MICA (P) 111/07/2010
Issue 06 MARCH 2011
Our CEO comments on an all-rounded education. – Page 3
The Right Values
Managing Director of Continental Automotive Singapore Pte Ltd shares insights on the industry. – Page 10
Banking on Dreams
What lies within the finance sector?– Page 12
SIM’s Got Talent
Perspectives In photo: Judy Wong
ibes is now in it’s sixth issue and we are constantly keeping up with trends to share consolidated views from industry players, alumni and students with you. The economy has rebounded from its plunge in 2008 and since the impact on the finance industry, many have been skeptical about its prospects. This issue offers some insight to how our students feel and why they are continuing their career pursuit in this field. Two issues ago, we looked at holistic education in SIM. This topic casts a wide net of learning possibilities in our institution and we aren’t quite finished talking about them! Here, we bring our readers into areas previously uncovered, and have had our very own CEO, Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong give us some of his comments. As we move into the new year, we celebrate the fact that we constantly have a steady stream of budding student writers who are eager to come on board each issue. Here’s wishing everyone our readers, contributors and interviewees a great 2011!
Our partner universities
VIBES • MARCH 2011
Judy Wong Director Business and Marketing Relations email@example.com
• ifs School of Finance (ifs), UK • International Hotel Management Institute (IMI), UK • RMIT University (RMIT), Australia • SIM University (UniSIM), Singapore • The George Washington University (GWU), US • The University of Birmingham (UoB), UK • The University of Manchester (UoM), UK • The University of Sydney (UoS), Australia • The University of Warwick (Warwick), UK • University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (UB), US • University of London (UOL), UK • The University of Sheffield, UK
On cover: Long Jinyu Anna, student of SIM-UB Bachelor of Double Degree - Bachelor of Science (Business Administration) and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology); Shane Lee Xuan Rui, student of SIM-RMIT Bachelor of Business (Marketing); Yeap Shu Feng Laura, student of SIM-UB Bachelor of Arts (Psychology); Victoria Ann Lim Xiu Yan, student of SIM-UB Bachelor of Arts (Psychology); Melani Sugiharti The, student of SIM-UOL Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Accounting and Finance Vibes serves as a platform to highlight the achievements of SIM GE students, alumni as well as campus trends and happenings to industry partners and fellow students. Vibes is a bi-annual publication by SIM GE. Singapore Institute of Management Pte Ltd (SIM), 461 Clementi Road, Singapore 599491 Publishing Consultant: Red Ink Communications | printer: Shotech Press | ISSN: L011/06/2008
As education moves beyond academic studies, holistic education is fast becoming a norm within schools in Singapore. CEO of SIM Global Education explains the phenomenon.
In photo: Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong
vibrant culture exchange centre, SIM is host to students from more than 40 countries. SIM students pick up cultural insights from their fellow students or when they go on exchange programmes. There is one more secret ingredient. “Students must have the right attitude. We can open doors for you, but you have to go through them on your own. You also decide which door to take.” Adjunct Professor Lee Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong receiving the Public Service Medal for his contribution to education. urges students to build on their strengths, despite popular advice to just focus on weaknesses. “You improve in your weak areas, but you should also find your strong ones to help differentiate yourself from others.” There are many platforms in SIM to help them discover where they are best. He remembers Timothy Khoo Shi Xian, a SIM-UOL graduate of the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Economics and Management programme, who is also a national windsurfer and founder of the windsurfing club. He shares how Timothy was selected to be a part of a prestigious organisation not just because of his academic achievements, but his contributions and experience in windsurfing. Humility is also crucial. “You may know everything today, but tomorrow you may not,” quipped the professor. His advice to students – “Make contributions not for the sake of being rewarded. You may not be recognised immediately, but you will eventually.” VIBES • March 2011
olistic education means venturing beyond the four walls of the classroom.” “SIM places great emphasis on holistic development of our students,” shares Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong. The Chief Executive Officer of SIM Global Education sure walks the talk. In addition to having years of experience in the Information Technology (IT) industry prior to his tenure in the education sector, Adjunct Professor Lee is also a recipient of numerous public awards, including the prestigious Public Service Medal. To Adjunct Professor Lee, ‘holistic education’ equates to nurturing all-rounded students. He feels that the total package is what employers seek now. SIM’s 64 student clubs ranging from sports to music ensembles, are set up to help students achieve that end. “Playing the game or performing the music is important. But what really develops oneself is when you actively participate in the organisation and running of the club,” Adjunct Professor Lee explains. In these clubs, students often do more than just the activity itself. They need to take up roles in canvassing, gathering resources, planning and budgeting. Very frequently, they will also need to communicate with commercial companies. These experiences will give them a head start when they step into the corporate world. Undoubtly, the club activities can also train student’s mindset inculcating values like perseverance, confidence and competitiveness. VIBES newsletter is one good example. “Students learn writing and interview skills” pointed out Adjunct Professor Lee. These are important traits that they can carry with them beyond the classroom. The education environment also plays a part. A
■ campus news
Awarding the Stars SIM recently had their Annual Sports Night and gave out several awards to sportsmen whom have shone in their respective activities. This event seeks to By chan zhi yang recognise SIM’s sportsmen and women for their outstanding isAac contributions towards the school in their various sporting genres. The SIM Dragonboat team, which won the Prime Minister Trophy Award, was deemed Sports Team of the Year. Marian Poon and Han Delong won the SIM Sportswoman and Sportsman of the year respectively. Delong, former president of the SIM Dragon Boat Club, has participated in many competitions and led the team to victory by bagging three category gold medals in the Singapore River Regatta 2009, four gold medals for the Penang
ACCOLADES Breaking the Charts Champion paddlers showing off their prize!
