MS JOANN Tung’s work requires her to transform building designs into reality.
The 24-year-old, a management executive at CapitaLand, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies with presence in over 110 cities, loves the fact that there is “no typical 24-hour day in my job”.
She says: “Every day brings new problems that require new solutions and actions. We are around whenever and wherever we are required.”
Ms Tung’s current assignment is a residential project in Beijing, where is she is a a part of a 20-member team.
Her duties are varied. One day, she could be at the site, escorting government authorities who have come to inspect the area, and another day, she could find herself at the desk writing a variety of reports.
She adds: “Yet another day, we could find ourselves travelling to all sorts of places to inspect the factories of potential consultants, spending more time on the road than in a building.
“This is a job where stagnancy is taboo. You have to constantly be on the move, absorbing new experiences, working with different people from all walks of life and fitting into different local cultures. I love that I get to travel.”
The special thing about working in CapitaLand, she says, is the shared values that permeate the company regardless of where a project is located.
The commitment to obtain Green Building certification is one such value. The other is corporate social responsibility.
“There are always opportunities for employees to participate actively in community services, donating not just money, but time and effort to charity and improving the society we operate in,” she says.
CapitaLand also has a Graduate Development Programme that rotates its management executives around the company’s wide range of business units in the first year and a half to help them find the best match in terms of aspirations, interests and business needs.
Given Ms Tung’s engineering background, she has been on the Technical Track since joining the company in 2008.
Just two months into the programme, she was assigned to Beijing.
“I always had the company’s support to carry me through any difficulty there. My time in Beijing has been a most amazing experience — both in terms of personal learning and training in my technical field,” she says.
Loving the challenges
Ms Tung graduated from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in the United States, with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 and a Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University in 2008.
It was a chance interview with CapitaLand that led her to discover her passion for the building industry.
“Through the interview, the company was not only looking if I was a fit for them, but whether the company had a fit for me. When they brought up the idea of project management, it suddenly hit me how well the job suited my technical knowledge and sociable personality. It was quite a revelation to have found what I could picture myself doing for the next decade or so,” she says.
Today, maintaining productivity and project progression within a budget, and taking care of work safety on a construction site are part of her day-to-day challenges.
“Project management happens to be one of those jobs where even with a lot of experience, there are still new things to learn and new ways of doing things because each project has its unique set of challenges and difficulties to overcome,” she says. “These challenges provide opportunities for me to upgrade myself every day and I am beginning to see a new me as I grow in this industry.”