More than 9,500 students of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will receive their bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees this year showcasing success stories of academic excellence, promising careers and charitable giving.
Among the Class of 2013, the double degree cohort in Accountancy and Business from Nanyang Business School has done well again this year, with almost 9 in 10 securing employment before graduation, and the top 10 per cent drawing an average salary of $8,254. “Every year, I see many of our fresh graduates landing jobs months before they graduate, while others are carving out their own destiny as entrepreneurs, or seeking fresh ventures abroad. There are many heartening individual success stories, and it proves once again that at NTU, success comes in many forms,” said NTU President, Prof Bertil Andersson.
One example is Magdalene Koh, 23, from Nanyang Business School, who was spoilt for choice when it came to getting a job with four offers landing on her lap.
There are others who prefer to strike out on their own by starting their company. Information Engineering and Media graduates Joyce Chee, Xia Jianlong and Darius Chia have teamed up to form eVida to build smart home systems that integrate lighting, electrical and energy control.
For Nanyang Business School graduate Ivan Koh, 25, the world is his oyster. He is packing his bags for training stints in London and Mumbai, before he moves to Hong Kong to be a graduate trainee in credit risk at Deutsche Bank.
“It’s scary yet exciting to begin life anew in a foreign land, but I believe we should be open-minded and bold enough to seize whatever job opportunities that come our way,” he said.
The Class of 2013 is also a story of generosity, setting a new record of 87.19 per cent in class giving, surpassing last year’s 82.08 per cent.
The graduating students will receive their degrees at 18 NTU Convocation ceremonies over six days starting today, with about 20,000 guests expected to attend.
Presiding at the first Convocation ceremony this morning was His Excellency, President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is also Chancellor of NTU. Ms Sim Ann, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Communications and Information, and Education, also attended the ceremony where newly minted degrees were on the pioneer graduating classes from the Sports Science and Management, double degree in Engineering and Economics, Master in Applied Economics, and Doctor of Education programmes.
Three honorary degrees were also conferred this morning. Prof Bertil Andersson said, “These three outstanding individuals have been our soul mates in industry and international collaborations and in sustainability.”
Mr Tan Gee Paw, chairman of PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, leads this year’s list of honorary degree recipients who have distinguished themselves internationally in their chosen fields and have made important contributions to society. Mr Tan was conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor Engineering for his significant contributions, having devoted his entire career to environmental and water management sector in Singapore.
As PUB Chairman, Mr Tan led the integration of water, drainage and sewerage services under one agency, helping to establish Singapore’s robust and sustainable water supply system today. Mr Tan oversaw the development of NEWater, and was also involved in the clean-up of the Singapore River, a decade-long multi-million project. The impact of the project is still felt today as it brought about the redevelopment and modernisation of much of Singapore and paved the way for the development of the Marina Barrage.
At NTU, Mr Tan is the Founding Chairman of the Earth Observatory of Singapore Governing Board and had provided leadership in getting the observatory – the university’s first national Research Centre of Excellence (RCE) – operational within a short time. Mr Tan also played a pivotal role as a member of Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI) Advisory Board.
Professor Wolfgang A. Herrmann, President of Technical University of Munich (TUM) received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in recognition of his significant contributions to the collaborative efforts between TUM and NTU. NTU’s alliance with TUM spans a decade, with the signing of their first MOU in 2003. The partnership between the two universities was further strengthened when TUM and NTU jointly set up a new research centre in 2010 under the National Research Foundation’s Campus for Research Excellence & Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme known as the TUM-CREATE Centre for Electro-mobility. Under this TUM-CREATE partnership with NTU, 40 faculty members from TUM and NTU are working in Singapore to conduct research in electro-mobility involving electric car and battery technologies, energy storage and grid as well as the related technology and infrastructure to support these areas. TUM-CREATE has helped to increase the global visibility of NTU and strengthened the university’s strong links with the industry.
For his instrumental role in expanding Rolls-Royce’s research activities in Singapore as well as forging strong partnerships with NTU, Professor Richard Parker, Director of Research and Technology, Rolls-Royce Group, was conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering last year. He was unable to attend the ceremony last year so he received the honours this morning. Earlier this week, NTU and Rolls Royce advanced their partnership with the launch of the Rolls Royce Corporate Lab @ NTU, a $75 million joint lab that will pave the way for NTU and Singapore to play an important role in aerospace technology development globally.
The employment outlook looks bright for NTU’s Class of 2013 despite the uncertain global economic climate. A preliminary survey conducted by the university at the end of last month found that almost 7 in 10 graduates from the Class of 2013 have secured jobs before graduation, slightly higher than in 2012.
Internships give graduates an edge in highly sought jobs. For example, this year’s top Economics student, Tan Wen Jie, 25, will be joining the Ministry of Finance as an Associate. The recipient of the Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award had to work 12-hour shifts on weekends, on top of his studies, to support himself and his aged parents. Despite his work commitments, he consistently maintained stellar academic results and even won the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Book Prize for achieving the best cumulative result from his freshman year to third year. The award came with an internship at the Ministry. On his future aspirations, Tan said, “I hope to be able to give back to society by formulating impactful policies.”
Muhammad Fazil Bin Istamar, 26, from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, is now doing analytical support at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK’s) quality department. The chemistry graduate had spent his internship there in his final year.
“My internship helped me to build on the skills I gained at NTU by applying them in a practical environment. I also acquired many helpful tips from my attachment supervisor Assoc Prof Leong Weng Kee, who frequently shared his experiences of past student-interns. This enabled me to do well on the job and receive good reviews from the company. Two days after GSK’s job offer, I got job interview offers from three other top companies. But my mind was already made up by then. GSK offers a positive working environment and has a great reputation as one of the pharmaceutical giants,” he said.
Companies today find internships a highly effective way of talent-spotting. Each year, NTU has close to 4,800 undergraduates that undergo internship or attachment training at about 1,500 companies, both at home and abroad. About 3 in 10 graduates are offered jobs by their internship and attachment companies annually.
“That companies offer the NTU interns full-time positions before their graduation shows that they like the training our students receive at NTU. The university will also continually expand our network with employers to give our students a leg-up in building promising careers with coveted organisations,” said NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson.
NTU Convocation 2013 by numbers:
– 6,593 Bachelor’s Degree graduates and 2,959 Higher Degree graduates
– 142 Bachelor’s graduates receiving double degrees
– 549 graduates receiving Doctorate degrees
– 2,410 graduates receiving Master’s degrees