Create your own value!
That was the key message shared by guest speakers Mr Peter Ho, Co-founder and CEO of Hope Tecknik, and Mr Bernard Siew, Vice President, Process & System Innovation, Changi Airport Group at the MT2001 Saturday Sharing Session held on 2 April 2016.
MT2001, the Experiencing Engineering Leadership module, is a collaboration between the NUS Institute for Engineering Leadership, and the Division of Engineering & Technology Management. In the module, undergraduates are given opportunities to interact with engineer-leaders from diverse fields and at various levels to get different perspectives on what it means to be a leader.
Earlier this semester, students had the opportunity to tap on the vast experience of Mr Tan Gee Paw, Chairman of PUB, as he talked about his very practical experiences starting with walking the “longkangs” or drains of Singapore, dealing with dodgy contractors in the early days of Singapore’s growth, to charting the policy and development of Singapore’s water strategy.
In the session on 2 April, the younger engineer-leaders shared their own experiences; Mr Ho from the perspective of an entrepreneur and Mr Siew from his experiences in national & industry development in statutory boards, to now leading innovation change in Changi Airport.
Although coming from widely different backgrounds and mind-sets, Mr Siew being perhaps more philosophical in his outlook, it was clear that both felt that engineering graduates should not expect the world to hand them a living but that they had to work hard to create their own value or worth. In the words of Mr Siew “Your remuneration is a percentage of the value you create.”
“Your remuneration is a percentage of the value you create.” Mr Bernard Siew, Vice President, Process & System Innovation, Changi Airport Group
Mr Ho was even more direct sharing that often he worked till the wee hours of the morning even now when the company has achieved considerable success. As shared by one of their own interns, currently attending MT2001, at Hope Technik, young engineers are expected to get their hands dirty in basic work before being involved in larger or cutting edge projects. But the opportunities for those with staying power are rewarding.
Both speakers agreed that the biggest challenge to succeed is mind-set – that people tend to be comfortable in set paths and there was considerable inertia to overcome before change can be effected, and innovations created.
It was clear this message resonated with the students from the wrap-up summary of learning points.
- Be able to create value
- Step out the box
- Set your own path
- Be willing to learn and learn continuously.