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digest A quarterly newsletter from the German Institute of Science and Technology — TUM Asia

April - June 2014 Issue



Credits: TUM Asia (Photo “Meeting The Powerhouses”) / TUM (Photo “What TUM Means To Me”) / Attila Áron Nagy (“Fusing Chemistry & 3D Printing”)

in this issue 4-7 8-9

10-11 12-15 16-17 18-19

Feature: Career & Internship Fair Career Essentials Workshops Open House Activities Choosing Engineering: Wolfgang A. Herrmann,

President of TUM

Alumni Interview: Attila Áron Nagy The Chatter

This newsletter is published by: Office of Corporate Communications German Institute of Science and Technology – TUM Asia Pte Ltd 10 Central Exchange Green #03 – 01 Pixel Building Singapore 138649 Tel: +65 6777 7407 Email: Website: Facebook: CPE Registration No. 200105229R CPE Registration Period: 13/06/2011 to 12/06/2017

d i r e c t o r ’s m e s s a g e

Photo: TUM Asia


ith an increasing number of students enrolling in our Singapore campus, the team at TUM Asia also finds new opportunities and challenges as we grow. One challenge this year was to successfully connect our students, graduands and alumni to our strong network of companies and helping to build a pipeline of talent into the industry. We constantly receive feedback from industry on a lack of talent to push for new developments. Hires are either well-versed technically and lacking in business perspective or they possess a strong business acumen but lack the technical know-hows needed to execute projects. With roles becoming condensed and businesses reaching out to international audience, talent is now an understated term. We need entrepreneurs; not simply those who leave the companies and set up their own businesses, but employees who work and think like they own the business. With such evolving change, the education system must adapt to the industry’s needs as well. Thus, our programme structure is constantly being refined to train our students holistically and this would be the TUM pedagogy because we are an entrepreneurial university. In line with this thought, we had the great opportunity to hear from Wolfgang A. Herrmann, President of TUM, on his journey to presidency and his foresight on why a reform was necessary to put TUM on the international map. His passion for the sciences has led him to be Germany’s longest serving president of a university. This is covered over pages 12-15. Readers can also look forward to reading about other prolific individuals that we will feature in the quarters ahead under a new section titled – Choosing Engineering. We shed light on why they have made a conscious decision to stay in a Science or Engineering field. Staying on the topic of entrepreneurship, I was thrilled to find out that one of our students has successfully started up his own company. Attila Áron Nagy, a Hungarian-born student who enrolled in our Master of Science in Industrial Chemistry, set up his own 3D printing company after completing his programme with us. I thoroughly congratulate him for pioneering such a work, where his 3D printer shop will become one of the first in Central and Eastern Europe. Read more about this exciting news on pages 16-17. In the upcoming issues, we will continue to focus on the need for entrepreneurship and the call for industry-relevant concepts to be imparted to our students. We believe that every student must go into the workforce and make a difference in society, whether by contribution in the industry or by research and development. We hope you are inspired by the people you read about in our articles and that you too will join our endeavour to make a difference to tomorrow. Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Markus Wächter Managing Director, TUM Asia

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Career & Internship Fair 2014

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It was an “ impressive and unique fair where we got to meet numerous global powerhouses from a diverse range of industries. Mohammed Ahmed Fouad Ibrahim Darwish Postgraduate Student


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UM Asia hosted its annual Career and Internship Fair on the 14th of March 2014, attracting the participation of 25 companies and hundreds of students. Within minutes of the Fair’s opening, eager students and graduates crowded the various company booths searching for more information. Before too soon, one could see the resumes piled up high on the tables and the emptying out of name card decks. Shy students also seized the opportunity to attend company talks while their braver counterparts quickly engaged conversation with representatives at the various booths. There was something for everyone, noted one student. The array of companies at the Fair included potential hirers for every industry, from semiconductor to chemicals. At the same time, there were numerous internship and permanent job opportunities for students of all academic levels.

“The crowd was very strong and we managed to speak to many interested students who have relevant backgrounds in logistics” - Ms Paulynn Goh, SDV Logistics

The Fair, typically held in March, aims to build a platform for TUM

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graduates and students to meet potential employers. Many of the participating companies are long-time industry partners of TUM in Germany, which has now branched out to their Singapore counterparts.

“Our Human Resource team at the headquarters in Munich has worked closely with TUM for many years and it was them who first alerted us to the possibility of linking up with TUM Asia” - Ms Christine Vasco, Rohde & Schwarz Asia

Since the inception of the Fair in 2013, companies have provided excellent feedback on the Fair. Mr Sebastian Foo from ASM Technology Pacific, the world’s largest assembly and packaging equipment supplier for the semiconductor and LED industries, had praises for the TUM graduates whom ASM hired. “We were very pleased with the students we hired last year and we are back this year to look for new hires. In the long run, we are looking to build a manpower pipeline with TUM Asia.” Others who participated for the first time, were extremely happy to

find suitable candidates for their open positions. Continental Automotive, a Hannover-based international automotive supplier, noted that TUM’s Electrical Engineering & Information Technology programme equipped students with the necessary knowledge for their software-related positions. SDV Logistics, who has branches in both Asia Pacific and Europe, was on the lookout for new employees to join their global Solutions Team. As the Fair went on, some were having their “fifteen minutes of fame” in the specially set up interview rooms. Companies were able to schedule for immediate interviews if they found a suitable candidate and this allowed hirers to maximize their time at the Fair. Companies like Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Resin & Pigment Technologies and Rohde & Schwarz Asia managed to use this facility to speak with potential hires in a private setting.

