How EMBA Unlocked Competitive Edge and Elevated Our Career Prospects – Suet Huay Loh and Shaohong Liang’s Journey 

In 2007, fate led Suet Huay Loh and Shaohong Liang to cross paths, igniting a journey that would forever change their lives. Back then, Suet was in her final year at the Polytechnic, while Shaohong had just completed a year of National Service. A serendipitous introduction by a mutual friend set the wheels in motion, and an inseparable bond began to take shape.

Their connection only grew stronger with time, and in 2016, they sealed their love in a heartfelt marriage ceremony. But this was only the beginning of their shared adventures. In 2017, they began a new chapter embarking on an 18-month EMBA journey with SP Jain Global. Throughout their EMBA experience, Suet and Shaohong exhibited unwavering dedication and a shared passion for growth and success, making them a dynamic duo who continue to leave their mark on the world.

Today, we have the privilege to delve deeper into Suet and Shaohong’s inspiring EMBA journey and discover the invaluable lessons they gathered along the way. So, let’s find out more about their captivating story over a quick chat.

1) Would you like to tell us about your professional journey so far? 

Suet- Initially, I embarked on my career by working for local developers in customer service positions. However, after a few years, I found myself growing restless and yearning for a change. It was then that I made the bold decision to transition into the marketing and business development fields. 

When the pandemic struck, I decided to take a temporary hiatus from being a full-time employee and seize the opportunity to venture into e-commerce trading in Singapore. With determination and perseverance, I established my own business, navigating the intricacies of the online marketplace.

As the e-commerce business thrived under my team, a new chapter unfolded in my professional journey. I returned to my previous employer, armed with valuable experiences and insights gained from running my own business. I have been offered a regional role, where I will be entrusted with overseeing operations and fostering growth in the Asia Pacific region.

Reflecting on the path I have taken thus far, I am filled with a sense of fulfilment and gratitude. Each decision I made, even in the face of uncertainty, has contributed to my personal and professional growth. I consider myself truly blessed for the opportunities I have encountered, and I look forward to embracing the challenges ahead with open arms.

Shaohong – Professionally, for the first 10 years of my career, I have always been in the fields of biomedical sciences and public health. I had relatively diverse job experiences, from working as a laboratory officer in an animal lab to being a data analyst in a public health research institute and doing public engagement for a public health statutory board.

After graduating from my EMBA in 2019, there was an opportunity to move into the tech space, and I have been doing tech partnerships and engagement ever since.

How did you both decide to pursue an EMBA program at SP Jain Global? 

Shaohong – In 2016, I reached the stage of my career where it started feeling very stagnant. I wanted to break out of my comfort zone, and going to the next stage of my education seemed like the right step forward.

As a Biomedical Sciences graduate, a Master’s in Science did seem like the natural thing to do at first. But after some self-reflection and weighing all my options, I decided that an Executive MBA would benefit me much more – be it for my career or personal development.

Suet – After conducting thorough research and exploring various options, I turned to the internet to discover reputable schools in Singapore offering part-time MBA programs. Given my desire to continue working alongside studies, I focused solely on part-time programs during my search. Among the schools that surfaced in my quest, SP Jain Global caught my attention. Its proximity to my place of residence added to its appeal, prompting me to reach out and inquire about their EMBA program.

To my delight, the recruitment team responded to my inquiry, expressing their willingness to arrange a meeting at the campus. From the moment I set foot on SP Jain Global’s Singapore campus, I was captivated by its remarkable beauty. Moreover, its convenient location made it easily accessible, alleviating any concerns I may have had about commuting.

During the meeting, I had the opportunity to discuss the program’s structure and requirements, among other essential aspects. The schedule presented appeared well-suited to my existing commitments, reinforcing my belief that I could successfully balance work and studies. The recruitment team showcased the utmost professionalism, demonstrating a deep understanding of the program and its benefits. They readily addressed my every question and concern, leaving me impressed and reassured.

The positive experience and the confidence instilled in me by the recruitment team solidified my decision to embark on my EMBA journey with SP Jain Global. It was apparent that the institution had placed a high emphasis on delivering quality education while catering to the needs of working professionals like myself. With their support and guidance, I eagerly anticipated the enriching experiences and knowledge awaiting me as I embarked on this educational endeavour.

Which aspects of the program did you like the most in terms of faculty, course curriculum, projects, and diverse cohort? 

Suet- Among the various courses I undertook during my educational journey, I found myself particularly drawn to those that incorporated simulations. These courses, filled with challenges and excitement, offered a unique and immersive learning experience, leaving a lasting impact on me.

