NTU Career Tracks 2023

From NTU PEAK to Innovation


Chemistry and Biological Chemistry with a Second Major in Food Science and Technology (2022)

Strategic Innovations and Insights Executive, WhatIF Foods  

Please tell us about your role and main responsibilities

I am currently working as a Strategic Innovations and Insights Executive with WhatIF Foods. WhatIF Foods is a planet-positive food and beverage company with a mission to reinvent the food system by going beyond sustainability. My main responsibility is supporting our commercial team to optimise e-commerce and digital marketing strategies to expand into the US market. I am working closely with the team to analyse the environmental and sustainability impact of our value chain. I am also supporting commercialisation strategies with consumer data and critical insights to generate unique selling propositions.

How long did you take to secure a job after graduation?

I started searching for a job at the beginning of my last semester and I managed to secure this job before my final examinations. After two rounds of interviews and a few conversations about my prospective roles within the company, it took the company roughly two months to send me an offer letter. I was able to learn more about the company’s situation and how I might provide value through the engaging discussions I had with my interviewees.

What are some challenges you faced when looking for a job and how did you overcome them?

Even though we always hear that job opportunities in the local food industry are relatively scarce, I was certain that I wanted to work in the field of food innovation.

Most science graduates will take the typical path of going into an R&D role. However, I am more keen to know what the market really needs through analysing consumer insights to make a greater impact. I wanted to pursue a career in alternative proteins but I did not limit myself to just the R&D field. I wanted a role that will allow me to explore deeper in the food industry.

Despite the fact that I lacked a strong foundation in e-commerce and marketing, I picked up skills from on-the-job training and through online courses.

How did you land yourself this position?

Participating in programmes organised by NTU (and beyond NTU) and attending events to meet business leaders from various industries are helpful for us to gain insights into the different challenges faced by organisations and find out how we might be able to contribute and fit in as fresh graduates.

My experience with the NTU PEAK leadership programme gave me an opportunity to work with mentors from WhatIF Foods on a case study project. Through the project, I have learned a lot about the fascinating work that WhatIF Foods has done on our food value chain. The NTU PEAK programme also gave us the opportunity to get to know one another better – learning that my passion aligned with the purpose of the company helped me land the job as well.

Besides NTU PEAK, my involvement with the NTU EDGE program and my internship as a food scientist with Waters Corporation gave me the opportunity to learn about consumer insights on plant-based food and to develop technical expertise in analytical food chemistry. All these experiences have been beneficial and have given me an opportunity to build a stronger foundation in technical understanding and marketing insights.

Please share your tips and advice with fellow students who will be looking for jobs or internships soon

  1. Be open to diverse roles. Do not limit yourselves to a typical pathway that your seniors have taken. Whichever path you choose to take, be it in rocket science or to become the next MasterChef Singapore, do what excites you and work hard towards your purpose!
  2. Our grades in school do not really make a huge difference in making us stand out from our peers. What makes us stand out is our experiences of working on real-world programmes with industry leaders and students from different courses. When you are equipped with real-world problem-solving skills and have actual experiences to prove that you are a team player, you will stand out as a stronger candidate.
  3. Connect with industry leaders from the sector that interests you on platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Read the industry leaders’ posts and conversations to stay updated on the latest industry trends and pain points.
  4. The challenges that we face will help us identify the crucial skills we need to develop to improve our performance and employability. So be prepared for them!

Values are the qualities that give you a sense of purpose and keep your career satisfaction going.

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