News Details | 19-Nov-2013

New $30 million centre by philanthropist Margaret Lien to develop NTU students’ X-factor for career success

Look sharp, speak smart, and hold the right set of professional ethics and values to succeed on the job.
These are some key lifelong skills and values that Nanyang Technological University (NTU) aims to foster via a new career development centre to ensure its students excel in their future careers in an increasingly competitive job environment.
NTU aims to start nurturing in its students from the day they step into university with a unique combination of lifelong skills and values delivered through a first-of-its-kind, mandatory four-year programme. Employability skills, including communication and problem-solving, and personal values, such as integrity, resilience and social conscience, are critical tools and traits that employers across all sectors demand of job-seekers.
The new Margaret Lien Centre for Professional Success at NTU will offer a structured curriculum of essential career skills and values to give students a competitive edge in the job market and equip them to succeed in any workplace.
The centre is made possible by a $12 million gift from Singapore philanthropist Mrs Margaret Lien, wife of the late banker, hotelier and philanthropist Dr Lien Ying Chow. With 1.5 times government matching, the total endowed funding for the new centre amounts to $30 million.
Speaking at an appreciation luncheon held today in honour of Mrs Lien’s gift to the University, Professor Bertil Andersson, NTU President said, “We are deeply grateful to Mrs Margaret Lien for her generous $12 million gift to establish the Margaret Lien Centre for Professional Success at NTU. This precious gift demonstrates Mrs Lien’s strong commitment to improving the lives of the future generations of NTU students.”

“When fully operational by 2017, the Margaret Lien Centre for Professional Success will allow our NTU students the opportunity to be developed holistically and well prepared for a successful professional life.”

Mrs Lien said, “I hope this programme will help students round off their strong NTU academic education with values-based ethics, a social conscience and compassion for those in need.  I wish the Centre success in bringing out the X-factor in each graduate so they shine through in their career, community work, home life, and contribute as responsible citizens of society.”

Starting with freshmen at NTU’s College of Engineering in Academic Year 2014, students will undergo a new career preparation curriculum comprising 10 modules.  The curriculum will start with guidance on planning for their careers, resume-writing, as well as skills training in handling interviews and networking events. Final-year students will be guided on their professional conduct at the workplace, including how to apply human values, ethics and emotional resilience in their work life. (See Annexe for the list of modules.)

Professor Kam Chan Hin, NTU’s Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education) said, “Early preparation is critical to career success. We'll begin working with students from their first year so they will be well prepared for the challenges of a dynamic global workplace – one of the many reasons why we are consistently highly ranked among employers.” NTU was placed 42nd globally for its reputation among employers worldwide in the QS ranking of the world’s top 100 universities in September this year.
“The new Margaret Lien Centre is a boon for our students, as it will enable all students to tap on the rich resources and career coaches at the Centre,” Prof Kam added. “With such comprehensive preparation, I am confident that our graduates will be even more sought after by global employers in the coming years. The training will give them a good head-start in landing their dream jobs, and more importantly, equip them with important life skills that will lay the foundation for their future success.”
The new Centre builds on the existing broad-based career guidance and development programmes at NTU. Each year, NTU organises a variety of networking and recruitment talks to bring students closer to local and international employers, as well as on-campus recruitment. A major career fair and virtual career fair are held each year catering to graduating students for their job search, and for students from the other years to explore internships and learn about career opportunities.
To meet the needs of today's digital generation, NTU also introduced several initiatives in recent years including a mobile app called JobPASS, and the NTU Talent Site online portal for students to network and get connected with potential employers.

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Media contact:
Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687

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, and 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 four 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


Margaret Lien Centre for Professional Success at NTU: Curriculum Modules

Absolute Basics for Career Series (Year 1)

(1) “Design My Career”
Students will be guided to start thinking about their future and the importance of planning for their careers early. They will also be taught to manage their career preparation and engage in a Career Action Plan.

In addition all Year 1 students (notwithstanding if they have to attend internships and attachments) will be required to undergo a SWOT analysis online to help them understand their Strengths, Weaknesses/Limitations, Opportunities, and Threats in the context of their careers.

This will help them understand better how they can prepare for their future, as well as provide a guidance roadmap over their next few years. This online system will also help them track their progress and let them know what other areas they can still improve on.

(2) “Distinguish from the rest”
This course will cover all the basics of writing a good resume and cover letter, and will include a resume review for students. The resume formats being covered here are general.

(3) “Amaze My Interviewer”
Learning the why of interviews, what and how to prepare for interviews and how to answer competency-based interview questions will be the focus of this course.

Career Profiling will be carried out using tools such as the Harrison Assessment Test to help students identify their possible career directions. Assessments will help students understand more about themselves – their abilities, personality, values, interests, goals and more and this can be an effective means of making a career choice and increasing career satisfaction.

Suit Up Series (Year 2)

(4) “Head to Toe”
Dressing appropriately for business interactions and interviews, learning about colour matching and coordination, deportment etc.

(5) “Unleash My Charisma”
Identifying own unique selling points, learning to package it and using it to student’s advantage when approaching employers.

(6) “Dine My Way to Success”
Navigating the intricacies in dining from invitation to table manners and the follow up.

(7) “Radiate My Personality”
Learning the fundamental skills in navigating a networking event: what to talk about, working the room, making an introduction, engage and follow up.

Power Up Series (Year 4)

(8) “Rev up my Professionalism”
Building up the capabilities to enable fresh graduates to be leaders and practitioners of human values and ethics in their work life.  Helping them to understand and apply appropriate work values in workplaces and how to navigate through ethical dilemmas.

(9) “Strengthen My Essentials”
Covering the basics on problem solving and decision making, teamwork, planning and organisation, time management and business communication.

(10) “Start My Career Right”
Equipping students with the skills and emotional resilience to work in the first job, what to look out for, what to learn and understand, how best to approach certain topics etc.


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