Pesta Open Dragon Boat Race, and more recently, two gold medals as well as the prestigious Prime Minister Challenge Trophy during this year’s Singapore Dragon Boat Festival. Marian, with her positive attitude and never-say-die character, is the winner of three Singapore University Games (SUniG) Gold Medals (Touch Football, Bowling, Rugby).
SIM lights up Chingay
VIBES • MARCH 2011
SIM Incandescence made history by being the first SIM contigent at Chingay.
SIM Incandescence created a piece of SIM history when they became the first SIM contingent to be featured in the annual Chingay parade. On 11 & 12 Feb, 93 SIM GE students, led by dance captains from SIM DreamWerkz, performed in the Travelling Dance competition segment of Chingay. The inclusion of a dance competition within the parade marked a first in the 39-year history of Chingay. SIM Incandescence put up a valiant showcase which included dance moves inspired by Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures to symbolise
Singapore’s unique cultural identity. For their efforts, SIM Incandescence won the second prize, beating 17 other contingents, despite being one of few first-timers in the parade. Our heartiest congratulations to our students for doing us proud! Mrs Ho Soon Eng, Director of Student Life Division was very pleased with the achievements of SIM Incandescence. “We are all proud of you. Your determination, perseverance, dedication, commitment for excellence is worthy to emulate. Well done and thank you for keeping the SIM flag flying high!
The University at Buffalo, the State University of New York under the SIM-UB programme has had more of their students graduating with Honours compared to last year. This year saw 115 out of 186 students graduating with Honours, a 10% increase from last year’s graduating cohort, which had 56 out of 107 students graduating with Honours. Go Bulls!
SIM Floorball Women’s Team reclaims the IVP Challenge Cup The SIM Floorball Women’s Team recorded a resounding 6-1 victory over NYP to reclaim the IVP Challenge Cup 2010/11. This was also a sweet revenge for SIM as they had lost to 1-3 to NYP in a previous encounter during the group stages. With this latest win, SIM has lifted the trophy 3 times; 2008, 2009 and 2011. SIM has equaled NTU’s record since the inception of IVP Floorball in 2004.
campus news ■
Home to Harmony ACCOLADES
Traditional chinese calligraphy art on display.
The SIM International Students Night (ISN) 2010 was held at Chevrons on 16th November this year. Themed ‘Home to Harmony’, the sold-out event was jointly presented by five international student clubs; namely SIM Burmese Student Community, SIM Vietnamese Student Community, SIM Indonesian Student Community), SIM Chinese National Network and SIM International Minority Mix Students.
Vietnamese students putting up a brilliant dance performance.
Throughout the night, guests were entertained with a variety of performances. The guestof-honour for the night, SIM’s CEO Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong said, “I was, as always, impressed by the talents and energy of our international students. The performances were outstanding and I particularly liked the students from different countries performing together. Let’s have more mixed country performances next year!”
Exponential growth for the First-Class These 92 First Class Honours holders came from a plethora of academic backgrounds and nationalities. Furthermore, out of these 92 graduates, 11 came from SIM’s Diploma in Management Studies programme. SIM-UOL’s grading system has no bell curve, nor banks its issuing of First Class Honours recipients to a ratio system, but bases on how well each individual student performs over all three years, with a heavier emphasis or greater weightage on the second and third year’s results.
All smiles for the first prize award winners.
Industry Night allowed students, lecturers and industry to mingle and discuss their projects and career development prospects after graduation. Research Methods and Research Project challenges students to connect knowledge with practice and to think in ways to better our industry and Singapore.
VIBES • March 2011
The 25th Intake of the SIM-RMIT, Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management) programme recently concluded their annual Research, Industry and Awards Night on 9th November, 2010. This event showcases the research projects of all final year students and
Talent What would a fencer and a musician have in common? What makes an analyst and conversationalist alike? Diverse they may seem to be, this group of students are all leveraging on opportunities to pursue their interests while in school.
VIBES • MARCH 2011
By Koh Yun ting, Willy Ling AND Steffi Chua
ictoria Ann Lim Xiu Yan’s cheery smile and friendliness captivates one’s attention and betrays nothing of the sport that she plays, but SIM’s athletic fencer and captain of the Fencing Club has outstanding achievement in this demanding and strenuous sport. Victoria, student of SIMUB Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), has won gold in the Women’s Epee Individual in the Asian Varsity Fencing Championship 2010 and silver in the Women’s Epee Team during the Southeast Asian Fencing Championships 2010 amongst many other regionalcompetitions. Victoria also excelled academically, having successfully obtained the SIM GE scholarship under the ‘Sports & Artistic’ category, which allows her to pursue both fencing and a tertiary education without a
heavy financial burden. “The SIM GE scholarship has allowed me to focus on fencing and SIM has shown tremendous support for me.” Victoria also added, “SIM is very supportive of my athletic interest as compared to other universities and the scholarship was an irresistible deal,” when quizzed about the reason she chose SIM. As SIM’s fencing captain, she also has the opportunity to lead and learn from teammates and is constantly striving to push team towards greater heights. At the end of the day, Victoria, with the help of teammates, is enjoying the privilege of “pursuing many activities that are more fun than studying, yet being able to study all at the same time.” Enjoying a youthful, holistic and colourful school life in SIM, Victoria is preparing to achieve a whole lot more.
