Thomas Tan Khang Loong

Division Leader (Ready-to-Eat Food Department)

What did you do at university?
The work of a UN translator and interpreter inspired me to take up the degree at university. Although it is not related to my work, the interpersonal skills I have learned do help me with my daily tasks. A degree is just a ticket to the retail industry, but those who have a degree in business will find it to be a plus.

Why did you choose a career in your field?
Flexible working hours and the opportunity to work in any department without the necessary qualifications attracted me to join this industry. Prior to joining AEON, I worked as a stringer – a part-time reporter – with The Star before entering university. Next, I joined a translation software development project under MIMOS and UKM as a moderator during my last semester before I took up the full time job with AEON.

What do you do in your job?
Currently, I’m in charge of the food and beverage division with over 90 staff and promoters. The job involves ensuring timely and smooth operation of the departments involved such as sushi, bakery and food court. Apart from that, I have to also ensure that everyone adhere to the company SOPs and the strict HACCP requirements while working in both the kitchen and selling floor. In addition, I’m also required to provide training to my staff, and both local and foreign management trainees.

What do you like most about your job?
The flexible working hours is the greatest freedom I enjoy. Most of the time, I get to choose when to take leave and what time to work. Besides, work is never dull as I get to switch departments or divisions from time to time to learn new things.

What skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
In terms of soft skills, communication is essential between both staff and customers. As I’m dealing with people from all walks of life, the skill helps me to break barriers as well as douse conflicts or dissatisfaction among the parties involved.

As for technical skills, knowledge in loss and hazard prevention is essential as we have many machines in the production area. Both skills were picked up at university, my part-time job as well as from the training given at work.

What are your future plans?
I hope to be a store manager after three years. To move further up the ladder, I plan to take up a Master’s degree in international business and entrepreneurship in the near future.

Some advice
The most important things you must have are passion in retail, enthusiasm to meet people, and the willingness to learn. Interested fresh graduates without experience can join the company through the management trainee programme.