At Work

Building a dynamic career

Shopping malls are a big part of Terence Teo’s life.

The 27-year-old, a project design, development and management executive with CapitaMalls Asia Limited (CMA), manages the design and development of malls.

CMA, a member of the CapitaLand Group, manages 91 shopping malls across Singapore, China, Malaysia, Japan and India.

Teo’s job involves making sure that mall projects are completed on time and within the budget, and are at an acceptable quality level.

The projects he is involved in are varied, from the asset enhancement of the former Jurong Entertainment, which holds Singapore’s first Olympic-sized ice skating rink, to enhancing existing malls such as Tampines Mall and IMM.

Teo says: “The job is very dynamic. I can be on the site one day to ensure that the site progress is on track and meeting with my consultants to discuss and to resolve issues pertaining to the project development such as authority’s matters, technical issues, and progress of the project on another day.”

Teo, who graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from the National University of Singapore in 2009, could have been an engineer, but he chose to enter a real estate company right after graduation.

“The real estate industry has all along been playing an important role in the national development of a country. The tangibility of this industry is what enticed me to join, as I would be involved in shaping the physical landscape,” he says.

He was drawn to CMA as it was one of the largest listed shopping mall developers, owners and managers in Asia, with its integrated business in retail real estate investment, development, mall operations, asset management and fund management capabilities.

He says: “Through informal interviews with the people from CapitaLand, I got to learn more about the real estate industry, and decided to take a deviation from the career path as an engineer and joined the company as a management executive in the Graduate Development Programme.”

CapitaLand’s strong commitment to “Building People” also assured him that his own progress would be taken care of. The CapitaLand Institute of Management and Business organises learning programmes for staff.

Teo has just completed his certification in Construction and Contract Law with the Building & Construction Authority.

“In CapitaLand, learning never stops,” he says.

The challenges on the job keep him going. He says: “A project manager is one who dons many hats, and requires multifaceted talents to carry out such a role.

“Therefore, I must say that the biggest challenge on my job is to have the ability to multitask – playing the different roles as the leader, the planner, the decision maker, the supervisor, the negotiator, and sometimes even the worker on the front-line.”

For a job like his, he says one should have strong communication skills to meet the many different people during the entire phase of a project, and have very good planning, organisation and management skills, as there is much planning to be done during project executions.

Teo says: “Being an extroverted person, I welcome the fact that, in my job, I am required to meet and work with many people, ranging from investment colleagues, leasing colleagues, consultants from different specialised trades to the contractors.

“There is never a dull moment in my job, and you won’t know what to expect in my project the next day.”

The mall development industry also promises to be an exciting one.

“The retail industry is a very dynamic and fast-changing one. Consumers’ tastes and preferences change very frequently, as no shopper would want the same shopping experience from mall to mall, year to year. Constant innovation and the mentality of embracing change is a must for developers of shopping malls.

“If you look forward to the day-to-day challenges that keep you on your toes, and have this kind of mindset, the real estate industry would probably be a choice for you,” he says. — Singapore Straits Times/Asia News Network

Article extracted from Star Classifieds.