From the office to the work site, and even when off-duty, make what you wear work for you. Hear how Nigel Ng, who’s part of our Graduate Development Programme, picks out versatile outfits that are great for different purposes and occasions.
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Tell us more about the CapitaLand project(s) you have worked on, or are working on.
I’m currently in the Asset Value Creation & Management Department of CapitaLand Commercial, focusing on the development of CapitaSpring, an integrated development with Grade A offices, serviced residences, and of course, the renowned Market Street Food Centre.
CapitaSpring will be the newest icon in the Singapore CBD, housing a 4-storey sky garden where tenants can work from or unwind at. CBD dwellers can also look forward to a full suite of integrated solutions and offerings catering to their personalised needs.
Being part of the Development Manager team, I've the opportunity to be involved at every stage, from getting the authorities’ approvals to facilitate site progress, to determining the marketing direction and leasing strategy, to working on the types of technological features and integrated offerings that were going to be incorporated into the building. This alone makes me excited because I'm actively involved in transforming the dreams and ideas we have into reality, which in this case means seeing a tangible 280-metre tall integrated development.
Prior to my deployment at my current role, and as part of the CapitaLand Graduate Development Programme (GDP), I was rotated across a wide spectrum of departments and was fortunate to be involved in other iconic projects. My first attachment was with The Ascott Limited. I was part of the Innovation and Strategic Planning department, where I was involved in the launch of lyf, Ascott’s co-living brand created by millennials for millennials. Being fresh out of Singapore Management University (SMU), I was thrilled to be part of the team responsible for the launch of lyf as it showed the progressiveness of CapitaLand in always being future-ready and willing to adapt to the changing needs of the market.
In another rotation, I was based in Hanoi, Vietnam for six months as part of the Investments team. Working alone in a new country with a different culture and language wasn't easy, but it was there that I learnt about being resourceful and building relationships. Resourcefulness not just in finding work solutions, but also in communicating with the locals via hand gestures (and even picking up a bit of Vietnamese!) Building relationships were crucial as that's how most work gets done in Vietnam.
Learn, unlearn, relearn; being part of the team working on a landmark project like CapitaSpring, meeting international architects like Bjarke Ingels etc., how does that complement the knowledge you've gained in school?
Being a business graduate from SMU, I was barely exposed to the real estate industry. So joining CapitaLand and being involved in a project as iconic as CapitaSpring has really helped me expand my horizons and understand the numerous intricacies that are part of a real estate development. I also get to work with and learn from the best across all industries. From international architects like Bjarke Ingels, to the various experienced professionals within CapitaLand, there’s so much to learn, unlearn and relearn.
I feel that one of the most important things in finding a first job is to place yourself in an environment where you can absorb and learn as much as possible, and I am very fortunate to have colleagues across the various departments who are experts in their fields, yet who are still willing to take the time to educate a fresh graduate like me.
With a real estate developer like CapitaLand, you get opportunities to work on iconic projects and witness actual developments take shape. Describe your typical work day.
One of the exciting things about being involved in a development project is that your typical work day evolves together with the development, and no two days are exactly the same.
When I first joined CapitaLand Commercial as part of my GDP attachment in early 2017, we were largely focused on deal structuring, legal documentation and financial modelling - basically everything required to get the project up and running. Fast forward 1.5 years later, we're now creating a memorable and relatable brand for CapitaSpring, finetuning the design for maximum operational efficiency, and introducing new technologies and concepts into the building.
The ever-changing and evolving work scope for a development project continues to keep me excited as every phase is different, and you get the opportunity to actually create new things and see them through to fruition!
What are your wardrobe essentials that complement the work that you do?
To me, the most important aspect of dressing would have to be comfort. In order to look good, you've got to first feel good.
As I usually have to straddle between meetings at different locations, my typical work day includes quite a bit of walking. So one of the most essential items in my wardrobe would have to be a comfortable pair of dress shoes. My favourite is a pair of dark brown double monk straps, which is versatile and comfortable enough to wear for almost any event, from the typical office setting, to a night out with friends. The shoes were versatile and comfortable enough on the days I had to ride a bike to work during my stint in Vietnam!
How do you plan your outfits so they're suitable for work and play?
I love to wear a wrinkle-free buttoned shirt that continues to look fresh even after a long day, and 'dress' pants that are formal enough for meetings, but still appropriate after work.
Is there a fashion or tech accessory you can’t live without at work?
That would have to be my Ticwatch S. It's a smart watch that allows me to read and reply messages, track my workouts, and even sync with my office calendar so I won’t be late for meetings!
I purchased the watch through a Kickstarter project. Personally, I believe in the enterprising spirit of invention and creating new things from scratch. This is exactly the same affinity I feel with my current role, where I get to see the transformation of the Singapore skyline with the completion of CapitaSpring in 2021!
Any tips for fresh graduates joining CapitaLand and looking to build up their work wardrobes? What classic pieces would you recommend?
Comfort is key in my work wardrobe. You'll want to focus at work and having a comfortable outfit will definitely help. My classic pieces would have to be a simple white shirt with blue or dark grey pants, and I like to complement my outfits with a tinge of vibrancy, usually in the form of colourful socks.
If you could do something outrageous to transform your style or take a fashion risk, what would it be?
Not too long ago, I was actually thinking about how I might look like with an afro! My hair's naturally of a poofy nature, so I feel like I might be able to pull an afro off. Maybe one day when I’m adventurous enough, I might just do it; but you probably wouldn’t be able to recognise me!
Was joining the CapitaLand GDP a risk? Has it paid off and how has CapitaLand helped you to build your dream career?
Most definitely! You'll want to make your career choices count. With hardly any exposure to the real estate industry, i decided to join the CapitaLand GDP given CapitaLand's reputation and the flexibility of the programme which allows me to rotate amongst a wide range of departments within the company.
Now that I’ve just marked my second anniversary with CapitaLand, I’m glad I took this risk, and that I continue taking risks at work everyday. We push the boundaries of what an office should be, piloting new initiatives and coming up with solutions for our commercial developments, shaping the workplace of the future.
Not everyone has the chance to create something that can form an essential part of the lives of other people. With CapitaSpring and CapitaLand, you're most definitely shaping the built environment and improving communities.