Singapore EMBA builds engineering marvel

March 2011

Ng Soon Guan.

Behind every awe-inspiring structure is an engineer with a vision and a businessperson to bring that vision to reality. For the incredible infinity pool atop the new Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore, the engineer and businessperson are one and the same: Singapore Executive MBA alumnus Ng Soon Guan.

Ng is the owner and director of Sunlink Engineering Pte Ltd. He graduated from the School of Management’s Singapore EMBA program in 2009. The UB program is conducted entirely in Singapore in conjunction with the Singapore Institute of Management.

The Marina Bay Sands SkyPark is located on the 57th floor of the resort and stretches longer than the Eiffel tower laid down. It features the largest cantilever of its kind, with nearly 130,000 square feet of landscaped space. Within the SkyPark, an iridescent 15,026 square-foot swimming pool spans the three hotel towers, with a surreal infinity edge overlooking the city.

“The pool was built using three stainless-steel pools,” Ng says. “The biggest challenge was to achieve a consistent water level across the pools to create the effect of one large body of water.” It is the largest outdoor infinity pool at its height and has a 475-foot infinity edge, creating the effect that the water of the pool extends to the horizon.

Ng secured the contract for the construction of the pool through a referral based on his company’s ability to meet the tight milestone deadlines and demanding site constraints. He started his company, Sunlink Engineering, partway through his EMBA program when he spun it off from his previous employer. Sunlink’s strength lies in its integrated model of construction where they have the resources to design, fabricate and install the structures on a fast-track basis.

Through positive word-of-mouth on the work on the SkyPark pool, Sunlink has secured other urgent contracts related to the casino and is currently working on designing and installing vertical greenery and solar (photovoltaic) panels in a multistory car park—a pilot project by the Singapore Public Housing Authority to create a more sustainable and green-built environment.

When asked how the UB EMBA program best prepared him for running his own company and taking on contracts of this magnitude, Ng immediately recalled his negotiation class with Brian Becker, professor of organization and human resources.

“What I learned from Professor Becker has been invaluable in my daily meetings with business partners and associates to creatively structure deals that derive maximum value for mutual benefit,” Ng says. “The Marina Bay Sands project is a perfect example of how these skills were put into action.” He says his EMBA helped him learn to put together a deal under extreme constraints and uncertainty and to successfully deliver the project on time.

Since graduation, Ng has been an active alumnus, attending UB events, serving on an alumni panel to answer questions for prospective EMBAs and staying in regular contact with program administrators. Ng and his wife, Chan Mun Yee, live in Singapore.

Written by Easter Weiss