feature Be it pursuing his Bachelor of Business (Marketing) at SIM-RMIT, or leading an ensemble of virtuosi, Shane Lee Xuan Rui is a master of all trades in his own right. The 23-year-old makes excellent testimony of an allrounder, not just as the recipient of the prestigious SIM GE scholarship, but also as a leader in his many endeavours. To many, the idea of possessing a scholarship sounds distant, but not Shane, who believes that one can achieve whatever one puts his heart to. “Prioritising is key. Even after getting the scholarship, I am required to perform consistently well in my studies. It has cultivated in me a sense of great responsibility and discipline.” Other than good academic performance, the scholarship which falls under the ‘Sports and Artistic’ category requires an impressive track record in artistic talents; as proven adequately by Shane’s resume of artistic pursuits. Shane is president of the String Ensemble, which consists of members who have prior experience in their respective instruments. Established one and a half years ago, the Ensemble has been regularly engaged to perform for some 31 internal and external events to date. Some of these events include SIM Arts Festival, Graduation Ceremonies and YOG Partner Recognition and Appreciation dinner. Despite it being a CCA, Shane has to work with a ‘corporate mindset’, handling budgets and managing events. To spread the love for their craft, Shane and his team conducted violin workshops for beginners last year; keep a lookout for the second one this year if you are keen on picking up a new instrument! Shane was also the producer of the latest school musical Thoroughly Modern Millie Junior. The same musical directed by Nicole Stinton of Stint On Stage. It scored a huge success last year despite it being the first musical produced by SIM-Film and Performing Arts Society receiving full house attendence and rave reviews from the public.
It was certainly a haughty task orchestrating a team of 40 in producing this behemoth project, Shane was challenged to make fast and accurate decisions. “Every decision made will have an impact on the success of the musical...I have learnt to cope with the stress and responsibility of ensuring every decision I make is as Shane performing with the SIM String precise as possible,” Ensemble at the Atrium. Shane also added that it is important to trust your teammates. “Everyone played their roles well... Despite facing time constraints and challenges along the way, it is with the end in mind that the team managed to pull through and put up a well- received show.” In addition to his already long list of achievements, Shane also co-founded 6oz bar and café with two friends, one of them an undergraduate from SIM-RMIT.
day basis. With that extra push coupled with valuable knowledge, students find themselves constantly striving for improvement. Among many other things, the students also discover various self-improvement workshops in pertinent areas yet usually untouched by other schools, like Networking with Success, How to Project Yourself Professionally and Secure the Job by famous image guru Jill Lowe and Effective Job Search and Resume Writing all of which providing platforms for growth. “If there is one thing that students have now,” continued Laura, “is that we all come out different from others. We go through various processes that help us in our Critical Thinking like during the mock interview and brainstorming sessions when the career coach would stop us and point out something we had not considered, helping us to realise various perspectives of things”.
VIBES • March 2011
Laura Yeap Shu Feng, Director of Welfare (2008) for University at Buffalo Student Council and President for the year 2009, is also a recipient of the All-Round Student (ARS) Scholarship for 2010. One might picture a nerd spouting off like a smart alec, but in person, the SIMUB Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) student glows with confidence and charisma while possessing the humility of a lamb. When asked about the ARS programme and the scholarship she received, Laura explained that the uniqueness of this programme is one which emphasises frequently forgotten known key factors concerning job hunts and standing out compared to many other graduates. On top of that, the programme also provides participants with private career coaches who follow up and give steady reminders on tasks and areas which need to be acted upon on a day to
■ feature Every once a month, a group of international students will gather for an evening of good conversation and cross cultural fellowship. They come from every part of the world, primarily from the Asian counterparts such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China and India with a minority from Brunei, Mauritius, and South Korea. Conversation topics range from the bane and boon of social media to ways of communication with your family back at home. Three SIM students came to notice a common problem encountered by most international students; a struggle to
discussion and in this way international students will get to listen to how we speak,” Dennis said. Café sessions usually start with ice-breaker games, a topic in question will then be fielded out to various groups for discussion, after which a representative from each group will present their ideas to everyone. A wrap up and summary of the topic for the day is usually given after their presentations. One of our conversationalists, Tan Junjie from the SIMRMIT Bachelor of Business (Management) programme, shared that these sessions have been useful for Chinese students like
speak proper English because it is not their native language. They, along with the committee of SIM International Friendship Group (IFG), initiated an informal meeting and resolved to break down the barriers of communication. It slowly developed into a monthly affair, with a constant growing number of participants. Better known as Conversation Café, this fellowship belongs to SIM-IFG which was started up for the sole purpose of improving the English standards of international students. Dennis Loo Wai Kin, an undergraduate from the SIMUOL Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Business, currently the president of the Conversation Café, explained that the Café is not a co-curricular activity but an informal avenue for students to interact and build public speaking confidence; a comfortable environment where students are encouraged to speak up and exchange ideas through small group discussions. “Many of them (international students) are afraid to speak up in school for fear of speaking wrongly or out of turn. As such, many of them find it hard to communicate to local students and lecturers. We’re here to create a stress-free environment for everyone to communicate in English confidently.” The president continued to explain, “As for speaking well and speaking right, there are Singaporeans who will be facilitating the small group
him, “We used to directly translate spoken Chinese to English, which resulted in miscommunication. Thus we had to improve our English standards to that of local students. Café has helped to sharpen our spoken English and local students have been helpful in sharing local cultures and mannerisms as well.” Another student Sandrine Koo Chim Fong who came from Mauritius, currently undertaking Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Accounting and Finance with SIM-UOL, testified, “The most challenging part of Café sessions is when we have to verbalise our thoughts in good English! I’m certain that through Café, I managed to improve my English, it was especially tough for me to converse fluently initially because my mother tongue is French!” Sessions conclude with Dennis speaking about related subjects, such as how social media can be a practical tool for students. He and the core Café team impart knowledge on ways to maximise learning capacity in school such as effective study skills. Of late, the team introduced Enrichment Café for students who are keen on learning technical skills to conquer school presentations and assignments.
