Ms Sung Peir Fen has been with ExxonMobil for six years, and the wide variety of opportunities to work in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams continues to inspire her.
The exposure she gets not only sharpens her analytical and engineering skills, but also develops her communication and leadership skills.
Says Ms Sung: “When I was hired, I recall being told that I was joining the company for a career, and not just for the job.”
Ms Sung joined the company as a project engineer in a team that translated engineering concepts into physical structures.
Since then, she has been part of a team that seeks to optimise plant operations and troubleshoot process issues and last year, she was appointed to her current role as inspection manager leading a team of about 20 engineers, specialists and technicians who inspect and assess plant equipment.
Ms Sung, 33, graduated with a materials engineering degree from Nanyang Technological University in 2003, then obtained a Master of Science in biochemical engineering from the National University of Singapore under the Singapore-MIT Alliance Programme in 2004.
“Engineering is the application of both mathematics and science. I enjoy the structural and analytical processes in tackling problems,” she says.
After completing her post-graduate studies, Ms Sung worked in another company before joining ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil and natural gas company, which operates its largest integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Singapore.
“I opted to join the industry as I was eager to put my training into practice. ExxonMobil has a large manufacturing presence in Singapore and the job suited my interests and background.”
She has not looked back since that day in 2007. She says: “What I really appreciate are the opportunities that ExxonMobil has given me since then. The engineers can specialise in specific areas, or go into the planning or commercial aspects of the business.
“I have been given opportunities to strengthen my foundation as an engineer and now, to lead teams,” says Ms Sung.
Apart from working with her own team members, Ms Sung’s typical day involves consultation and collaboration with various other groups at the plant, such as the operations and maintenance teams, as well as the engineering specialists.
“At the chemical plant, teamwork is essential. The equipment and machines are highly complex and no single person can know everything. Teams are typically multicultural across various experience levels, so communicating well is a key part of my job,” she says.
She has seen great solutions produced by the combination of good teamwork and sound engineering.
“I have seen my colleagues come up with numerous innovative, elegant and yet, simple solutions, despite, on occasion, having to work within tight timelines and limited resources. They were able to do all that based on fundamental engineering and technical know-how,” she says.
“And it is times like these that I am truly awed by how teamwork can produce remarkable solutions.”
Ms Sung is confident that her career will continue to allow her to grow and develop in multiple dimensions and push the boundaries of her potential.
ExxonMobil employs over 3,000 people in Singapore across the integrated manufacturing site with its regional headquarters for the Fuels and Lubricants, Chemical and Refining and Supply businesses, and corporate support services located here.
“The potential for personal and professional growth in ExxonMobil is immense, taking into account every individual’s interests. The company looks at developing careers, instead of simply providing a job,” she says.
“I enjoy learning new things every day, interacting with people from various backgrounds and working in teams. I am also able to see (and often touch) the tangible results of my contributions and hard work. All of that gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.”