How Stellar Ace’s Project Campus Series plans to develop future marketing talent

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By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

December 15, 2021 | 5 min read

In order to acclimatize young talent with the real world out there, it is important for them to understand the rigors of the industry. The Drum finds out how Stellar Ace is working with educational institutions to prepare young talent.

In a bid to develop future talent of the marketing industry in Singapore to cope with the changing creative landscape and technology-driven creativity, the country’s public transport operator SMRT’s media arm Stellar Ace launched its Project Campus Series with Institutes of Higher Learnings (IHL) in October.

It wants to use this series to connect young talents with the local business to build their upcoming integrated marketing campaigns. It believes this will shape their minds with their valuable insights and ideas in developing integrated marketing, creative and media ideas.

One of these IHL is Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), whose four finalist teams from its school of business management presented to a non-profit organization, HomeTeamNS, for a launch campaign of an upcoming project.

Esther Ho, director of school of business management at NYP, explains the school was built on its industry-centric roots, and industry projects form an integral part of its students’ curriculum.

“In this collaboration with Stellar Ace and HomeTeamNS, our students can integrate and apply marketing knowledge and skills they have acquired, on real-world solutions for our industry partners,” she says.

“Such industry collaborations also provide valuable experiential learning experiences and enable our students to hone their creative problem-solving skills to prepare them for a marketing career in diverse industries that require skills in branding, marketing and digital communications.”

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In addition, NYP launched its Professional Competency Model (NYP-PCM) in June 2020 to ensure that the school always moves in tandem with the industry. This teaching model moves away from the usual subject-based approach to a competency-based model that mirrors workplace practices.

These competencies consist of knowledge, skills and attitude, taught in an integrated manner in the context of work tasks, explains Ho. This means the model is agile and allows for timely updates to the curriculum based on industry feedback, ensuring that skills and knowledge will always be kept relevant for NYP’s students.

NYP will also progressively covert all its diplomas to the NYP-PCM mode over the next five years.

“At NYP’s school of business management, we also have the Teaching Enterprise Project (TEP) – a unique pedagogy approach that offers industry projects for final-year students to deepen their knowledge and apply the skills they have learned in class,” says Ho.

“Our on-campus TEP business centers – including the Customer Experience and Analytics Centre (CEAC), Omni Channel Retail Centre (OCRC) and Business Research and Services Centre (BRSC) – provide specific domain-expertise training for different diplomas offered by the school.”

She continues: “Each attachment cycle spans between 12–21 weeks and students are assessed on their technical proficiency and ability to demonstrate soft skills such as collaboration, innovation and critical thinking. With over 150 industry projects to date, the TEP experience broadens our students’ exposure to industry trends and needs. In addition, final-year students also undergo internships, which equip them with work skills, hands-on learning opportunities and on-the-job training.”

On its part, Shabirin Ariffin, head of marketing at Stellar Ace, explains it created the series because while it is attracting talent from within the same industry, tech giants are luring talent by paying out-of-norm market rates.

In addition, he says Stellar Ace is continuously heading into digital capabilities, which have also attracted the new interest of talents who are now dually capable of driving its current and future business.

“We continue to encourage our talents to remain relevant and motivate self-learning improvements with the ability to keep tabs on current trends and directions in our industry space,” he explains.

“We provide an environment of open exchange with the leaders of the team to present new ideas and opportunistic approaches to drive the business ahead with productivity and speed. We also build dedicated training platforms to drive new knowledge opportunities in product or self-enhancements.”

The Stellar Ace marketer predicts content solutions and data analytics are two key areas in which Stellar Ace foresees the future to be in for every marketer, and the company is preparing for that eventuality by building these traits in its people to understand data and how to recommend tweaks to messaging on the fly.

“There are numerous avenues to acquire the above skillsets, free resource or paid courses. Stellar Ace, however, is working toward collaborating with our partners to present to marketers our very own solutions for their ease of understanding our content solutions and data analytics outcomes,” he says.

“The future for our industry lies in the precise problem-solving abilities to reach the desired outcomes.”

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