Singapore University of Technology and Design


Singapore Institute of Technology
The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) nurtures the brightest technical minds and empowers them to push the limits of technology and design. Two SUTD scholars share with us their experiences in one of the most forward-thinking educational institutions in Singapore.

E stablished in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), SUTD aims to nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators to serve the needs of today’s society. With this in mind, both SUTD alumni Ian Martin Teoh and SUTD-SMU Dual Degree Programme (DDP) sophomore Siti Nurhayati had their sights set on SUTD from the get-go.

“I chose SUTD because I saw that it was an opportunity to receive a quality educational experience right here in Singapore. With over 90 per cent of SUTD’s curriculum developed by MIT and a unique SUTD pedagogy that emphasises cohort-based, hands-on and collaborative learning, I was able to firmly ground myself in technical knowledge which is now very useful in my career,” Ian shares.

Siti agrees, adding, “SUTD and SMU gave me the opportunity to pursue two fields of study (business and engineering) with the SUTD-SMU DDP in Technology and Management. The dual nature of the programme offers different perspectives, allowing me to grow as a holistic thinker and stretching me to think more flexibly as an engineer and a person in commerce. This makes me think beyond usual boundaries and encourages me to consider a wide variety of perspectives.”

Unlocking Possibilities

At SUTD, students are given the freedom to explore their interests and discover what they are passionate about.

Ian went into university knowing what he wanted to study, but his time with SUTD provided him with a deeper understanding of areas that he could specialise in. He expresses, “I was always interested in the systems and processes that I saw around me. My desire to understand the complexities of large scale systems led me to pursue an education in Engineering Systems and Design after our common Freshmore year. During my internship in Accenture, I was exposed to a myriad of warehousing and global trade management issues, sparking my interest to delve deeper into these areas. So I decided to focus on the area of logistics and supply chain management.”

On the other hand, Siti managed to find her path in life by enrolling into SUTD. She candidly tells us, “Pursuing a degree in engineering never crossed my mind until I discovered SUTD. Since then, I’ve never looked back. Engineering is an exciting field with endless possibilities. You don’t need to be a doctor to help the sick or injured – there are many other ways to help people, and engineering is one of them. Hopefully someday, I’ll be able to become a successful innovator and make a positive impact in the world, especially in the fields of biomedical and healthcare.”

Siti Nurhayati Binti Rahim

Siti Nurhayati Binti Rahim

SUTD-SMU Dual Degree Programme
in Technology and Management (SUTD-SMU DDP)

“Engineering is an exciting field with endless possibilities. You don’t need to be a doctor to help the sick or injured – there are many other ways to help people, and engineering is one of them.”

Driving Ambition

Looking beyond the classroom, SUTD also encourages students to be trailblazers in their co-curricular activities. Co-curricular activities are so ingrained in SUTD’s culture that they are known as the ‘Fifth Row’ – the fifth ‘subject’ that students are involved in every term in addition to their four academic subjects.

What is one challenge you have faced at work?

Siti only has good things to say about SUTD’s emphasis on co-curricular activities. “As a new university, SUTD gives me the opportunity to explore and try new things. As part of the pioneer SUTD-SMU DDP batch, I get to pave the way and develop our own unique SUTD-SMU DDP culture. In 2014, my friend and I started picking up windsurfing as a sport in SMU, after which we founded the windsurfing club in SUTD. This is just one of the many cross-university initiatives we hope to see in the SUTD-SMU DDP batch.

“Apart from windsurfing and leading the badminton team, I also served in the Third Student Government as Fifth Row Director in SUTD. My role was to oversee the Fifth Row scene in SUTD, including facilitating new club establishments and helping to grow existing ones. I’m positive that these experiences, coupled with SUTD and SMU’s unique curriculum, have helped me develop holistically, be it professionally or personally.”

Ian concurs with Siti’s assessment of the Fifth Row programme. He tells us, “I founded the SUTD Tennis Club which I was heavily involved in throughout my university days. My role as founder and treasurer entailed responsibilities such as procurement of equipment, planning for trainings and captaining a team for inter-university tournaments. This extra-curricular experience helped hone my tennis skills and discipline as an athlete and person, improving both my physical and mental health at the same time.”

Ian Martin Teoh

Ian Martin Teoh

Bachelor of Engineering,
Engineering Systems and Design (ESD)

“This extra-curricular experience helped hone my tennis skills and discipline as an athlete and person, improving both my physical and mental health at the same time.”

Visions for the Future

As a graduate from SUTD, Ian has a bright future to look forward to in his career. Always looking to better himself, he claims, “I aim to build a deeper expertise in an area in supply chain technology that can enhance the current standards of performance. Coupling this with the knowledge and design thinking skillsets which I picked up in SUTD, I aim to value-add to my organisation by ensuring that my client’s business needs are efficiently met.”

As for Siti who is still studying, she dreams of working in the biomedical engineering sector. “I look forward to working with like-minded engineers and doctors to design and come up with useful equipment to improve existing healthcare procedures.”

Concluding the interview session, Ian provides some words of wisdom for aspiring SUTD students, “Find something you are passionate about. You may not know it for sure now, but try imagining yourself dedicating your heart and soul to creating a niche in a field or industry which you are interested in. That might give you more clarity, or at least bring you a step closer to making a fulfilling decision.”

Siti adds, “Take risks! Don’t just fall back on taking the conventional routes. Personally, I find it far more fulfilling to be part of something unique and altruistic. I’m glad I found SUTD – a community deeply passionate about what they do and strongly believes in creating a better world. You might feel the same, so don’t be afraid to join us here.”