VIBES • MARCH 2011
Back row from left to right: Irvandi, Tommy, Felix, Jun Jie, Dennis, Eunice, Joseph, Su Fang, Van, Suman, Rachel Front row from left to right: Ivy, Charlie, Sri Yani
The Resident Leaders
“The most memorable event is the Deepavali celebration, where I got to learn how the festival came about and was spoiled with authentic Indian food and sweets. The Indian students danced and we have people of different nationalities, such as Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese to join us.” Melani Sugiharti The, a SIM-UOL Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Accounting and Finance student, recalled fondly about her favourite event. “The Korean student I met was different from what I’d thought she would be as portrayed in those Korean dramas,” said Long Jinyu, Anna. The current student undertaking SIM-UB Double Degree in Bachelor of Science (Business Administration) and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) explained how she was challenged in her perspective of people from different cultures through the experience. Anna and Melani are Resident Leaders (RLs) of the SIM GE campus which houses many students from different countries. Anna is a Chinese national while Melani’s is an Indonesian. While both of them are different in their heritage and cultural background, they are united in their passion of helping fellow students from other countries settle in a new environment. Melani talks about the main objective of RLs, which is to
integrate new students in the hostel. Hence, both of them have participated and facilitated many activities organised for the students living in the hostel. A holistic education is important as school is not simply about gaining knowledge, therefore, the seven RLs have organised many activities ranging from night-cycling, Deepavali celebration, Korean Language and Culture workshop, volunteering at old folks home and Futsal and cricket competition and many other sporting events. Anna shared that the hostel is “a comfortable environment and the RLs are sincere in meeting the needs of the students as they understand how it feels to be away from home.” Through the host of activities organised, both RLs have matured. “Being an RL gave me a sense of responsibility which motivates me to become more discipline and to strive to be a role model,” added Anna. “As an RL I’ve learnt things beyond the classroom like leadership and my stereotype about people are broken,” said Melani. The RLs not only have a vibrant school life, but their characters are also shaped further, developing them not just as students but as an individual prepared for the world.
of various sorts and dimensions. Ms Goh also explained that the “very common complaints of employers is that graduating students are not well prepared for the real world of business and of work. It is with this issue in mind that the objective (of ATP) is to help graduates fit into the real world more easily and more effectively.” Though a numerical value cannot be placed on results of the programme, the students are trained to keep abreast with environment development and analytical skills, both essential and important skills to possess. Also debunking the myth that the programme is only for those interested in careers specifically related to Analysts, Ms Goh sheds some light on this saying that analytical skills are important to all, specifically those aspiring to excel in managerial roles.
VIBES • March 2011
Though many think of Analysts as a role conceptualised within the recent computer era, Ms Goh Ai Yat explains that the role has long been in existence, but the computerisation of the working environment has enhanced the work of analysts very significantly. As the Managing Consultant of the SIM GE Analysts Training Program (ATP), Ms Goh goes on to explain that, “Sourcing of information has always been a key factor in analysts’ work and the accessibility to databases has enable analysts to expedite their work more efficiently and effectively.” Through the ATP, students are trained in the role of analysts specifically in the business industry with both the technical know-how and the actual practical hands-on sessions. With the emphasis on the practical aspect of the role, be it an interest as a financial analyst, industry analyst or simple a business analyst, students are taught how to conduct analysis
Driven strongly by passion, and steered by tactful time management, Mr Lo Kien Foh, Managing Director, Continental Automotive Singapore Pte Ltd, embodies the ideal of a lifelong learner – a characteristic SIM strives to instill in its students.
VIBES • MARCH 2011
By Laila Humairah, Dony Sukardi and Jesslyn Chance
n alumni of the SIM-RMIT Master of Finance programme, Mr Lo Kien Foh is a poised individual; one would be drawn to his monologue of valuable experiences. Having previously earned an engineering Master’s degree more than a decade ago, Mr Lo felt the need to strengthen his knowledge in the finance industry. The frequency of travelling to meet clients in various countries and juggling studies and work did not hinder him from pursuing a Master’s degree in Finance, for his thirst for learning was much stronger. Mr Lo believed that it is vital to appreciate figures in the finance industry, instead of merely retrieving it. This was something extra which he felt was acquired through the SIM-RMIT Master of Finance programme. It provided him with both finance and accounting aspects of the extensive subject, which was what Mr Lo appreciated most. It has equipped him with an excellent perspective on finance, which encompasses trends in the market as well as progress of companies. Mr Lo also found himself a notch higher in terms of approaching problems, where he believes step-by-step processes are most effective. As with most pursuits, the going did get tough at times for Mr Lo during the course of the programme. Juggling multiple hats as a family man, an employee and a postgraduate student at SIM-RMIT, Mr Lo asserts that effective time management was something he thoroughly needed to exercise. While he feels blessed and grateful for a fully supportive family, he also ensured that he never missed a lecture, for he believed the knowledge gained from sitting in the lectures were of far more quality than just reading the study material given. In addition, Mr
Lo always made sure he put every minute of his time to good use. “I was always carrying my notes wherever I go,” he said. This insistent characteristic on seizing every opportunity to catch up on his studying materials and managing his time well proved to be Mr Lo’s recipe for success. Having experienced these challenges firsthand, Mr Lo understood the fears and concerns that many working adults have towards pursuing higher education. To counter these perceptions, the Managing Director of Continental Automotive Singapore Pte Ltd led by example, encouraging his employees to continue learning and provides ample opportunities for them to do so. Workshops and work-related sponsorships for pursuing higher education are among efforts to motivate lifelong learning in employees. Continental Automotive Singapore even has a company library, facilitated by the employees themselves through an online portal and catalogue. “We make learning a part of our everyday lives,” Mr Lo shares. This ingenious feature in the company heightens the accessibility of the journals and technical books, which allows employees to browse and retrieve the books right in the comfort of the office. Being one who knows both the ups and downs of the industry, Mr Lo offers valuable advice to working adults who wish to pursue higher education. He believes that one should set aside time for learning, as well as being responsible for managing their time. It is also vital to hold true to your passion and let it guide you. “It’s not easy, but you will eventually find your way to do it.”
