Drawing Region’s Best and Brightest
Graduate Development Programme candidate from China, Qi Min, shares how she is being groomed from an outstanding student into a budding talent for CapitaLand
Issue: Aug 2011
Qi Min receiving the Lee Kuan Yew Award Gold Medal from President Nathan at her commencement at NTU in July 2011
From day one, 23-year old Qi Min was a star pupil. In her hometown in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province in China, she won an award almost every semester for being one of the top all-rounders in her class from primary school right through to junior high. She was also a 400-metre runner in junior high, clocking the best time in her grade. She continued to be placed in the top class in high school. Then, in university, she won a Full Undergraduate Scholarship offered by Singapore’s Ministry of Education to study in Singapore.
“The scholarship was for an engineering or science course in either Nanyang Technological University (NTU) or National University of Singapore. I chose Environmental Engineering because I’m good at mathematics and physics and am interested in environmental issues and conservation methods. Interest is the best teacher and I believe environmental engineering is a field that has much potential in the future,” said Qi.
Qi Min (second from right) with classmates and professors as a student helper
She went on to do brilliantly at NTU although she admitted she faced a bit of culture shock in the beginning.
“I am not a fussy eater so food was not a problem. Singapore is also quite small so getting around was not an issue. But I did find that the local students study a lot harder than students in China!” she noted. “I only studied when the exams were coming. They studied all the time.”
Despite that, she was the one who was awarded the Meinhardt Book Prize in her first year, an award given to the best student in her chosen discipline. She was also on the Dean’s List two years in a row. To cap off her stellar academic achievements, she was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal for the degree of Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental Engineering). The Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal is the most prestigious award in the University. It is given to the top student in each degree programme of the graduating cohort who has excelled in general proficiency and has obtained a First Class Honours.
“I am so happy and grateful to have been given this award. I look forward to apply all that I have learnt to contribute to CapitaLand,” said Qi.
This was certainly a proud moment for Qi who took the gamble to venture to Singapore despite her parents’ initial reservations.
“They were reluctant to let me go because I had never left them before and I am the only child. But I told them that while I am still young, I wanted to broaden my horizon and learn to be independent. The world outside Nanjing is so big and I wanted to explore it,” said Qi impassionedly. “I chose to study in Singapore because of its modern technology and research into environmental engineering and science such as NEWater.”
Nurturing Fresh Talents
With an eye out for promising, young talents, CapitaLand recruited her and placed her under its Graduate Development Programme (GDP). On her part, what drew her to the organisation was CapitaLand’s well-known commitment to developing its human capital.
“CapitaLand pays a lot of attention and puts in a lot of effort to building people and talents. I believe it can give me various opportunities to learn quickly which was an important factor when I was looking for a job,” said Qi. “I wanted to get involved in different fields of work, such as finance, investment and so on, and to have the chance to work in different countries. I also wanted to gain knowledge from different parts of the organisation and quickly get a general view of the whole organisation. The GDP gives me opportunities in different SBUs and countries thus allowing me to gain knowledge on an accelerating curve.”
Qi Min (second row, fourth from left) with her colleagues at CapitaValue Homes office in Wuhan
She has only been working for six months but, already, the opportunities have opened up in Singapore and abroad. Her first months were spent with CapitaValue Homes’ (CVH) Singapore office in the Investment Asset Management department. The placement was deliberate and designed to allow Qi to understand the business aspect of CVH and to view projects from an investment perspective. Qi is now with the CVH’s Wuhan office in the Projects department and she will be there till October.
“Although I am from China, Wuhan is different from my home in Nanjing and I am learning to understand the local dialect,” said Qi.
But more than job exposure, people development also means imparting soft skills.
“What I have learnt is not only the technical knowledge applied in the workplace, but skills on how to interact with people from different backgrounds, to negotiate with potential vendors and so on. I feel I am like a sponge thrown into the sea. There is so much for me to absorb and digest as long as I have the eagerness to learn,” said Qi.
Fueling Young Aspirations
Another reason why Qi signed on with CapitaLand was because of its work on the green cause. Like many Gen Y employees, Qi was looking for more than just a job or even a promising career. She wanted to be part of something that could make a difference. CapitaLand offered that.
“One of CapitaLand’s Corporate Social Responsibility focus is on Green Buildings and Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHS), which I felt my degree could somehow contribute to,” said Qi.
With her engineering degree, she had dreams of making a change in the environment through green buildings.
”I hope the green concept can be applied into more and more buildings developed by CapitaLand. Besides, the green concept can go beyond development stage to operational stage, so that every staff can contribute to the environment,” said Qi.
Since CapitaLand has committed itself to being a Top Green Real Estate Developer within the next two years, Qi will have plenty of opportunities to realise this ambition.