From flying helicopter rescue missions during the 2006 Boxing Day Tsunami, to discussing the American economy with Steve Forbes – very few people can claim to have a job that allows them such a diversity of experiences. Major (MAJ) Gaurav Keerthi is one of the lucky few who can.
MAJ Gaurav has always been excited by the SAF Overseas scholarship. Many are attracted to the prestigious scholarship because of the honour and the career prospects of being able to join the top echelons of government some day. MAJ Gaurav was attracted to it because he wanted a career that was both physically demanding and mentally stimulating, and he has always enjoyed the challenge of pushing himself beyond his limits.
After graduating from Stanford University, MAJ Gaurav returned to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to begin his training as an air force pilot. The training was extremely strenuous – he spent almost a year in Perth and many months overseas learning how to master the skills of piloting. His first real mission came only days after he had completed his Chinook helicopter training, “I remember being deployed on a Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief mission to Phuket and Aceh just 2 days after the 2006 Tsunami. We did not know what to expect, but when we got there and saw the scale of devastation, we worked day and night, almost without rest. Helping out in that mission made me realise how important it was to look beyond the rat race, to treasure every day, and most importantly, to use our skills and time to help others.” MAJ Gaurav remains true to this spirit even outside work, volunteering many weekends and evenings for the last 5 years as the President of the Debate Association (Singapore).
MAJ Gaurav is currently seconded to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) as a Senior Assistant Director in the Industry Division, where he is given the opportunity to help people in other ways. “I’m part of the big team that works hard to build a diversified economy and create good jobs for Singaporeans,” says MAJ Gaurav. “A typical day at MTI is very atypical. Some days, I’m attending meetings with international business and thought leaders to discuss economic strategies for the next phase of Singapore’s growth. Other days, I’m busy working with the Economic Development Board to attract Multi-National Corporations to invest in Singapore.”
MAJ Gaurav is grateful for the life-changing opportunities that the SAF Overseas Scholarship has provided him. “From helping disaster victims to assisting the unemployed; from protecting the peace to growing the economy; from being a pilot to being a policy maker – these are the things that make my career very rewarding and enriching, and I dare say that very few jobs can claim to offer the diversity of experiences that the SAF can give.”
Individuals, like MAJ Gaurav, who are able to look beyond themselves and selflessly contribute to the development of their nation, are the driving force of a strong and developed Singapore.