Yale-NUS College pilots capstone internship programme for students

14 October 2019

New programme enables students to apply their research capstone to industry challenges at technology companies Refinitiv and Shopee

Yale-NUS College has piloted a new programme that gives students the opportunity to apply their final year capstone project to industry challenges via industry internships.

In its pilot run this academic year, the programme is offered to final-year students in the Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Sciences (MCS) major. Students will work with industry partners on the companies’ projects while completing their capstone.

The four-year Yale-NUS curriculum includes the Common Curriculum, a set of courses that all Yale-NUS students study in their first two years, which introduces them to concepts and modes of inquiry across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. In the third year, students declare a major to gain deep knowledge in one area of study. This culminates in an original capstone project in their final year, under the guidance of Yale-NUS faculty or subject matter experts from outside the College. The capstone is a year-long project where Yale-NUS students engage with research in their major, produce original scholarship, and communicate their results to a variety of audiences.

This year, three students have been selected by financial technology company Refinitiv and ecommerce company Shopee to work as interns in the companies. These internships will form the core of the selected students’ capstone projects.

“We have introduced the internship capstone option to provide a learning experience that allows our students to apply the knowledge they have gained over the last four years in a manner that directly supports the students’ career goals. Internship opportunities enable Yale-NUS students to gain relevant skills and experience in their fields of interest. We believe that the opportunity to work on a capstone project with our industry partners helps our students bridge the transition from being a student to becoming an industry professional. This offers our students a chance to apply the skills learnt at the College to challenges grounded in real-world contexts,” said Yale-NUS College Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs) Professor Joanne Roberts.

The students will be involved in the companies’ projects in the areas of data management, project management methodology and machine learning, under the supervision of both a Yale-NUS academic advisor and a company supervisor.

One of the students, Ilia Kosar (Class of 2020) has recently started working in Refinitiv™ Lab, focusing on ideation, research and solution design. His responsibilities include carrying out complex market landscaping and opportunity sizing as well as developing the right approach to a product from commercial and technical standpoints.

“I think that this capstone internship is a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on experience in data science as well as exposure to project management techniques. I am excited to see how what I have learnt can be applied to help Refinitiv™ Lab better reach the approaches and outcomes they are seeking. The team is great and people are open to sharing their knowledge at any time. I am thrilled at the prospect of working at the Lab for the next six months,” said Ilia.

“Refinitiv™ Labs is evaluating and building cutting edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) industry solutions for the financial markets, leveraging Refinitiv’s world class data assets and financial infrastructure. We take internships at the Lab very seriously, selecting students who we believe will thrive at the intersection of data, tech and finance. With global locations in New York, San Francisco, Singapore and London, our interns work on live projects to gain real world experience in developing applied solutions for global adoption. Our experience with Yale-NUS interns has been extremely positive and this partnership further solidifies our commitment to contribute towards developing a world class data science talent pool in Singapore,” said Sanjna Parasrampuria, Head of Refinitiv™ Labs Asia.

Zhou Junjie, Chief Commercial Officer of Shopee and Head of Shopee Singapore, shared, “With the e-commerce sector growing at a fast pace, we believe that data literacy and technical expertise are imperative to succeed in this time and age, especially as demand for tech jobs in Singapore increases. We are heartened to be one of the first few industry partners for Yale-NUS’ new internship programme, which is in line with our vision to nurture and develop local talents’ capabilities in the technology and data science fields. At Shopee, we believe such partnerships are important to help students equip themselves with both technical and foundational skillsets necessary to succeed and thrive in today’s digital, data-driven world.”

Professor Roberts added that following this pilot, the College hopes to expand the internship capstone option to include more industry partners.

Experiential learning is an important component of a Yale-NUS education and through its Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE), the College offers a diverse range of opportunities that enhance students’ academic learning, including summer internships, leadership programmes, fellowships and study abroad.