Nanyang Technological University
Feature | Higher Education

Rising to the Top

Nanyang Technological University
What gives the Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) its distinct edge? Two Nanyang Scholars fill us in on their unique education experience.

Last year, NTU scaled to the 13th spot in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking of the world’s top 100 universities. NTU is also ranked 1st amongst the world’s best young universities in the 2016 QS Top 50 Under 50, further exemplifying the university’s fast-growing status. The young and rising university certainly appealed to Singapore Polytechnic graduate Joel Lee Jun Zhi.

Moreover, Joel had heard incredibly positive reviews about graduates from the Nanyang Business School (NBS) during his internship at Ernst & Young. This reflected the university’s strong track record and recognition amongst top employers.

Joel was also drawn to the variety of programme combinations and specialisations offered by NBS. It did not take long for him to decide on the Bachelor of Accountancy with Second Specialisation in Business Law.

Industry-Relevant Competencies

Now into his third year, Joel has witnessed the great rewards of his undergraduate education. “From a business perspective, my course allows me to understand how different transactions have a financial impact on the firm. From the legal perspective, it helps me to understand the different rights and obligations involved in transactions. The combination of accountancy and business law also provides me with a good foundation in risk and compliance,” shares Joel.

Eager to apply his knowledge and skills to the real world, Joel took up internships at two leading global firms. For his first internship at Johnson & Johnson, Joel was tasked with analysing and forecasting the firm’s financial performance. His second internship at Goldman Sachs entailed assisting in managing the firm’s liquidity while undertaking projects to enhance the firm’s operational excellence.

Chia Shao Hui Gideon

Chia Shao Hui Gideon
Nanyang Scholar

Renaissance Engineering Programme

“Success goes to people who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and take massive action.”

“Unlike in school, the corporate world requires us to implement projects and propose real solutions. My internship at Goldman Sachs instilled in me the value and importance of ownership. It is also important to develop independent thought and opinion – and being confident in expressing it,” says Joel.

Joel has also undergone several training stints, such as the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Banking Connections Program and the Citi Student Mentorship Program offered by Citibank.

To further enrich the education experience, NTU encourages all students to participate in exchange programmes. Joel had the exciting opportunity to study at Harvard University for a month where he took a course in Strategic Management – an experience which he describes as both challenging and fun.

“I got to interact with students from different countries and learn with them through interesting case studies. On top of that, I learnt how different cultures influence the way businesses operate in different parts of the world,” quips Joel.

A Holistic Pedagogy

As a research-intensive university, NTU has long been synonymous with innovation and development. One of the university’s unique features is its signature Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP).

The REP is a four-and-a-half-year programme that blends engineering, science, business, humanities, and technology management. Students are awarded a Bachelor of Engineering Science and a Master of Science in Technology Management upon graduation.

Joel Lee Jun Zhi

Joel Lee Jun Zhi
Nanyang Scholar

Bachelor of Accountancy with Second Specialisation in Business Law

“As there’s plenty of self-directed learning in university, you have to be independent and take ownership of your education.”

For Chia Shao Hui Gideon, his desire for a broad-based education prompted him to take up the REP without much hesitation. The Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate was also intrigued by the one-year study programme at one of NTU’s partner universities. In fact, Gideon will soon be spending his third year at the University of California, Berkeley!

The enthusiastic youth has already received spectacular opportunities in his first two years with the REP. Gideon decided to take up a Minor in Entrepreneurship, which enabled him to partake in an immersion programme at Silicon Valley. He had the opportunity to visit TechShop – a creative playground that provides thinkers and budding entrepreneurs with resources to create prototypes and inspire them to build their dreams.

In addition, Gideon had undergone two rewarding internships. His first internship at the Computational Labour Economics Firm saw him assisting in business development and market research.

Gideon also did an internship at 8I Holdings Limited (8IH), where he assisted with the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning system that integrates and automates various functions in the company. Interestingly, Gideon was offered this internship opportunity while attending an earlier programme on value investing taught by Ken Chee, Chairman and Executive CEO of 8IH. He shares, “I had to present a case study on behalf of my group. After the presentation, Ken was keen on my current occupation, and he invited me to take up an internship at the company since I was still studying!”

Path to Success

While life at NTU is vibrant and enriching, Joel and Gideon agree that the university’s academic rigour may prove to be an uphill endeavour.

“Success goes to people who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and take massive action. If you are unsure of something, be humble enough to ask your peers for help and advice to grow. Not many people at our age have a clear direction of what they want in life as we are still young and discovering our own purpose. But what’s more important is forming and sticking to your own value system that is legal, moral and ethical. Many of us fear being different, but I rather fear being indifferent. If we follow the majority, you might just end up like the majority,” imparts Gideon.

While NTU students are exposed to a variety of opportunities, Chin Sian and Sabina say that approaching these with the right attitude is key to enjoying an enriching student experience.

Joel chimes in with his own insightful advice for polytechnic graduates: “As there’s plenty of self-directed learning in university, you have to be independent and take ownership of your education. Coming from a polytechnic, you have the advantage of familiarising yourself with your chosen field. Perhaps with an internship or two, you might have gained exposure to the industry and corporate world. That will help you to crystallise your dreams and goals. Exercise discipline and take ownership of what you want to be and achieve, and work hard towards that.”