16 March 2018: Graduating students contribute to Singapore

By Daryl Yang | Images by Yasunari Watanabe

Many Yale-NUS students are passionate about serving the communities around them and some graduating seniors have decided to do so through their careers.

One such student is Damian Lee (Class of 2018, above), who will be joining the Economic Development Board (EDB), a government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The EDB is responsible for strategies that enhance Singapore’s position as a global centre for business, innovation, and talent.

He will join the EDB’s Associates Programme, where he will be involved in work aimed at “promoting foreign investments and developing certain industries in Singapore.”

Damian was interested in the organisation because of its crucial role in Singapore’s economic growth. “EDB’s work has a very tangible impact on Singaporeans and the ultimate aim is to create good job opportunities for Singaporeans,” he shared.

He made the decision to join the organisation after a summer internship.

“During the internship, I found the work that EDB does to be challenging and complex. In addition, the collaborative and supportive culture at EDB allowed me to overcome any difficulties I faced and develop professionally,” he noted.

A recipient of the Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS), Tan Heng Yeng (Class of 2018, above) will be joining National Gallery Singapore (NGS), a visual arts institution which oversees the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

SgIS is a multi-industry scholarship offered in partnership with the Singapore Government, which provides a point of convergence for leading organisations in Singapore’s strategic sectors and bright minds aspiring to be leaders of tomorrow.

A Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) major, Heng Yeng decided to join NGS because she finds meaning in working to make the arts more accessible in Singapore. Widening its reach to all demographic groups for example migrant workers.

“My vision of a better society involves the embedding of the arts into everyday life and institutions to create a more empathetic, humane, and interconnected society. The National Gallery scholarship presented a wonderful way to take that on, and develop from and experience the different roles that the scholar programme provides,” she added.

On how her Yale-NUS education has prepared for a career with NGS, Heng Yeng shared that she has been privileged to receive many opportunities that will prepare her well for her future work at the Gallery. These ranged from a study trip to Tokyo to participate in an intensive theatre workshop and learn more about the Japanese arts ecosystem and cultural policy, a module on Orientalist art, to an internship with Oak Spring Garden Foundation where she helped to craft an online exhibition showcasing the artwork of forgotten women botanical artists.

Another student is Lee Koon Min (Class of 2018, above), who is headed to GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

Koon Min will be joining the GIC Professionals Programme (GPP), which is an 8-month rotational programme designed to give new hires an overview of the organisation’s business and expose them to various business areas. After the GPP, Koon Min is slated to join the infrastructure investment group, which is the same department that he interned with last summer.

“The infrastructure investment group evaluates opportunities in sectors specifically relating to infrastructure, such as energy generation, transportation, and wastewater management. We make selective investments based on these opportunities with the goal of achieving long-term outperformance. This ultimately benefits Singaporeans through GIC’s contribution to the government’s annual budget,” he added.

Like Damian, Koon Min’s internship convinced him to join GIC after graduation.

“During my internship, I worked on a live transaction in the renewable energy space. The learning curve was steep as I had not had any experience in private equity prior to this, but I enjoyed being challenged, found the work stimulating, and saw meaning in the work I was doing, he shared.

“Importantly, I appreciated that my colleagues were willing to both coach me as well as entrust me with real responsibilities. The internship experience convinced me that GIC was a place where I could see myself growing, and cemented my desire to return to the firm upon graduation.”

Koon Min shared that his Yale-NUS education has honed his analytical ability, which will help him effectively contribute to a highly competitive organisation like GIC.

Timothy Goh (Class of 2018, above) will be joining Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Singapore’s leading media organisation as a reporter after graduating.

A PPE major like Heng Yeng, Timothy shared that his experiences at Yale-NUS have equipped him with the skills for a career in the media industry.

“The multidisciplinary curriculum has allowed me to be more comfortable and confident in various fields other than my own, which is very important as a reporter when you’re interviewing a person who may be more knowledgeable than you in their special field,” he shared.

For instance, Timothy’s favourite course, Abnormal Psychology, is from outside his major.

“The course has been very useful in helping me understand myself and those around me, and allowed me to gain more insights into mental health issues, that are only just coming to the forefront of our society,” he noted.

On what he would miss about Yale-NUS after graduation, Timothy remarked that it would be the community and his friends.

“Whether it’s bumping into equally bleary-eyed suitemates first thing in the morning, seeing familiar faces in the dining hall at mealtimes, or having late-night conversations and spontaneous jamming sessions – I’m really going to miss my friends,” he said.

The others also echoed Timothy’s opinion. As Heng Yeng puts it, “I feel so blessed to be constantly surrounded by the incredibly talented, passionate, critical, and caring people of Yale-NUS, and the midnight conversations, spontaneous fun times, and deep growth that comes with our model of residential living.”