Published on: 29-Jul-2014
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is conferring bachelor and higher degrees on 9,141 students over the next seven days in its annual Convocation starting today. Dr Wee Cho Yaw and Professor Bengt Nordén will also be receiving their honorary doctorates from Singapore President and NTU Chancellor, His Excellency Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam today.
Amidst an optimistic employment outlook, two in three NTU graduates in the Class of 2014 have secured jobs even before graduation, with a number receiving multiple job offers.
NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson, said, “Many in the Class of 2014 have impressed me with the way they juggled academic and family responsibilities with other pursuits, developing their diverse interests such as in sports, starting a business, gaining experience through taking on several internships and devoting their time to help the less privileged.
“They embody the NTU spirit of excellence. I am confident that with the well-rounded education they received at NTU and their varied experiences, they are well-equipped with the skills and knowledge to excel in their next chapter of success.”
Newly minted degrees were given out to the pioneer cohort of 39 graduates from the Master of Science (Marketing & Consumer Insight) programme, jointly offered by the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight and Nanyang Business School, and the National Institute of Education’s Master of Teaching and Master of Arts (Leadership & Educational Change), a joint degree programme with Columbia University.
Lifelong education advocate and accomplished interdisciplinary chemist honoured
Honorary degrees are conferred on Dr Wee Cho Yaw, Pro-Chancellor of NTU and Chairman Emeritus and Adviser of United Overseas Bank Limited; and Professor Bengt Nordén, Chair Professor of Physical Chemistry of Chalmers University of Technology this morning.
Dr Wee Cho Yaw receives the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters for his outstanding achievements in the Singapore business community, his enduring contributions to the Chinese community and his long-standing support and contributions to education. Dr Wee has been a long-time supporter and benefactor of NTU.
Over the years, Dr Wee has made gifts of more than $5 million to NTU for the establishment of scholarship, professorship, endowment and bursary funds. One such scholarship is the Wee Cho Yaw Master of Science (Finance) Scholarship Fund for Chinese financial sector regulators. This has helped enhance relations between Singapore and Chinese institutions, raising the profile of the University globally.
While expressing the deep honour he felt for the honorary degree, Dr Wee said the “conferment is especially appreciated because NTU, and its predecessor, Nanyang University occupies a special position in my heart.”
Dr Wee was Chairman of the Nanyang University Council from 1970 to 1980, recalling that the merger with Singapore University in 1980 was a “painful decision”. But following NTU’s development into a university of global repute, “the founding fathers and all those who had contributed towards the setting up of Nantah must feel a sense of pride for NTU’s achievements.”
Professor Bengt Nordén was conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science for his world-class interdisciplinary research, his leadership in various high level international scientific committees and the key role he played in the rise of NTU’s academic research. As chair of the NTU Research Council, an external peer review panel, Professor Nordén played a key role in NTU’s success in securing the highest number of awards and funding under the Ministry of Education’s competitive research funding programmes.
Since 2011, NTU has won the most number of Tier 2 awards nationally in the MOE Tier 2 (investigator led) funding scheme and the highest amount of funding in the MOE Tier 3 scheme (programme level funding). To date, NTU has won S$68 million out of the S$102 million of Tier 3 funding available.
On the significance of the award, Prof Nordén said, “This Honorary Degree from NTU is a great honour for me to receive – it means something special to me personally, having followed in detail the prolific development of this university in recent years. Professionally, I see it as an acknowledgement of the principle to let scientific quality be the overruling guidance for strategic decisions.”
Class of 2014: A showcase of success
The Class of 2014 are seeing bright employment prospects in an optimistic job market although each year, a number chose to be entrepreneurs, to continue with higher studies or have the freedom to choose assignments through freelance work over full-time employment.
Internships have proven to give graduates an edge when it comes to landing an attractive full-time job, with many receiving multiple job offers after valuable exposure in their various internship companies.
Nanyang Business School graduate, Victor Chua Kim Loong, 25, took up no less than four internships as early as in his freshman year, despite the heavy workload in his double degree in accountancy and business. His diligence and work experience paid off as he received four job offers in the accounting and finance sector before deciding to join Citibank as a Management Associate.
Thankful for the internships he had with big firms such as Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan, the recipient of both the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal and Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award said, “My internships have allowed me to easily build up my network within the industry.”
Each year, NTU has close to 4,300 undergraduates who undergo internship or industrial attachment 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.
