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Life On The Job: Architecture & Product Development Manager
Chong Tony, an architecture and product development manager tells gradmalaysia.com readers what it's like to be in his shoes!
How did you get started in this career?
‘People build houses with stone, we build homes with love’. That’s the dream of mine when I was a college boy.
I joined IJM Land Berhad in June 2012 after nine years of working with Gamuda Land Berhad and Garis Architects Sdn Bhd. In my early years, I worked in a consultancy firm (Garis Architects) to gain exposure and making sure that I master the major architectural designing skills, communication technique and relevant knowledge. Thereafter I moved on to join Gamuda Land to pursue my career at a higher level.
Can you name a turning point in your career?
I was recommended to represent the company in REHDA Youth (Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association Malaysia) during my second year in IJM Land. I was also nominated as Executive Committee Member of REHDA Youth in the same year. In REHDA, we look for ways to improve the property scene in the country. I met many property developers from all over the country. I was given the honour to organise study tours to several award-winning developments in the country and partake in numerous international property study tours.
I believe that opportunities came knocking on my door because I always commit passionately to excel at all I do, and constantly strive to push the limits and surpass standards of excellence at every opportunity.
Share with us some highlights of your job.
Last year, I was given the honour to lead the design team for the new IJM corporate headquarters; a 30-storey ‘vertical campus’ equipped with cutting-edge building technology and an intelligent building system. It is a hybrid development consisting domestic, workplace, retail and conference facilities in a sloping and compact site.
Royal Mint Garden is another exciting project. It is the first mixed development of IJM Land in London. The most challenging task in this project is constructing a total of three blocks that consist of 12 storeys of domestic buildings on top of three active subways.
Another major highlight was leading the design team for the Horizon Hills project, a prestigious township in Johor Bahru. Horizon Hills is a breath-taking, challenging piece of art within a 1,200-acre freehold township in the heart of Nusajaya which itself is a key flagship zone within the Iskandar Development Region.
What is your advice for graduates?
Planning is very important in paving a successful career path. My secret is the ‘five-year plan.
In the first five years, I worked hard to build a strong foundation by participating in as many jobs as I could to gain various experiences, absorb industrial knowledge and get more opportunities to apply my skills.
In the second five years, I focused on applying the knowledge gained by working in high profile projects with established clients. During the same period, I also took the opportunity to strengthen my managerial skills through courses, seminars and conferences. These are important years to build a business network as well.
I am currently in the third five years of my career path and I hope that I’ll be able to contribute more to my organisation and continue to build my network.