MANY young executives might feel rather sceptical about their career prospects in a niche industry such as cord blood banking. But Ms Janice Ong, 29, had no such reservations.

In 2006, the then 23-year-old diploma holder was working in a sales position for a pharmaceutical company.

But she heard of an opening at Cordlife through a job agency, and felt tempted to move. "It sounded really interesting, so different from what a typical sales job entails," she said.

She eventually joined Cordlife as a client relations executive, a role requiring her to educate expectant parents on the benefits of cord blood banking.

Since then, her career within the company has been on a fast track. Within two years, she was promoted twice, taking on the role of an assistant sales manager and heading a team of three sales executives.

In 2009, Ms Ong, who is married, was offered the position of head of department for sales. This promotion meant she would head a bigger team and play a crucial role in Cordlife's revenue growth, spearhead process improvement projects and assume responsibility for all the firm's product and sales training.

With the support and sponsorship of her company, she also embarked on another career-boosting step by enrolling in a part-time bachelor's degree programme specialising in marketing at the National University of Ireland.

In her work, Ms Ong has also been offered opportunities to explore regional markets and to be part of overseas trips to gain knowledge from various foreign cord blood banks.

"I stayed on with (Cordlife's sales department) for some years, and then I realised that I need to possess cross-function capabilities, to have more than just sales experience," she said.

"But I truly believe in this service, so I wanted more than just a sales job, so I moved on to a marketing role after completing my degree."

In her current role as consumer marketing manager, Ms Ong is in charge of planning and executing marketing initiatives, including consumer outreach events, branding campaigns and social media.

She is also responsible for Cordlife's marketing budget and for controlling client acquisition costs.

She added: "I've just started with the marketing role and I'm still learning the ropes. But maybe after mastering them, I would want to take on more. My journey doesn't stop here."