For communication studies graduate, Jeremy Ko Sheng Wei, 26, who met his partner, business graduate Chen Yan Heng, 25, at NTU, juggling studies with their business has been fulfilling. They were running their own companies, before deciding to join forces to form the Javy Group that supplies sports consumables and equipment to health and sports clubs in Singapore.
With high-end clients like Amore Fitness and Evolve MMA, they are on track to net a revenue of more than half a million dollars by the end of this year.
However, success did not come easy for the duo. Jeremy said, “There were days where we were sleeping three to four hours per night after moving heavy equipment around and attending classes in the day. Even though we were busy, it was fun for us as we were passionate about what we were doing.”
Fatherhood and studies no child’s play
For mechanical engineering graduate Wong Wen Kang, 25, he not only successfully balanced his studies with working part-time, but with his responsibilities as a caring father to his preschool daughter.
Graduating with first-class honours, the valedictorian said, “I had to manage my time efficiently. Apart from studying, I had to make sure I gave sufficient time to my daughter and my wife. It wasn’t easy to study undisturbed when I was at home as my daughter would usually bug me to play with her when I was studying or had important things to do. Despite having these commitments, I feel that I have lived my life to the fullest and very meaningfully.”
Wen Kang even found time to represent NTU in the Dragonboat Men’s Team at the Inter-Varsity Games.
"The team has taught me a lot as being in a team sport certainly helps me to work better with people. The rigorous training not only built me up physically but I also developed mental strength. It has definitely made me a more confident and disciplined person," he added. Wen Kang received three job offers and is now working in OCBC Bank as an Associate.
National athletes flex their muscles and brains
The Class of 2014 has also proven that they can excel in both academics and sports. National hurdler, Dipna Lim-Prasad, 23, took on the challenge of juggling her studies, training and competing for Singapore throughout her undergraduate years at NTU.
During her varsity days, the Sport Science & Management graduate not only competed at the London Olympics, she also broke the 200m national record that had previously stood for 29 years, and won the bronze medal for 400m hurdles at the SEA Games 2013 – Singapore’s first individual female track medal in 36 years.
She recalled, “Once, I was overseas for three consecutive weeks competing at three competitions in three different countries. A project deadline had clashed with the last competition. So, two days before my race, I had to venture out to the streets of Thailand to find an Internet café near our hostel accommodation to submit my assignment. My experiences have taught me to be even more independent.”
Her compatriot and fellow sprinter, Lee Cheng Wei, 27, competed at three SEA Games and achieved three silver medals during his undergraduate days at NTU. His relay team also broke the national record thrice.
The future physical education teacher, who will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education from NIE, said, “I am passionate about sports and being a PE teacher and coach allows me to live my passion.”
Cheng Wei, who is competing in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games this year added, “Preparation has been going well for our relay team. We hope that we can bring the momentum into the new year for the SEA Games 2015 in Singapore.”
A heart for the deaf community
Passion is also what drives NTU engineering graduate Toh You Xin, 25, to actively immerse himself in community work. An ardent advocate for the deaf, he hopes to make Singapore more inclusive by integrating the deaf into mainstream society.
You Xin chairs the SADeaf YouthBeat, a youth volunteer group at the Singapore Association for the Deaf which plans and organises events for the local deaf community in Singapore. Actively involved in community work with the deaf throughout his three years at NTU, he was nominated for Singapore Youth Award in 2013, and in 2014 for the Singapore Youth Award, SADeaf Friend of the Deaf Award and SADeaf I Love You Award – Sapphire (Individual) Award.
You Xin’s volunteer work with SADeaf started some four years ago when he was still serving National Service. Initially, he faced some communication barriers with the deaf as he did not know sign language. He said, “I told myself that if I was to volunteer for the deaf community, I would have to take up sign language course to facilitate my interaction.” The course piqued his interest in serving the Deaf and he has not looked back since then.
You Xin also continues to volunteer for the People’s Association Youth Movement (PAYM) under the Woodlands Galaxy Community Club Youth Executive Committee where he reaches out to residents and the underprivileged through various community projects.
NTU Convocation 2014 by numbers:
- 9,141 Bachelor’s and higher degree graduates
- 6,108 Bachelor’s graduates
- 571 graduates receiving Doctorate degrees
- 2,462 graduates receiving Master's degrees
Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687
Fouziah A. Rahim (Ms)
Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: 6592 3557
About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.
Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north, and a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg
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