Corporate View ■
Nurturing the New Generation Managing Director of Continental Automotive Singapore Pte Ltd provides a few pointers for young graduates, where a thirst for learning and patience are key. Mr Lo shares the importance of continuous learning to keep up with the changes in the industry.
in technical skills is very important. Secondly, having the right attitude is as important as those technical skills, if not more. If a person carries with him good technical skills, but not the right attitude, nothing can be done to change him or her. On the other hand, if the person’s technical skills are not that good, but he is willing to learn, explore and do more, he will excel further.” Mr Lo also advises new recruit candidates not to rush in their working journey and appreciate the process. “Do not jump too fast. Do everything step by step. Do not be afraid of not getting promotion. If you are good, it will eventually come. Make sure that you are competent in the area that you are in. Of course, it all comes with good attitude.” In contrast to employers who favour experienced candidates to fresh graduates, Mr Lo believes in grooming, growing and training fresh graduates and making sure that they develop in the company. Mr Lo sees the importance of diversity in any organisation. “Each of them carries a different value proposition in the company; the older group is very knowledgeable and experienced, while the younger group comes with new ideas and creativity. We cannot be stagnant at what we are doing. We need new ideas.” Leading the pack as one of the most successful companies in the automotive industry, Continental Automotive look forward to prosperous years ahead, making these pointers valuable to new graduates.
By Laila Humairah, Dony Sukardi and Jesslyn Chance
VIBES • March 2011
ith annual sales of more than 25.5 billion euro for 2010, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide and currently employs some 149,000 in 46 countries. Continental Automotive Singapore Pte Ltd has about 550 employees, of which 90 per cent are engineers. Continental Automotive Singapore believes in providing learning platforms for its employees. “In the company, we talk about continuous learning. We want employees, especially the engineers to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge. We tell the managers, if there is opportunity, send the people for training,” says Mr Lo. “Not only that, Continental Automotive Singapore also stresses the importance of soft skills, such as project management, negotiation skills, marketing skills and people management. SIM is one of the places where we send our people for training,” Mr Lo mentions. With the growing economy in Asia, Mr Lo sees that there will be a lot of competition and big growth in the market. “We will have good time employing people as compared to few years back during the financial crisis. However we have to be in good shape before moving on,” he says. There are two qualities that Continental Automotive seek for in when employing. “For fresh graduates, we cannot expect working experience from them. Firstly, having built a good foundation
Banking on Dreams Doom and gloom has engulfed the financial industry since 2008. Once the most sought after job sector, with graduates and young professionals yearning for a slice of the pie. The glamour and prestige attached to the sector was second to none. One may wonder how the financial sector has evolved since the demise of Wall Street. In this article, we feature three distinctively different young SIM graduates who all have a burning desire for finance.
Unwavering Passion Zelcy Teo Hua Qian Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Banking and Finance, SIM-UOL By sow wan jing and Foo sze shuan jerome
mere 22 years of age, Zelcy Teo has already accumulated experiences in reputable banks like UBS and Bank of America (BOA). A self-motivated individual with a clear goal of her career path, Zelcy is now certain that her passion lies in the finance sector. If one were to enquire about her career choice two years ago, she would be hard pressed coming up with a reply. After completing her ‘A’ levels, Zelcy like all budding students were contemplating their choice of courses in University. However, she was ambivalent. Zelcy took a year off from studies to find her calling. Her job experiences included Singapore Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) and The Supreme Court. None ignited her passion more than her eight months stint in UBS and a subsequent two month placing in BOA. When quizzed further, Zelcy pinpointed the banking culture as the key factor that piqued her interest. “It is an extremely competitive and fast paced environment to work in. Independent learning is the name of the game and prioritisation is paramount. The chance to express myself, initiate my own decision making and availability of abundant learning opportunities was significant
to me. In spite of tight datelines and overflowing workload, the adrenaline rush keeps me going and yearning for more.” she mused. At a juncture where many banking professionals feared for their future in light of the financial crisis, Zelcy had the dubious honour of experiencing firsthand how the banking culture was turned 360 degrees. “The office environment was awfully quiet, such that one could hear the rustling leaves outside. You would be hard pressed to find anyone joking or laughing. The atmosphere was surreal to say the least.” Instead of feeling discouraged and disillusioned by what was the greatest financial catastrophe since the great depression, the inquisitive self in her increased two folds. What intrigued her was how such an event could have crippled the whole economic system, where the foundations have been built for centuries. Having witness the event with her very own eyes, she wants to comprehend the mechanism of it and how it can be prevented. Zelcy may just be the responsible financial professional that the world needs at the moment!
