By Daryl Yang | Images by Yasunari Watanabe
As the second batch of Yale-NUS students prepares for graduation, some among the cohort have found employment with companies in the corporate sector such as JP Morgan, Barclays, Oliver Wyman and L.E.K Consulting.
Martin Vasev (Class of 2018) is one student who is heading to Oliver Wyman, a leading global management consulting firm. A Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) major, he was attracted to the company because it is “one of the top consulting firms in the region, with a very strong growth in recent years and an emphasis on financial services consulting”.
“In addition, the entrepreneurial spirit is visible in every aspect of the firm – in the flat structure, the type of projects, the company culture and the fast career progression,” he added.
Martin noted that there are many parallels between the liberal arts education he has received at Yale-NUS and consulting as a career.
“In consulting, it is all about problem-solving and successfully integrating and applying approaches or solutions from different fields. The Yale-NUS education aims precisely at developing this critical thinking ability in its students. For instance, in the Common Curriculum, we learn how to break down problems into smaller, manageable pieces and then target them with a multidisciplinary approach,” he explained.
Another student, Diyanah Kamarudin (Class of 2018), will head to leading global strategy consulting firm, L.E.K. Consulting, where she will be involved in data gathering and analysis through primary or secondary research.
Like Martin, Diyanah is also majoring in PPE. She echoes his view on the impact of the Common Curriculum, “The Common Curriculum has diversified my knowledge bank, which has allowed me to connect more meaningfully with the people I meet. This is very important in a field like consulting, which is a very network-driven industry.”
Martin Vasev (left) and Diyanah Kamarudin (right)
On why she decided to pursue a career in consulting, Diyanah explained that she wanted a career that “balances analytical and interpersonal skills”.
“As a consultant, I get to work on high level strategy problems using robust analysis but I would not need to be at my desk all day since I would also be interviewing people, meeting clients and working with my team,” she added.
Gordon Goh (Class of 2018) will be joining the Investment Banking Division at Barclays, where the team offers Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) advisory and capital raising and financing services, for corporations, governments and financial institutions in Southeast Asia.
“As an analyst, my primary role is to support the senior bankers in the origination and execution of deals through tasks ranging from creating pitch books to building financial models,” he said.
An Economics major, Gordon shared that his training in economics has taught him to “think at the margins, solve optimisation problems and be more critical of data”.
“It has also equipped me with a versatile framework to approach a wide array of issues,” he said. In addition, he shared that the opportunity to take classes outside of his specialisation have helped to shape how he approaches new problems. For example, he had the opportunity to take courses in other disciplines such as politics, computer science and mathematics, on top of the wide range of Common Curriculum courses.
Chong Woon Han (Class of 2018), a Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Sciences (MCS) major, will be joining JP Morgan as a software engineer. Woon Han became interested in statistics after taking Quantitative Reasoning, a course in the Common Curriculum.
Gordon Goh (left) and Chong Woon Han (right)
“I found myself having fun programming with R in the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) class back in my first year. The same course also got me interested in statistics. I decided to give MCS a try after my friend pointed out that I had a spark in my eye during our conversation about QR,” he reflected. For his capstone, Woon Han is experimenting with feature selection methods on trading algorithms in the US equities market.
On what she would miss most about college, Diyanah shared that it would be the professors. “They have demanded much of me intellectually but are always kind and interested in my well-being outside the classroom setting,” she said.
For Woon Han, the residential experience is something he will miss. “The constant exposure to new people and ideas, intense mealtime and late night discussions (sometimes debates) with friends, unwinding with suitemates after a long day – I will miss all of this and more after graduation,” he shared.