Melvin Tan

Assistant Vice President, Investment and Business Development
Moving The World

Melvin graduated with a degree in Accountancy (Honours) from Nanyang Technological University, joined a large accounting firm in year 2010, joined PSA as an Operations Executive in 2013, transited from Assistant Manager in Operations to a managerial role in HR (Workforce Strategy) in 2015, took on a Business Develop portfolio as a Senior Manager, 2019 and promoted to Assistant Vice President (Investment and Business Development) in 2021.

Although things can get challenging, the satisfaction is indescribable when we align strategic intents and co-create mutually beneficial opportunities. In the business development space, 1+1 is always greater than 2!

How did you get into your current line of work?

After two years at an accounting firm as a young graduate, I wanted to further expand my horizons and challenge myself by exploring other facets of our highly complex world. So, I took a leap of faith and chartered my route out of the stable path of an auditor into a different domain to gain new experiences. This drew me to an operations role at PSA, which gave me space to branch out to different career paths. Furthermore, PSA is well-regarded as a global leader in the maritime industry, so I was eager to start my journey and advance from there. I was at the right place and the right time. PSA was going through a phase of transformation and growth, moving towards automation and digitalisation and expanding our scope of business, opening up new roles and the need for cross domain sharing and integration. While in operations, I was offered a rotation to HR to drive workforce planning and transformation. To further deepen my business acumen, I subsequently took on a role in Business Development where I oversee investment opportunities in the Southeast Asia region.

The industry then and now:

The world is constantly evolving, but the pace and magnitude of change in the last decade has been unprecedented. Shipping lines are both merging and demerging; business sustainability and environmental awareness have shifted from being “good to have” into “must-have”; supply chain setups have evolved with influence from COVID and geo-political factors and will continue to do so. As a company or an individual, agility and adaptability are critical. This is apparent in PSA where things are constantly dynamic, with new functions being set up to drive new technologies and new jobs being created. We place emphasis on creating a purpose-driven and open mindset to prepare our staff for these new roles.

What I enjoy most about my job

The positive and impactful outcomes my role brings to the business is what keeps me going. Engaging with diverse groups of stakeholders across industries, cultures, and perspectives is not easy, and its complexity can only be felt when doing it yourself. Although things can get challenging, the satisfaction is indescribable when we align strategic intents and co-create mutually beneficial opportunities. In the business development space, 1+1 is always greater than 2!

Essential skills:

I would say the two most essential skills would be communication and critical thinking. These skills are relevant in most roles today, enabling effective solutioning and articulation of ideas. Other than receiving feedback from colleagues and mentors, these come with with putting ideas into practice and conscious e ort throughout my everyday work. My experience from my operations stint was exceptionally helpful. I had to manage and coordinate between multiple stakeholders to deliver in a time-critical environment.

My advice to graduates:

Stay hungry, stay curious and always give it your best shot!