Simulations allowed me to apply theoretical concepts in practical scenarios, mirroring real-world situations. This hands-on approach not only deepened my understanding of the subject matter but also sharpened my problem-solving and decision-making skills. By actively engaging in simulated scenarios, I could explore different strategies, analyse outcomes, and learn from both successes and failures.

One notable benefit of simulations was the positive impact they had on team dynamics and collaboration. Working alongside my peers in these simulated environments fostered a higher level of trust and camaraderie among us. We relied on one another’s strengths, shared insights, and collaborated to achieve common goals. The shared experience of navigating complex challenges together strengthened our skills and fostered a cohesive and supportive team dynamic.

Furthermore, simulations offered a safe space to experiment and take calculated risks. The absence of real-world consequences allowed us to push boundaries, test innovative ideas, and learn from the outcomes without fear of detrimental impacts. This freedom to explore and experiment in a controlled environment was invaluable in fostering creativity and encouraging outside-the-box thinking.

Ultimately, the courses with simulations left an indelible impression on me. They provided a unique blend of challenge and excitement, bridging the gap between theory and practice. Beyond the acquisition of knowledge, these courses cultivated essential skills, nurtured teamwork, and instilled a sense of confidence in tackling complex real-world challenges.

Shaohong – The first thing that stood out about SP Jain Global was its ranking. I admit it was a little superficial, but it led me to find out more about the course. However, after my interaction with the representatives from the school, I realised that this school is much more than its ranking. It has a team of dedicated professional staff who are effective and responsive. They provided me with great administrative support from before I even signed up for the course all the way to my EMBA graduation.

The academic faculty of the program were also highly knowledgeable and knew how to bring out the best in their students. I was very grateful that I did my EMBA with SP Jain Global.

What was the in-class diversity in your EMBA cohort? What industries and experiences did your batch mates come from? How did this in-class diversity help enhance your learning experience?

Suet – Our batch mates encompassed a rich tapestry of diverse backgrounds, each bringing their unique expertise to the table. Among us were classmates who hailed from the finance, technology, and project management sectors, with many boasting extensive industry experience. This amalgamation of seasoned professionals made our collective learning journey truly exceptional.

Interacting and collaborating with individuals who had spent years honing their skills and knowledge in their respective fields proved to be a valuable and enlightening experience for me. Our classroom became a vibrant hub of knowledge exchange, where we leveraged our diverse perspectives to tackle projects together.

Working on group projects allowed us to tap into the vast reservoir of expertise within our cohort. The fusion of finance, technology, and project management backgrounds brought a wealth of insights and innovative approaches to problem-solving. Each team member’s expertise became a valuable resource, and through collaboration, we were able to bridge gaps in our individual knowledge and skill sets.

Engaging in discussions and exchanging ideas with classmates, who possessed deep industry insights allowed me to broaden my understanding beyond my field. I gained valuable insights into finance, technology, and project management that expanded my overall business acumen. This multidisciplinary exposure not only enriched my educational experience but also prepared me for the complexities of the professional world, where cross-functional collaboration is often vital for success.

The learning experience within our diverse cohort went beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Engaging in vibrant discussions, sharing practical examples, and drawing from real-world experiences contributed to a well-rounded education. This collaborative environment fostered a culture of continuous learning, where we embraced the opportunity to expand our knowledge by engaging with peers from different backgrounds.

In conclusion, the diverse backgrounds of our batch mates created a fertile ground for mutual learning. Through project collaborations and lively exchanges, we not only gained a deeper understanding of our respective fields but also developed a broader perspective that transcended our disciplines. Our diverse cohort truly exemplified the power of collective learning and the value of multidisciplinary collaboration.

What has been your experience as a female entrepreneur thus far, Suet? Have you encountered any obstacles or fears when launching your business?

Suet – Becoming an entrepreneur has proven to be one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made. While the journey has been filled with challenges, it has provided me with invaluable opportunities for personal growth and resilience-building, both for myself and my dedicated team.

 The initial stages of launching my venture were rife with fears and obstacles. While conceptualising the idea came naturally, translating it into reality proved as a complex and multifaceted process. During the planning phase, I envisioned a platform that would boast an extensive catalogue of at least a thousand items upon its launch. To bring this vision to life, my team and I dedicated long hours, tirelessly preparing for the execution.

However, as we delved deeper into the implementation process, we encountered unexpected hurdles. Time constraints imposed limitations, and despite our best efforts, we could only launch a fraction of the envisioned catalogue. Furthermore, as the platform went live, we discovered unanticipated bugs and errors within the system. This realisation prompted us to engage in extensive coordination with our web developers, investing several months in resolving these issues.

