Food industry veteran gets honours degree in business from SUSS

Ms Jean Ang, who is group general manager at Chop Hup Chong Food Industries, at her SUSS graduation ceremony yesterday.
Ms Jean Ang, who is group general manager at Chop Hup Chong Food Industries, at her SUSS graduation ceremony yesterday.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Ms Jean Ang had already found success in the food industry after more than 20 years of work experience.

But Ms Ang, who is in her early 50s, reached new heights yesterday after graduating from the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) with a bachelor's degree with honours in business.

This followed the bachelor's degree she earned from the same university back in 2017 when it was known as SIM University or UniSIM. Ms Ang is one of some 2,000 SUSS graduands to receive bachelor's and higher degrees over five sessions held till tomorrow.

She said she had always wanted to go to university, but the career exposure and opportunities that came her way early in life had been too good to pass up.

She joined Chop Hup Chong Food Industries - known for its "bak kwa" or barbecued meat brand Bee Cheng Hiang - in 1992 as a management trainee, shortly after graduating from Singapore Polytechnic with a diploma in chemical process technology and a major in food science.

Ms Ang was given ample opportunities at the firm, including postings to China, and climbed the career ladder to become group general manager in 2004 - a post she still holds today.

Today, she leads about 1,200 people and oversees 100 or so Bee Cheng Hiang stores in China.

 

"Work was very intensive and I had no time to further my studies at that time," she said.

"Now that I am in middle and top management, there are many more things to learn - management skills and digital skills like understanding websites and using social media to do online sales. All these have helped me communicate with my younger staff."

She added that while the skills are beneficial to her company, lifelong learning is also important in her retirement planning.

"I might move into areas other than business - perhaps a managing role in a volunteer association - so I think equipping myself with the relevant qualifications is a plus."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2019, with the headline 'Food industry veteran gets honours degree in business from SUSS'. Print Edition | Subscribe