S tudents at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) choose from myriad opportunities to excel beyond the classroom. The university’s academic framework and global partnerships present occasions for them to gain exposure in eminent universities and organisations worldwide. Currently, eight in ten students at NTU can enjoy at least one overseas learning opportunity during the course of their studies.
At NTU, students are given a broad-based education in their choice of discipline. Two of its unique programmes are the Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP) and the Double Degree in Accountancy and Business (Actuarial Science specialisation). The four-and-a-half year REP awards students a dual degree comprising the Bachelor of Engineering Science (with a specialisation in a preferred engineering discipline) and the Master of Science in Technology Management. On the other hand, the Actuarial Science specialisation provides solid, in-depth training for students who possess strong analytical and numerical abilities, and have a keen interest in insurance, finance and risk management.
For Jovian Ang and Elysia Tan, these programmes have certainly equipped them with the relevant skills and knowledge for their future careers. They sit down with us to talk about their unique programmes and their dynamic undergraduate experiences with NTU.
Tan Yee Ru Elysia
What sparked your interest in your respective programmes?
Jovian Ang: My interest in the REP was sparked during my army days when I attended a seminar. I liked the uniqueness of the programme – it was a seamless combination of multi-disciplinary subjects such as Engineering, Technology and Business. I also liked its vision to groom industry leaders of tomorrow.
Furthermore, I was drawn to the unique overseas learning aspect incorporated into the programme, which eventually brought me to the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).
Elysia Tan: I chose to specialise in Actuarial Science because I liked the element of Statistics in its curriculum. I have always loved Mathematics and numbers but wanted to do more than major in Mathematics. I wanted to be able to analyse numbers and apply them to something meaningful. I also had friends who were already in the industry and offered me plenty of interesting insights!
Share with us about your experiences during your overseas exchange programmes.
Jovian: My time in UC Berkeley was an eye-opening experience. I had easy access to the tech-savvy Bay Area, home to forward-thinking and innovative companies such as Google and Apple. Being there opened my eyes to a whole new culture and a wide international community.
While I was there, my project team and I designed an automated beer-launching machine. The whole project stimulated our creativity and allowed us to be involved in an entrepreneurial community. In fact, I even went on to represent NTU at the Global Mobile Challenge 2015 in Barcelona! This congress held annually is where new gadgets in the mobile industry are released, and where innovators from all over the world congregate. It was empowering to know that my time abroad was not confined to California after all.
Elysia: I went to the National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) in Taiwan. I chose Taiwan because it was close to home, and because I am quite well-versed in its official Mandarin language. The lessons taught in Mandarin were pleasantly different from our lessons in English.
Because there was no language barrier, I was unafraid of making travel plans on my own. I wanted to make the most of my exchange programme and made it a point to travel and make new friends. It was easy to be on my own because I could always reach out to the locals who were extremely warm and friendly.
My time in another university also made me appreciate NTU a whole lot more. The culture in NSYSU is different from NTU’s – NTU nurtures an engaging culture and challenges us to explore perspectives beyond our curriculum. Regardless, my time in Taiwan was a meaningful experience.
Tell us about your internship opportunities.
Jovian: I was attached to the 3M Corporate Headquarters in St Paul, Minnesota. Fulfilling the role of design engineer, I had a hand in developing and designing equipment to facilitate the manufacturing process of scotch tape.
Ang Guohao Jovian
The organisation has a dedicated internship programme in place, and brings in 200 interns at a time! It was not only a good opportunity to learn about the organisation – it also allowed us to network with other scholars, attend insightful seminars, interact with the Director of Engineering, and connect with top professors.
Elysia: I underwent my internship in two places – Aon Benfield Singapore, which is a leading reinsurance broker and intermediary, and General Reinsurance AG. At Aon Benfield, interns had the opportunity to rotate to different departments, ensuring we are not confined to just one role. Our supportive supervisors also entrust us with projects and add on to what we learn in school. Even as interns, we were allowed to interact with clients and hold meetings with them.
On the other hand, my time at General Reinsurance AG gave me the chance to conduct research on legal claims and the award systems in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the UK. I also had the liberty to set the direction of a project and present it at the end.
As Nanyang Scholars, what would you tell those who wish to follow your footsteps?
Jovian: Nanyang Scholars are given opportunities to network with other scholars through activities such as a Scholars Orientation Camp, and are invited to attend Eminent Speaker Series Talks. I am also humbled to know that the REP invests a lot on students.
The REP is an intense programme, and requires character and strong academic capabilities to complete it. Future students must be able to show maturity in thinking and be able to view problems from a broad perspective. Overall, NTU is a place to receive a holistic university experience. Participate in vibrant hall activities and make full use of NTU’s top professors and resources in order to maximise your student journey.
Elysia: As a Nanyang Scholar who is from the University Scholars Programme (USP), an interdisciplinary programme that provides an intellectually stimulating environment for students, we are given certain priorities for allocation to exchange programmes! We are also assured the successful admission to a hall of residence. Being in hall adds vibrancy to our campus life and ensures we are not confined to our books.
I strongly encourage students to explore beyond the academics. Develop the drive to take up CCAs and related activities in school – after all, these activities are how you add value to your undergraduate journey.