VIBES • MARCH 2011
The adrenaline rush keeps me yearning for more.
Left: Chris and Zelcy shares what fuel their burning passion for the finance sector. Photo by: Ryan Ong
The Next Remiser King Chris Lim Jew Liang Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Banking and Finance, SIM-UOL stock price fell substantially owing to refinancing fears and a sell off by a majority shareholder, he sensed an opportunity to buy the undervalued stock at 17 cents. It has since doubled in value. Chris counts Peter Lynch, the former head of the previously obscure Magellan Fund as his role model. From 1977 until his resignation in 1990, the fund had grown from a mere $18 million in assets to more than $14 billion with more than 1,000 individual stock positions. What impressed Chris was that even when investors were cashing out and the stock price plummeted amounting to losses of billion of dollars, Peter Lynch stood steadfast to his principles and continued to have faith in his stock picks. On the industry outlook, Chris concurs with analysts that equities in Asia will continue to reach new highs. With the number of financial seminars and courses available exploding exponentially in light of the financial crisis, he believes now is a great opportunity for investors to enrich themselves further. As Former Coca-Cola Company chief executive Neville Isdell revealed, don’t stop learning.
VIBES • March 2011
A quick witted and tenacious individual, Chris’s gusto for the bourses market is unparalleled. He made his first foray into the stock market during his Junior College days and has gone a long way since then. In a span of a few years, Chris has seen his portfolio grow to a sizable amount. The return rate of investment is over 100 percent. He credits this to being adaptable and having a flexible stock strategy. The UOL Banking and Finance course has also helped to solidify his financial fundamentals. “There is no one superior way of investing. Trading strategies have to change with investment and financial climate. However, if you have a solid thesis of the company, don’t be swayed by others. As Jim Rogers mentioned, to succeed in investing, you must be able to exhibit good judgment and have courage to act on your conviction” says Chris. Given China’s robust economic growth in recent years, Chris is understandably optimistic about China companies. One of his best investments to date has been China Essence, an S-Chip. Even though the
Right: Shane with Rosemary Gosling, Director, External Study during SIM-UOL achievement night, LSE. Photo by: Felix Ker
VIBES • MARCH 2011
• S-Chips are Chinese companies listed on the Singapore Exchange. • A financial instrument is either cash, evidence of an ownership interest in an entity, or a legal agreement to receive, or deliver, cash or another instrument with monetary value. • A derivative has a value, based on the expected future price movements of an underlying asset, such as a share or a currency. • A typical stock trading game starts with the players receiving a sum of virtual money for investment, which are to be made after assessing stock quotes (often from real life). There could be specific goals, such as to multiply the money to a certain amount within a period, but the objective could simply be to achieve the highest portfolio returns. More importantly, the aim of playing simulated online trading in class is to learn how stock trading works, risk free and without capital requirements. Special rules could be implemented. For instance, in a University of Buffalo MGF 301 Corporation Finance class, only one transaction per player is allowed daily, to prevent speculations.
A Part of the Engine Shane Wong Khing Loon Alumni, BSc (First Class Hons) in Banking and Finance, SIM-UOL Shane Wong’s interest began with an attraction to the stock markets when he was still in junior college. Fast forward to five years later, he is currently a fresh first class honours graduate from the SIM-UOL Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Banking and Finance programme and an Operations Associate with Macquarie Private Wealth Asia. While the world has just come out of the worst financial crisis, the finance sector remains essential to most economies. Shane recognises that it is an industry with abundant opportunities. However, it was his curiosity on the mechanisms of the financial markets that initially drew him in. From there, he decided to pursue a finance related degree and went on to embark on a learning journey of understanding cash, equities, debt instruments, derivatives, foreign exchange. His favourite module was Valuation and Securities Analysis, which he revealed would be especially useful as he intends to take the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam. As an Operation Associate, he works in a team that performs settlement for clients. The job is back-end, but the team can be considered as the “engine” of the bank. Trades are executed from the front office by relationship
managers, investment analysts and client advisors through the middle office. Shane’s team then liaise with front office, middle office and other counterparties, such as banks and financial intermediaries. It oversees the making of payments and receipt of funds to settle clients’ trades, which includes cash, equities, foreign exchange and derivatives. Shane, who thrives on team working, personally finds motivation in the work culture and environment of his current job. The lack of serious hierarchical barrier facilitates communication, encourages cooperation and ultimately boost everyone’s morale. “The atmosphere of this company is awesome, and people are friendly,” he quips. The finance industry is huge, ranging from consumer banking to institutional banking, from brokerage firms to funds management companies. Shane admits that he does not have a well-defined idea in what job he will be doing in the future. Therefore, he stresses the importance of positive mindset and correct attitude. In bank operations, problem solving and decision making occur on a daily basis, accumulating to one’s experience. For current students, Shane urges us to be bold and inquisitive when we start out in the near future.
Poised to fly!
