Eunice Chua’s passion in the integrated resort (IR) business started more than a decade ago when she joined the Singapore Tourism Board and was assigned to the Marina Bay Sands portfolio. She considers herself “extremely fortunate” to have had the opportunity to work closely with senior executives from Marina Bay Sands to facilitate the opening of the megaresort and to bear witness to a historic turn that saw the transformation of Singapore’s tourism on the global stage.
In the unique dual role of a regulator and a tourism champion, not only did Chua examine the IR’s obligations to the Singapore government, but she also gained, through the process, a much deeper appreciation of the IR business’ contribution as an engine of economic and tourism growth.
Chua recalls that during the early days of her career, it was a demanding but beneficial challenge to expeditiously ramp up the steep learning curve of the gaming industry.
“The scale, depth and breadth of the learning experience was overwhelming at the beginning—understanding the casino regulations, learning about customer segments, appreciating the nuances of the gaming organization, running analytics, remembering game rules and the math behind them, etc.,” Chua says.
However, by dint of sheer determination and a “never-settle” attitude, challenges transformed into opportunities.
“I stayed hungry for information and knowledge,” says Chua, “always feeling like I knew only as much as the tip of the iceberg, and I continued to stay curious and learn from anyone and everyone who was willing to help. Over the years, I was fortunate enough to have met important mentors who were incredibly generous with their help and guidance, undoubtedly impacting my career and life in defining and meaningful ways.”
As part of the support that she gives back to young professionals in the organization and the industry, Chua has been part of the CHASE program that was spearheaded by one of her mentors and a former executive at Marina Bay Sands, Andrew MacDonald.
Standing for “Committed, Hardworking, Ambitious, Smart, and Execute,” the program not only provides learning and development opportunities beyond one’s normal day-to-day responsibilities within the organization, but also allows for a number of platforms for growing professionals to collaborate across departments and functions as they work together on ad hoc projects, attend industry events and summits, and go on study trips to learn from competition in the region. Moreover, this program opens up tremendous networking opportunities and serves as an effective channel for the “team of teams” concept to crystalize.
As Chua suggests, “You don’t necessarily have to follow the same formula. Go create your own ‘CHASE’ and let it evolve over time as you grow and learn. Everyone should have their own ‘CHASE,’ and ultimately it’s all about lifelong learning, humility, and never settling.”
Looking back, Chua recalls taking the leap of faith to accept a relatively junior position at the entry level into Marina Bay Sands. “I remain extremely grateful for the opportunity that I jumped at and have no regrets to this day,” she says.
As she sees it, Marina Bay Sands is a unique property with its own dynamism, scale, and pace.
“It is such a huge organization that while it means there are 1 million things happening at any one time, it also means there are countless opportunities at the same time,” she says. “It can be easy to be lost in the day-to-day work with the fast-paced nature of the businesses, but it’s the diverse scope of the integrated resort model that emerging leaders and young professionals should be excited about.”
Evaluating the trends in today’s gaming industry that open doors for young professionals, Chua believes the gaming industry is ever evolving. Despite its complex regulatory environment, there are always new trends and opportunities for innovation and change that allow emerging leaders to carve their own paths and chart their own career trajectories.
As she looks forward to the coming years, “the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated many changes, including digital transformation and emergence of a new generation of premium customers. All of these open up many possibilities, and I am definitely excited about the future of the gaming industry.”