AAmong the things that stand out at our sixth autonomous university, the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), are its applied approach to learning and a strong focus on social development. Their curriculum is crafted to equip students with the skills needed to transition smoothly into the workforce while inculcating in them an exceptional social awareness.
This ideal is exemplified through its unique SUSS Spirit Awards which honours students who display strength of character, a willingness to help others, or leadership in social change efforts. It’s an encouragement for those who go beyond the academic to display the heart of the SUSS educational philosophy. We spoke to Spirit Award Recipients, 27-year-old alumnus Nur Saiyidah Bte Sainal, and 23-year-old undergraduate Chew Jun Sheng, to get a feel of the SUSS learning journey.
SUSS Spirit Award 2017 Recipient
Business Integrity Analyst
Bachelor of Marketing with Minor in Communications – Singapore University of Social Sciences
Taking Charge Of Your Education
Central to the SUSS experience is the focus on self-directed learning where students cover the course materials before lessons. This allows for more meaningful discussions during classes that will further students’ understanding and challenge them with complex problems. In this way, students walk away with more than a rudimentary understanding of the textbook.
It’s an approach that pays off in the long run as Jun Sheng shares, “I think some of the more rewarding moments in my university life was realising how concepts taught to me over the years started to connect and form into bigger pictures, especially when I was performing my internships and was able to apply the knowledge taught in school to solve real-life problems.”
First-hand Industry Experience
The SUSS academic experience culminates in a well-developed 24-week work attachment that provides students with industry-oriented skills and knowledge during their university life. It’s an approach that Saiyidah credits for her professional development. “My work attachment was purposeful and full of opportunities. I received amazing opportunities in my six months as a marketing intern, where I was put in charge of my own project and had to go meet clients,” she recalls, highlighting the amount of responsibility she was entrusted with.
While Jun Sheng has not yet been on his 24-week work attachment, he has obtained invaluable experience through a special internship with Tencent technology in Shenzhen, China. Traditionally, Tencent does not take interns from outside of China, but a special collaboration with SUSS opened the doors to this opportunity.
“It was a great experience for me working in a company with such large-scaled and fast-paced operations. During my time at Tencent, I got to witness the growth and development of China from one of its leading centres of technology and innovation, which was extremely rewarding and eye-opening,” Jun Sheng tells us as he reflects on the experience.
Chew Jun Sheng
SUSS Spirit Award 2017 Recipient
Bachelor of Accountancy – Singapore University of Social Sciences
Learning Outside Textbooks
Beyond books, SUSS provides students with valuable opportunities through dynamic overseas experiences and the Service-Learning and Community Engagement Programme. The opportunities that Jun Sheng has under his belt include leading a student delegation to participate in an ASEAN-India student exchange programme, and a service-learning initiative co-founded with friends where they helped primary school students with their homework and facilitated their after-school activities.
Saiyidah adds, “I was the co-leader for an international service-learning project in Nepal where we helped primary school students improve their command of English. This project took us about a year to see to fruition, and allowed me to expand my worldview and personal development.”
Prospects For The Future
All these aspects to the SUSS learning journey add up to form a holistic approach to education, one that leaves students with skills that will serve them well in their careers. In Saiyidah’s case, her achievements led to her receiving job offers from previous internships and various marketing agencies before her graduation. One offer came from a leading technology company where she currently works as a Business Integrity Analyst. Reflecting on her experience, Saiyidah says, “I believe my journey in SUSS, from my studies, overseas experience, and work attachments have contributed to this success.”
As for Jun Sheng, he regards the prospects that await him with optimism. “With SUSS’s intensive syllabus and industry-oriented focus, my journey in SUSS thus far has equipped me with a strong foundation both theoretically and practically. Beyond that, it has helped me to explore many areas of interest and to develop skills both hard and soft, which I feel will serve as great assets in my future career.”