be trained academically coupled with hands-on exposure from attachments and internships. It definitely boosted my confidence when I subsequently assumed my first full-time role at CAAS. I find it especially fulfilling to be given the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of Singapore. If you are looking for a career that is dynamic, challenging and fast-paced, CAAS would be a place to consider joining.
What made you decide to choose your course in your university?
Despite being a science student during my days in Junior College, my diverse curriculum allowed me to gain access to many books and articles on governance and policy-making. Through this, I developed a strong academic interest in these topics and decided to pursue a career that involves policy-making. I, therefore, pursued my degree in Political Science.
Have your views/expectations changed once you stepped out into the working world?
The aviation industry has exceeded my expectations. The work is even more interesting than I thought. CAAS has allowed me to gain a diverse range of experiences including opportunities to go behind the scenes, observe ‘live’ airport operations, explore the latest technological capabilities for airside processes, and plan large-scale showcases and networking events for our industry.
How are you enjoying your time at the company?
It has been good! I have learned a lot from my colleagues, supervisors, and industry partners about the aviation industry and how it ticks. Yet, I know this is only the tip of the iceberg and there is so much more than the sector can teach me. I have also met new people throughout the course of my work whom I am glad to call my friends today.
What are the most challenging responsibilities you have and how do you cope with them?
I think the most challenging responsibility is working with different industry partners and maintaining a balance between different stakeholders; varied interests to ensure that collective benefits are achieved for the whole industry.
How have you been able to use what you learned in school for your job?
My studies have enabled me to think critically and respond rapidly to most situations here. I am also able to articulate my thoughts with greater logic and clarity as we were often given opportunities to be involved actively in healthy debates.
These skills are particularly useful during work discussions as they equipped me with the willingness and confidence to stand up and express CAAS’ position, so as to better achieve our intended objectives. It has also been useful in problem-solving, considering the fast-pace and dynamic nature of the aviation sector.
What kinds of career and personal development opportunities does the organization provide its scholars?
CAAS provides its scholars with opportunities to learn about every aspect of the organisation’s operations.
Internal job rotations are available every 2 years for us to gain exposure and understand CAAS’ role in the different areas of work. There are also opportunities to be seconded to other aviation or transport-related organisations to allow us to gain extensive job experiences and a broader perspective. There are always opportunities to participate in or lead events and projects. We can even go beyond the shore of Singapore to learn and exchange experience and best practices with international counterparts.
Did you always intend to have a study abroad experience and what was it like?
Yes. I always intended to study abroad due to the nature of the academic discipline I wanted to pursue my undergraduate studies, i.e. Political Science. I wanted to be able to learn from experts in renowned institutions.
Studying abroad was a great experience. I found it very eye-opening. It exposed me to different educational systems, cultures, people, and I managed to have many enriching life experiences in the process.
CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship
Attained: Masters of Arts in Political Science, Columbia University
Now: Deputy Manager (Aviation Development – Apron & Cargo), Aviation Industry
From: National Junior College