Xia Yingyu / Staff Engineer, Products and Platforms
As a Singtel Management Associate, Yingyu had the experience of working in one of Singtel's subsidiaries, NCS — the company behind huge enterprise and government systems. Even the ERP in Singapore is built by them. Hear about her experiences here.
What She Does As Management Associate
Yingyu started her MAP journey at Singtel Mobile as a Radio Engineer, where she was responsible for ensuring the Singtel mobile network is up and running. Every day, she had to generate reports, study them to find out if there are anomalies in the networks, and solve any issues that come up. With a degree in Electrical Engineering along with a specialisation in telecommunications, she was well-equipped to understand the day-to-day operations of the Singtel mobile network and apply the technical skills she had learnt. Planning for the location of base stations and Singtel’s network capacity to support devices are just some of many tasks she had in Singtel.
Her experience in networks sparked her interest in enterprise businesses and in creating products to help these businesses. She then joined NCS (a Singtel subsidiary) in her second rotation as a Product Manager in the Smart City division, managing the end-to-end process of bringing a product from idea to launch. This gave her the opportunity to work on products that help to drive the Singapore Smart Nation initiative. One such example is a surveillance camera that houses video analytics on the camera itself. Instead of a dumb camera, they make it intelligent so that the processing power needed on the back end to process these video analytics is reduced.
Her Work Experience At NCS
To bring a product from idea to launch, Yingyu starts by studying the market to identify a problem. She reads market research papers and attends conferences to understand upcoming trends, as well as interacts with customers to understand their need and wants. With potential product ideas generated, feasibility studies and cost- benefit analyses have to be conducted. For example, studying the maturity of the technology to meet the goal and the size of the addressable market. She will then prepare a business case once she has a solid product idea to get the management buy-in.
After getting the necessary green lights, it’s time to execute the project plan. This involves multiple stages: Design, engineering, pricing, creating marketing materials to educate their sales team about the product, meeting customers, launching it in the market, testing it in the clients’ premise. Working with various stakeholders is also a must for Product Managers like Yingyu. For example, she designs the product storyboard through interviewing subject matter experts to understand the requirements needed. Yingyu also works closely with the engineering team and external companies to define the required features and ensure they can be built within the timeline. She will also have to work with the marketing team to create marketing collaterals. To close the loop, she is able to own the project and gets the opportunity to present the product to the client as well.
Company Culture At Singtel and NCS
Having the ability to see projects through from start to end is a reason why Singtel MAs typically do two rotations in the two-year programme. For Yingyu, every product is almost like her baby. Having designed the product from scratch, then watch it be engineered, launched and used by others – the entire experience is extremely rewarding for her.
Yet, it’s not all rosy – part of the satisfaction comes from overcoming the tougher moments in her job. For example, some product features that she had felt were excellent may turn out to be irrelevant to her customers. This mismatch between what she thinks clients want and what clients actually want is more common than expected. Hence, another challenge would be to tweak and redesign product features so that the product you’re bringing into the market eventually is relevant and useful for clients.
Advice For Job Applicants
For jobseekers who do get into the MAP, Yingyu has a tip on how to thrive here and make the most of the two-year programme: Don’t just stick to your job scope, take the pro-active step to work on things outside your job responsibilities that you are interested in and can learn from.
As a Product Manager, Yingyu does not need to be involved in sales activities or write solution proposals. However, as she supports the sales team, she wanted to know what sales is going through to truly understand the kind of real support they need. Hence, to be a better Product Manager, she interacts with the sales team very often and participate in their activities so she understand their needs and prepare sufficient product materials for them. Another area where she’s gone the extra mile is to pick up technical skills on her own so that she is able to challenge the engineers and brainstorm with them to come up with new technical solutions.
This feature was originally published on TalentTribe Asia, a career discovery platform for jobseekers to get an inside look into different companies and careers. See what the culture, people, office, day-to-day work life is like in Singtel and application tips – even before you apply.