It is never too late to follow your passion. Just ask Chew Chian Lin, an MBA graduate.
With a strong passion for creating a sustainable world, Chew made the bold decision to switch careers.
After 12 years in marketing, Chew took a leap of faith to pursue a career in food processing and packaging.
“I decided sometime back that I wanted to go down a different path and get closer to sustainability-related work. Except, I was also looking for a change in industry and country at the same time,” Chew tells Study International.
With that goal in mind, Chew went after her dreams. Nothing was going to stop her from achieving it.
Despite the pandemic, she pursued a Global Executive MBA with INSEAD in Sept 2020.
The rest is history.
“What a journey it has been. Interviews over Zoom, classes in hybrid mode, and against all odds, I managed to travel across campuses,” she shares.
Today, Chew is an INSEAD graduate, working and living her dream in Paris. She landed a job at Tetra Pak, one of the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions companies.
“Sometimes you just need one person to believe in your potential when others place you back into the same box. So here I am, in a new industry, a new city and a new role,” she says.
As a Singaporean, Chew, there was no better place to pursue an education in sustainability than the INSEAD Asia campus.
After all, the Asia campus in Singapore was awarded the Green Mark Platinum award from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
This accolade comes after the universities consistent effort and sustainable approaches towards energy efficiency, water efficiency and waste management.
“The school places growing importance on educating the subject of sustainability by increasing the number of sustainability-related topics for our electives,” Chew says.
Ilian Mihov, dean of INSEAD, also shared the universities efforts in ensuring every student is well-versed on sustainability topics.
“The faculty voted another change in the curriculum where now every single core course has to have a module on sustainability and, the more effective thing in my view is that at the end there is a required capstone course where we put all the management problems — operations, strategy,” he shared in a podcast with BFM.
“So students can use what they have learnt during the year with the perspective of sustainability, the sustainability capstone.”
Moving from OCBC Singapore to Tetra Pak Paris
More than a decade in marketing later, Chew was eager to discover something new.
“I loved marketing and decided to go into the field because of the creativity, but after a good decade, marketing was getting to the point where it was very data-driven and all about the number and analytics,” she says.
Chew decided to quench her thirst for sustainability.
“There were a lot of things happening in the sustainability space that really interested me. I felt that I had many opportunities that were purposeful,” she explains.
Through the programme, she developed an interest in sustainability and met many who shared the same passion.
“Towards the end of the programme, one of my classmates said that there was an opening at Tetra Pak and asked if I was interested in interviewing for it, and that’s how my career in Paris came about.”
Growing up in Singapore, recycling was a rare practice. Through reading and being exposed to the media on climate change, Chew’s passion for sustainability grew.
While moving to a foreign country is difficult, Chew is grateful to INSEAD as she was able to meet and establish a network of people in Paris before moving there.
Making a difference through food processing and packaging as an MBA graduate
With her knowledge of marketing, Chew focused on what businesses can do to drive change — and working at Tetra Pak allowed her to do just that.
Among her many roles, she focuses on raising internal knowledge and awareness around policy and regulation within the company.
“I recently organised an event, COP27, where we got to introduce some of our solutions to solve the challenge of climate change by reducing food loss and waste and finding alternative food sources,” Chew explains.
Thanks to INSEAD Business School’s GEMBA programme, Chew had the knowledge and confidence she needed to kickstart a career in sustainability.
“I would say my journey at INSEAD was extremely transformative. It gave me a safe space to see if sustainability was really something I could pursue,” she says.
Through her classes and report topics, she was able to work with many different companies and discover her passion while gaining real-world experience.
“INSEAD gave me the opportunity to put my hands and feet into this field. It enabled me to open my eyes and be brave to try something that is different,” she notes.