Throughout this journey, I often encountered situations where my envisioned plans clashed with the technical limitations of the system. It was a humbling experience to realise that certain ideas and functionalities I had in mind were simply not feasible within the existing framework. Collaborating closely with the technical team, I learned to adapt and make necessary adjustments, aligning my aspirations with the capabilities of the system.

Despite facing setbacks and challenges, we persisted and navigated through the intricate landscape of running an e-commerce platform. Each hurdle became an opportunity for growth and learning. We refined our processes, improved communication, and bolstered our problem-solving skills. As a team, we became more adaptable, resourceful, and resilient, transforming setbacks into stepping stones toward success.

Looking back on our entrepreneurial journey, I am filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment. The path we undertook was arduous, but it was also the catalyst for personal and professional development. It taught us the importance of embracing challenges, learning from setbacks, and finding innovative solutions. While we encountered unexpected roadblocks along the way, they ultimately strengthened our resolve and deepened our understanding of what it takes to succeed in the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship.

My advice is, do not procrastinate, start now and enjoy the journey.

In the age of AI and automation, how will skilled analysts with expertise in data analytics and programme planning like you, Shaohong, continue to provide value in risk assessment and operation planning?

Shaohong – Though AI and automation can automate routine tasks and process vast amounts of data quickly, I believe we will still need human intuition and critical thinking skills to make sense of the data and apply it to real-world situations. It will be important to introduce a human perspective that can complement the capabilities of AI and automation, enabling a more accurate and comprehensive assessment.

Skilled analysts can also help organisations make better decisions by providing context and interpretation to the data. They can identify trends and provide recommendations based on their experience and expertise. It helps organisations plan and execute operations more effectively and efficiently.

At least for the near future, I believe that skilled analysts with expertise in data analytics and program planning will continue to be essential in providing human judgment and context, making them valuable contributors to risk assessment and operation planning.

Adding to my previous question – How, according to you, will data analytics and public engagement evolve in the next decade, Shaohong? How can these skills be used to create targeted initiatives for long-lasting behaviour changes?

Shaohong – Both data analytics and public engagement have already evolved significantly in the past decade with the increasing availability of data and new communication technologies and platforms such as social media. I have no doubts they will continue to evolve further with emerging technologies such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR).

I expect data analytics to become more sophisticated and powerful in providing insights and predictions to facilitate decision-making. It creates more targeted and personalised initiatives that can be customised to specific groups or individuals. Whereas for public engagement, it will become more diverse and interactive, enabling more immersive and interactive experiences and increasing engagement and participation in initiatives aimed at behaviour change.

However, to drive long-lasting behaviour change, it is crucial to combine the power of data analytics with effective public engagement strategies. Data analytics can provide insights into individual behaviour patterns, while public engagement can raise awareness and motivate individuals to take consistent action, eventually leading to behaviour change.

What advice would you provide to the working professionals who wish to pursue an EMBA from SP Jain Global?

Suet – For those seeking career progression or considering higher education, I wholeheartedly recommend the EMBA program with SP Jain Global. It has been an incredible and rewarding journey.

In times of uncertainty, having additional knowledge and skills can be invaluable in overcoming obstacles and navigating the challenges we face in our professional lives. EMBA equips you with the tools and insights to thrive in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

If you’re contemplating taking the course alongside your spouse, I highly encourage it. I initially wished to pursue an MBA and convinced my husband to get him on board. Despite coming from a science background and being hesitant about pursuing an MBA for his higher education, he quickly fell in love with the program within three months. He never once regretted the decision, as he also experienced significant personal and professional growth throughout the two-year journey.

Notably, many of our classmates, including my husband and myself, secured new job opportunities shortly after graduating from the program. The EMBA provided a competitive edge, enabling us to explore better career prospects. Some of our peers even decided to migrate out of Singapore, showcasing the program’s global relevance and impact.

The success and progress experienced by our cohort can be largely attributed to the comprehensive nature of the EMBA program, which prepared us to excel in various roles and industries.

Shaohong- One, go into the course with an open mind. No matter how experienced you are, there is always something to learn from your peers. Always be willing to share and listen because there is the essence of EMBA, the environment to be exposed to a diverse group of professionals and fields that can create new sparks in your learning.

Two, be disciplined and follow the 18-month curriculum. I understand that it can be tough juggling between family, work and studies as a working professional. Just don’t give up. It is a well-structured course, and all you need to do is follow the curriculum and complete the course accordingly. Before you know it, GRADUATION DAY IT IS! And finally, have fun and immerse yourself in the whole experience. Make new friends. Speaking from experience, I can dare say that when you look back after your graduation, you will start to miss the times you had during your EMBA journey.

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