The learning journey: In conversation with our International Trade Programme graduate Aw Hui Sen

Singapore: In February, the ICC Academy signed a five-year partnership with the  Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). The agreement incorporated the educational arm of the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Export/Import Certificate (EIC) as a compulsory component of the university’s International Trade Management Minor programme.

The first cohort achieved a 100% pass rate in the EIC exam. To discuss the success of the students, we took the opportunity to speak with SUSS graduate Aw Hui Sen who scored 98% in the her EIC exam.

Discover her learning journey and career goals in international trade.

Q. How did you develop interest in international trade and the SUSS programme?

While doing my major in supply chain management, I developed a keen interest in sea and air freight management. The interesting subjects within the programme on the academic side and increased emphasis on the global supply chain by companies on the practical front, intrigued me.

To dive deeper, I did my internship with Philips Electronics Singapore, a leading health and technology firm, where I worked within their Freight and Distribution department. With guidance and supervision, I gained on-the-ground knowledge of how to work with stakeholders from countries around the world and understand the scope of international trade – from the development and significance of the global trade system to marketing and purchasing, as well as the movement of goods in the international supply chain and risk management.

Both the academic courses and practical training helped me understand the international trade landscape better and now more than ever, I am determined to pursue a career in global trade.

Q. ICC Academy’s EIC is a compulsory component of SUSS’s International Trade Management programme and you scored 98% in your exam. Tell us how this programme will benefit you, now that you have graduated?

The EIC has certainly deepened my understanding of how to conduct cross-border transactions. Comprising five e-courses – International Trade Overview, Business Transactions and Contracts, Financing and Security Devices, International Logistics and Sourcing and Global Business Management – the programme has helped me grasp the essential skills required to effectively trade and manage an international business – from negotiating contracts to resolving cross-border disputes. The lessons within the e-courses were presented in a concise and interactive manner. The presentation helped me absorb and visualise the overall processes involved in global trade.

As a fresh graduate with no prior work experience, the EIC has equipped me with the basic knowledge, current trends and practices of international trade, as well as provided me with a competitive edge to enter the workforce.

Q. How do you think you will implement your learning into practice?

The topics covered within EIC lessons were comprehensive and can be applied to a wide range of jobs across various industries, even those not directly related to global trade.

For instance, the application of cross-cultural management and communications is critical for all industries in today’s global economy. The importance of documents and contracts is emphasised in industries unrelated to international trade. Hence, regardless of the industry I work in, I am sure the hard and soft skills gained through this programme will help me in my career.

Q. What made the EIC programme unique?

The EIC is well-designed and user-friendly. The ICC Academy’s easy interface and portal navigation, along with the interactive aspect of the e-courses that include video lectures, narrated animations and a searchable and printable glossary containing all the key terms made learning very smooth for me.

Moreover, I loved the perfect balance of content and visuals used within each lesson. The information was not overwhelming and helped me understand and remember things with ease.

To top it all, the programme is offered by the world business organization, the International Chamber of Commerce, which will definitely give me a distinctive edge when I enter the job market.

Q. Which part of the EIC programme was your favourite?

My favourite part was the lesson on Process Maps in Trade Finance. Given that there are numerous trade financing methods, processes differ. As a non-finance student, it is challenging to differentiate between financing methods, especially when these approaches are usually similar, with only small basic differences. The EIC programme helped me have a better understanding and clarity.

I also enjoyed the 15 case studies provided within the programme; I feel this will go a long way in helping me apply the theoretical learning in the real world.

Q. Finally, career aspirations, what and where do you want to be since you have just graduated?

I would like to manage regional or international transactions and work in regional procurement field such as sourcing and contract management and negotiation or even as a Material and Distribution Planner.

Q. A real life grind: If you had been working in the international trade industry today, in the current COVID-19 situation, what would have been your priority areas?

If I were working in the international trade industry and faced with a pandemic situation, my focus would be on two things: survival while the pandemic lasts and making sure the company does not bear any loss.

If my suppliers are in a country experiencing severe disruptions due to the crisis, I would have identified alternative supply sources in countries that are less affected. Although the cost may be relatively higher than the incumbent supplier, the advantage of preventing supply chain disruption far outweighs the additional costs incurred.

A less disrupted flow of goods would give my company the opportunity to recover both the fixed and variation costs incurred and achieve a break even.

For more information, please contact:
Priyanka Satapathy
Communications and Events Manager