Murdoch Singapore alumnus Martin Gwee found affirmation in Robert Frost.
What did you study at Murdoch and what are you up to now?
I studied the Bachelor of Commerce program, majoring in Marketing Management. Currently, I am with the Hong Kong Tourism Board Southeast regional office. As the Country Marketing Manager of Malaysia and Indonesia, I oversee the marketing and promotional initiatives in the region.
What do you think is Murdoch’s point of difference compared with other universities?
The Commerce program I undertook offered us options to choose electives beyond the core marketing modules. This had given me the opportunity to expand my learnings into areas such as human resource, corporate law and even information security.
Murdoch has also been very supportive towards part-time students such as myself who are balancing between work and studies. This is something I greatly appreciate.
What drew you to working in the tourism sector?
Personally, I love travelling and exploring places and experiencing new culture. Therefore, I always knew the tourism industry is where I would feel at home.
At a point of my career, I was working in one of Singapore’s integrated resorts which has major attractions including Universal Studios Singapore, aquarium and a water theme park. It is amazing to witness how it works behind the scenes and is very gratifying to be contributing to the visitors’ experience.
Being in a regional marketing role also requires me to travel very frequently. At one point, I was in charge of the South Asia market and my business trips brought me to exotic and interesting cities which I would not have a chance to easily explore as a leisure traveler.
What have been some of the big changes in your line of work given the COVID-19 threat?
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the tourism landscape and has sent shockwaves across aviation, hospitality, MICE, retail and other related sectors.
It is an ongoing test and challenge for the industry players to be resilient, adapt to the new norm and also to explore ways this crisis can be turned around to become opportunities.
It is heartening to see some of the countries and cities whom are recovering well from the pandemic are starting to ease the travel restrictions and planning to form “travel bubbles.” With that in place, international travel may soon resume and that will pave the way for the recovery of the tourism market.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
My academic journey has been an unconventional and bumpy one. At one point, I decided to give up a prestigious scholarship from a local Singapore university as I contemplated jumping right into the work force instead of pursuing a full-time degree.
A mentor at the time encouraged and affirmed my decision by sharing a Robert Frost quote with me – “Two roads diverge in the woods, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.”
Until today, this is advice I always bear in mind. There’s no one single way to get to your goals. Every experience counts and contributes to the journey. What is most important is to stay focused, be determined and you will be able to achieve what you set out for.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by Jack Ma. With a humble beginning, he persevered, went against the odds and created one of the world’s most successful business empires. He is a visionary leader who looks beyond just commercial gains and has been championing many charity and social causes. What I respect most about him is that he had decided to leave the company that he founded when it was at its pinnacle. Jack Ma selflessly believes that Alibaba should not be about him, instead it should be based on a leadership system that can sustain the company’s interest in the long run. He is indeed one of the most remarkable business leaders in modern history.