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World without boundaries

Changi Airport Group (CAG) overseas scholar Lee Jia Lok, 23, says he is well taken care of by the organisation, which maintains contact with him while he is abroad. He even gets to enjoy visits from its senior management.

Last September, CAG’s and Jewel Changi Airport’s chief executive offi cers looked him up when they were in New York for a work trip.

Over dinner, they asked about his well-being and updated him on the organisation.

To him, this demonstrates CAG’s vested regard towards its scholars.

“Their interest in not only our personal development but also in us as individuals is something all CAG scholars can attest to and truly appreciate,” he says.

A special place

Mr Lee is currently based in the United States, where he is pursuing a Master of Finance in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management on a CAG scholarship.

He recalls that during his secondary school days, he would head to the airport with his friends “just to hang out” after classes.

He says: “I love the ambience there — the air is simultaneously charged with life and fi lled with a refl ective spirit.

“Many remember Changi Airport as an intersection of hellos and goodbyes, with milestones in their lives linked to the airport.

“There is something special about being at the world’s best airport.”

Having developed this strong affi nity for Changi Airport since young, it was natural for Mr Lee to check out the CAG scholarship during his A-level year.

The organisation’s pride in service was another pull factor. With Jewel Changi Airport underway and Terminal 4 due to open this year, CAG holds boundless opportunities for him.

As a scholar, he will gain broadbased exposure to CAG’s various divisions during his internships for a better overview of the airport business and to pick up transferable skills.

The scholarship’s fl exibility was also a boon. He could pursue any course of study except for medicine and dentistry.

Overseas scholars need to serve a bond of only fi ve years instead of the usual six.

Learning across continents

Mr Lee, a former Asean scholar, is used to living away from home.

He pursued his BSc (Honours) in Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science also on a CAG scholarship, where he was the chief executive director of the International Council of Malaysian Scholars and Associates.

Working closely with political figures, ministers and corporate representatives from companies like Ernst & Young and Shell, he led an international team in career and leadership development for youth across six countries.

Mr Lee, who will graduate from MIT in July, says the school has a strong industrial focus and emphasis on the application of knowledge.

As part of MIT’s coursework, he worked with Microsoft to deliver business solutions to improve its subscription services and is currently working with an asset management fi rm in Boston.

“These experiences will equip me with the skills to better contribute to CAG when I return,” he says.

He adds: “My challenge will be to harness my education experience to add value to my day-today work at CAG.

“With that aim in mind, I fi nd myself constantly asking, ‘How can this apply to CAG?’ whenever I learn something new.”

Mr Lee hopes to apply his newfound data mining and data analytics skills to further improve airport operations and investment decisions.

He is also looking forward to contributing to the Changi East Development project with his fi – nancial knowledge and statistical toolkits picked up during his tertiary education.