Feature | Organisation

Reaching Higher with OCBC

This unique bond-free scholarship gives passionate individuals the opportunity to pursue a university education of their choice. OCBC scholars Cassandra Sim and Nadine Ng talk to us about how the OCBC Local Undergraduate Scholarship has helped achieved their aspirations.

As one of the largest established banks in Singapore, the OCBC Bank is recognised for its financial strength and stability, leading with its strong presence in Southeast Asia. Not forgetting its roots, the conglomerate gives back to society through many socially responsible programs and charitable initiatives. In addition, it has provided talented individuals an opportunity to further their studies with the OCBC Local Undergraduate Scholarship. Over 800 bond-free scholarships have been awarded to outstanding undergraduates, giving them the lift they need to soar higher.

With OCBC scholarships, how did you feel your passion and talent could be fulfilled and developed?

 Cassandra:   The unique bond-free scholarship is applicable to any field of study, not just banking. I am pursuing a direct-honours degree in Real Estate at NUS because of my passion in Urban Planning, and it has been a dream of mine to experience more flexible urban planning systems in land-abundant countries. The scholarship has given me the golden opportunity to gain a first-hand insight into European planning regimes, during my 3-week summer programme at the University of Amsterdam.

 Nadine:   The OCBC scholarship has helped ease the financial burden on my family and given me the opportunity to take up an unorthodox bachelor’s degree at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. This allows me to hone my talent in music and pursue my passion fearlessly.

Cassandra Allicia Sim Hui Theng

Cassandra Allicia Sim Hui Theng 
OCBC Undergraduate Scholarship

Bachelor in Science in Business Administration
National University of Singapore

“I could learn from my mistakes and rectify them with the guidance from my supportive supervisors.”

What are some great opportunities you have experienced with the scholarship so far?

 Cassandra:   As a freshman in an unrelated course of study, the opportunity to work with highly established banking professionals had been the most eye-opening experience for me. The scholarship gave me the chance to be the only Year 1 student in the batch to undertake a Structural Internship Programme (SIP) with the company. I was attached to Group Consumer Financial Services, Group Lifestyle Financing, and was involved in credit card marketing and a major financial project. OCBC’s Scholars Give Back Programme is an initiative that organises events yearly, in partnership with various groups of beneficiaries. Some examples of meaningful experiences I have had included facilitating children at OCBC’s Kids@Work day, as well as the Teach a Child to Cycle event.

 Nadine:   With Scholars@OCBC, a warm family of current and alumni scholars, I was able to be part of the organising committee of the 2017 OCBC Scholarship Ceremony. The opportunity to work with scholars from diverse backgrounds gave me different perspectives on handling an organisational project, and the experience was truly refreshing!

How will these be beneficial to your personal and professional growth?

 Cassandra:  The SIP was my first formal internship, and had introduced the skillsets I needed for a professional career. Having been granted this opportunity early in my university journey, I could learn from my mistakes and rectify them with the guidance from my supportive supervisors. The volunteer initiatives have also been equally important, as it served as a constant reminder to give back to society and have compassion for those in need.

 Nadine:   The bonds that were forged during such events allowed us to make connections and it helped broadened my network. As a performing and teaching musician, networking is essential for me to reach out to a wider audience and work with potential partners. Through these exchanges, the benefits were numerous – I got to enhance skills in creativity and team management, as well as learning more about my strengths and weaknesses.

Nadine Ng

Nadine Ng 
OCBC Undergraduate Scholarship

Bachelor of Music with Honours
Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

“I got to enhance skills in creativity and team management, as well as learning more about my strengths and weaknesses.”

What are some programmes in place at OCBC to facilitate scholars into their careers at OCBC after graduation?

 Cassandra:   I have attended several programmes, like sharing and networking events specially organised for scholars at OCBC’s CAMP-us compound. Group heads or representatives from each division would set up “stations” to share about their operations. We even had the opportunity to visit the home of OCBC’s fintech arm - The Open Vault, where ex-CEO Ernest Chin shared with us about this unique department of ten employees and their culture.

 Nadine:   OCBC offers internship opportunities which can lead to employment possibilities after graduation, based on merit. Although OCBC’s internship programmes are not applicable to my field of study, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts’ OCBC Scholars are often presented with engagement opportunities for their corporate events.

Why would you advise aspiring scholars to partner with OCBC for their future?

 Cassandra:   OCBC has an unrivalled programme for its scholars. You would be introduced to a warm and nurturing community, where you would receive guidance on career prospects, and forge strong and lasting friendships with peers and seniors. I have experienced this first hand through its Structured Internship Programme, where warmth permeates throughout the company and the culture of the group focuses strongly on welfare, family and work-life balance. Having been accorded the Distinguished Patron of the Arts 13 times, OCBC cares about the arts and other fields of expertise that could contribute to the society, and this in turn shows in the bond-free scholarships that are awarded to us with the freedom to choose the academic field we want.

 Nadine:   OCBC cares for the future generation of Singaporeans. Partnering with OCBC ensures that you are in a helpful and supportive environment that will offer you many opportunities to engage actively in our community as an undergraduate and future contributor.