ON THE JOBS
It is said that most successful men have achieved their distinction not by having opportunities presented to them but by developing the opportunities that are at hand. Mr Myo Min Thu, a 2009 graduate of SIM-University of London (UOL) Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Banking and Finance, is doing just this; he is progressively capitalising on life’s chances as he works his way up the corporate ladder.
candidates present for the interview were graduates from various national universities and business schools across Singapore. The selection process involved a three-round interview and a rigorous five-hour written exam, and Myo believes that it came down to his presentation and other soft skills that enabled him to ultimately secure his dream job. Myo is currently a Manager in Vietnam, SilkAir (S) Pte Ltd, stationed at danang. He is responsible for both the commercial and operational aspects of the entire danang station. Myo firmly believes that soft skills such as presentation and public speaking are crucial when entering a corporate environment. Possessing these skills is what eventually separates one graduate from the other and helps one stays competitive. He shared that SIM has an excellent platform, through its clubs and activities, for nurturing such skills. His most cherished memories at SIM were in 2008 when he was given the rare opportunity to be a part of the SIM-Myammar disaster relief group; that travelled to delta areas of Myanmar carrying aid and relief supplies to those affected by cyclone Nargis – one of the worst natural disasters to have struck the nation. He urges students to have confidence in themselves and believe in their abilities. “Your degree is just the foundation. What separates you from the crowd is your ability to leverage your soft skills and cash-in on the opportunities that come your way.”
By Kumar Prashant
VIBES • March 2011
yo Min Thu, a Myanmar national, has always dreamt of standing tall in the corporate world. He came to Singapore and joined SIM to study business aiming to one day realise that dream. He enrolled for the Diploma in Management Studies (DMS) programme, a course that gave him a flavour of the various business disciplines. He was particularly fascinated by finance and the various banking structures. This helped him crystalise his thoughts and led him to pursue his SIM-UOL Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Banking and Finance. Myo believes that an indepth understanding of the financial structures and economics, which lie at the heart of every business, particularly in the corporate world, is crucial for the progression in one’s career. Even though Myo thrives on the philosophy of a go-getter, he believes that finding the right balance is essential. Aside from his passion in finance, he is a soccer fanatic and loves playing whenever there are opportunities. He is also an avid reader and makes it a point to keep abreast with the latest market trends by carefully following a wide diaspora of business journals and periodicals. Although soccer and reading help Myo stay sharp, his real passion lies in travelling. He made it a point to travel to one new destination every holiday and travelled to exciting places in asia during his studies at SIM. Craving for more, Myo plans to travel to exotic lands and explore the mysteries the world has to offer. Driven by his zest for travelling and with a sound foundation from his degree programme, Myo secured his first job at Myanmar Airways International (MAI) as a sales and marketing executive. In early 2010, after spotting an opening, Myo decided to advance his career and put himself up to tougher challenges by moving on to SilkAir. Amongst the pool of
■ ON THE JOBS
Looking Out-of-the-CUBE Unlike the countless adults all over the world who drag themselves to work every morning, Pauline Chung Bao Ling looks forward to hers. Pauline holds on to her dreams, and happily walks a path less travelled.
Following my passion has given me something to look foward to every morning!
VIBES • MARCH 2011
By Sng Jun Xian Eugene
t has been Pauline Chung’s dream since young to work in the design industry, and taking up studies in design would have naturally been the next step for her after her ‘A’ levels. However, she ended up taking the Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance) offered by the SIM-RMIT University, according to her parents’ wish for her to study a more practical course. Still, she was determined to enter the design industry. Upon graduation, she started searching for jobs that would combine design with her newfound business knowledge. An opportunity to work with Concepts Asia Publishing Pte Ltd (CAPPL) – the publication company behind three design magazines, Cubes, Lookbox and Lookbox Annual – presented itself at the perfect time and she took up the offer immediately. As an account servicing executive at CAPPL, Pauline serves as the liaison person between clients and the creative team at her company. She has to communicate with clients and forward their advertorial requirements for the next issue to the Arts and Editorial department. Should her clients require changes to be made to the completed advertorials, she will help find solutions. Dealing with clients from all walks of life, is one of the greatest challenges in her job. “I have to understand every single client of mine and ensure that we communicate effectively to avoid any misunderstandings and achieve a satisfactory outcome.” Undaunted, she sees such challenges as
opportunities to strengthen herself. Her advice on handling tough clients, “Focus on being professional and listen to what your client is trying to bring across”. She believes that adopting a sincere approach, by treating her clients as potential friends and not just mere professional acquaintances, would allow them to open up more to her. What she likes about working in CAPPL is the emphasis on a work-life balance. “After closing each issue, we try to find time together as a team to enjoy and have a break. For example, after we closed our previous Lookbox issue, we decided to gather and watch the movie ‘The September Issue’ that documents on how Anna Wintour puts together the September issue of the American Vogue magazine.” Experiencing how each issue is put together and witnessing the team effort behind it gives her great satisfaction. She also gets to learn more about design, meet internationally renowned designers like Tom Dixon and Barbara Barry, and attend exclusive product launches – excellent perks for anyone with a passion in design. “Always stand firm on what you believe in despite others’ words. Know that in every opportunity there is something to learn. Follow your passion and don’t just throw your dreams away simply because you didn’t follow the common path. Be unique, and be bold to do what you are passionate about. Following my passion has given me something to look forward to every morning! I get to work towards what I envision, and I enjoy the entire process.”
Photography is Me “My photography, my world.” This is how Desmond Yee Weng Chong expresses his passion for photography. Together with Felix Ker Shiloong, both the president and vice president of SIM Photography Club share their experiences as photographers.
Nevertheless, the one who has passion, willingness to learn, and ability to portray the mood and feel the scene will be a good photographer. It is also important to have the right techniques and strong fundamentals of photography, use your equipments effectively, and try different angles for a better photo. “Shoot more and you will be better off.” These two passionate photographers are both freelancing mainly in events and weddings. While Desmond enjoys documenting what is happening at that very moment, Felix uses it as an opportunity to meet and interact with people, he said “I am happy when clients see my photos and they smile. For more details on Desmond’s works, please visit blog.desmondyee.com and www.reddotproduction.com and details on Felix’s works, please visit http://modishmedia.com.
By Earlyn Arjanggi Ang
VIBES • March 2011
esmond embarked upon photography in 2008 after he bought his first Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera for a trip to Vietnam. His initial desire for capturing moments stirred up his love for photography. At present, while pursuing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Information Systems and Management programme from University of London (UOL), Desmond also runs his own business in photography, web design, and print media services. To him, photography will be different for everyone as it is peculiar to each individual. “What you are creating is unique to you as a photographer. It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction when I bring together my knowledge about cameras with my choice of subject matter. It is a very creative process and personal expression of how you see the subject whether it is people, landscape, flower, food, or animal. Although mistakes happen frequently, I want to learn from them and it urges me to do better next time.” His good friend, Felix, who is also a blogger, programmer, designer, and technology enthusiast, had been interested in photography since 2005. As photography has become a part of his life, Felix brings a camera every day without fail so that he will not miss the moments that he cannot capture again. To him, there is no such thing as good or bad photo as photography is a piece of art every time you frame the moment. It is also a sport that trains his patience with everything in life. Felix, an undergraduate in the SIM-UOL Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Business programme, often enjoys opportunities to shoot in big events. One of them is when he was selected by Singapore Polytechnic to join the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Bank Meeting in 2006. In December 2010, SIM Student Life and Services also gave him a chance to shoot in Chiang Mai, Thailand for the ASEAN University Game and National Day Rally Youth Forum 2010. Felix also shot for the SIM Casting Call 2010 on-ground event together with Desmond. Being an EXCO in the SIM Photography Club has honed their skills to organise events, plan, make friends, and practice photography to a greater extent. To them, everyone can pick up a camera and shoot.
Twenty-five years The innovative relationship that SIM has with the University of London (UOL) is now 25-years-old. Rosemary Gosling, Director of UOL International Programmes at LSE, weigh the differences between then and now, and how social networking has changed the way of things.
VIBES • MARCH 2011
hen SIM first made contact with the University of London over 25 years ago, the world and SIM was a different place. There were few International programmes in Singapore and few people in Singapore studied at a degree level; there were few opportunities for those studying at the Polytechnics to continue their studies after graduating with their Diplomas. The innovative relationship of SIM and the University of London has provided opportunities for so many in Singapore and across the world. In the 80’s, communication with our colleagues at SIM was by fax and telephone calls were prohibitively expensive. It was also expensive to travel and yet the very strong bonds between the two institutions were cemented at this time. Since then, the London programme has thrived and developed over the last 25 years and both the University of London and SIM have learnt so much from each other. The physical and management structures have changed at SIM and so has the student experience. Students have more choices; there are many more degree programmes offered at SIM apart from the ten London degrees in addition to the Diploma in Economics and the Diploma for graduates. The number of University of London students has grown from 50 in 1986 to over 9,200 this academic year. Teaching at SIM is also now very different from the 1980’s, as the new technology has allowed a variety of deliveries. The SIM student portal allows students to register directly
online. They can now access the University via the portal which directs them to the VLE and the online library. A range of support for students is available, ranging from online lectures to discussion and debates to worked exercises and examples! Students also blog about their lives in SIM and we are allowed to see the ‘world’ from their perspective. Very interesting indeed! For potential students, a range of online resources are available to assist prospective students in their decision-making .There are just under 23,000 Facebook fans and over 100 discussions live on Facebook. In addition, there have been over 50,000 video views on our YouTube channel and almost 6000 followers on Twitter. When students have finished their studies with the University, they are invited to join the Alumnus group –there are over 23,000 active alumnae around the world – a community of University of London graduates who can help each other. The research on social networking has found that it can enhance and cement social relationships. My experience at SIM over the last 25 years indicates that this is indeed the case. The relationships with lecturers and students at SIM have been strengthened by email and social networking. Students value face to face teaching and new support we and SIM can offer has encouraged them to be more responsible for their learning. We look forward to the next 25 years of active learning with the London programme at SIM!
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SIM GE CAMPUS’ HALLS OF RESIDENCE Assimilating Foreign Students To Living And Studying In Singapore The SIM GE Campus’ Halls of Residence is home to 400 foreign students studying in SIM. A “home away from home”, the Halls of Residence provides a range of facilities in a lush green environment for students to live and study in. A plethora of events such as sports activities, talks and workshops are organised within the Halls of Residence through Resident Leaders and the SIM International Student Office. The objective is to break cultural barriers amongst foreign students, assimilating them into Singapore fabric and the SIM family.
SIM GE Campus at a glance • 6 halls of residence with 247 fully airconditioned rooms and 428 beds • Room choice of single, double and triple occupancy • 4 studio apartments for visiting parents and faculty • Laundry area, pantry and cefeteria • Function rooms to hold personal development and career counselling workshops • A common study room available for quiet revision • Wireless network access across campus • Sports courts for futsal, tennis and basketball • Outdoor jogging track and field deck • Indoor gym • Dance studio and multi-purpose room • TV and Games lounge • BBQ pits • Outdoor yoga pad