“The students are very responsive in conversation and we are impressed with the candidates” - Mr Justin Paul, Silicon Laboratories

In all, both the prospective employers and employees were satisfied with the Fair. “It was our first time participating in this Fair and I must commend the students for being very well-prepared. They took the initiative to speak with the companies,” agreed Ms Fanny Hong from Wincor Nixdorf.

Photos: Darren Yeo & TUM Asia

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Career Essentials Workshops



ype in “Interview tips” on Google and you will see an endless list of websites appearing on your computer screen, all claiming to provide the best tips you should know before heading into that job interview which promises the job you really want. How do you really know who to believe and what you should remember? Students always face the dilemma of how one should present themselves during an interview. To help our students take their first step into the workplace, the Career Services team organized a Career Essentials Workshop where students looking to find an internship or establish a career would be prepared to shine during the selection process. The trainers from Open Minds Consultancy, Mr Kelvin Chong and Mr Kenneth Kang, have vast experiences in training students and professionals across various industries. For our sessions, the trainers specially highlighted the importance of preparing for the technical interview and how to leverage the unique TUM pedagogy to one’s advantage. They included advice such as highlighting the compulsory Overseas Immersion Programme (for Bachelor degree students) and Master Internship/Thesis experience (for Master degree students) in one’s resume and also using it as part of the elevator pitch. The understanding of the Singaporean way of business was also a new concept to many international

students, who have to overcome the barrier of cultural difference to be effective in their internship or job search in Singapore or Asia. Students poured into the sessions, run once in January and March respectively. Among other concepts like resume writing and dressing up appropriately, Chong also debunked many stereotypes students might have about finding their first job. “You should not accept a job offer that pays you the most amount of money,” he advised. Other factors such as work-life balance, corporate culture and employee benefits should be considered when making the decision to take up that job offer. Over his years of experience, Chong knows a thing or two about being interviewed as he has applied with multiple banks and law firms alike, even securing a job offer well before graduation. At the same time, Chong is an interviewer himself and what he offered students in the workshop were career advices based on a dual perspective which many found very insightful. Students found that the session prepared them adequately for their future job searches and it allowed them to clarify their doubts before taking the leap into the big world of business. Chong also spent time reviewing personal resumes from attendees and gave first hand feedback to the attendees. A bystander could easily spot the difference before and after the session, as many came out of the session with a greater confidence to face the terrors of resume sending and interview preparation. Photos: TUM Asia

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Open House Activities


This was the message we shared with potential TUM students and their parents over the various Open House activities in January. The DIGEST team was also present to capture some of the memorable moments during the Open House activities. (STARTING TOP RIGHT CLOCKWISE) Year 2 student, Ms Nurzahidah, shares her TUM experience at the talk; Audience present at the TUM talk; Our students pose for a photo; A parent poses for a photo with our complimentary ice cream; Students making enquiries on our Bachelor programmes at Singapore Institute of Technology’s (SIT) Open House

Photos: Adrian Wong & TUM Asia

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(STARTING TOP LEFT CLOCKWISE) Attendees at TUM Asia’s Open House were invited to view the EVA, Singapore’s first electric taxi built by TUM and NTU researchers; Our ice cream booth; Our graduate shares his work experience at Rohde & Schwarz Asia; A crowded info hall at Open House

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Wolfgang A. Herrmann

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Leadership means letting others participate TUM alumnus Wolfgang A. Herrmann, who has led the Technische Universität München for eighteen years, is Germany’s longest serving university president. He has initiated numerous reforms, shaping TUM to become an outstanding entrepreneurial and international university – although originally Wolfgang A. Herrmann had other plans in life. The passionate and successful scientist had planned to resume his scientific career in research and teaching at the TUM Department of Inorganic Chemistry after four years in office as President of the University. In the first article of our Choosing Engineering series, we interview the TUM President to find out why he chose to devote his life to the furthering of science and technology.

Photo & Text: TUM

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The interview was conducted by Annette Marquard / KontakTUM. All information are courtesy of KontakTUM Issue 2/2013. Photo: TUM

Prof. Herrmann, what does TUM mean to you? I studied here from 1967 onwards and I have a strong emotional connection since. I was immediately fascinated by the environment, especially because of the personality of Nobel Prize winner Ernst Otto Fischer. I was impressed by the skill of improvisation with which the lecturers managed to cope with the basic conditions twenty years after the war ended. The Technische Hochschule (TUM’s previous name) never really left me. After 1971, I first went to Regensburg, then to America, and eventually obtained a professorship in Frankfurt – but even so, I was very happy to be able to return to the Chair of E. O. Fischer at the TU München in 1985. Of course, the TUM has also become an important part of my life because the efforts undergone during my presidency have proved successful. In the end, there is nothing so successful as success, as one says. You live and breathe TUM. Are there moments you do not think about TUM? I definitely don’t think of TUM matters when I am playing the piano or the organ – except when my phone rings. I have yet to force myself to switch the phone off: a mistake! How did you come to join the university administration? I was a member of the Senate from 1986 to 1990, most recently as Dean. In 1994, when the TUM presidential election was

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about to take place, my predecessor Otto Meitinger told me that he thought I was qualified for the position. He climbed a mountain in the Sarntal with me – and as we looked across the valley, he told me that the position would not be very tiring: “As president, you will have to be present for three days a week. The rest of the time is for science.” He said. I remember thinking that if the president were only needed part-time, I would not do it. So I initially declined it. Then why did you change your mind about the candidacy? Several colleagues in the field of engineering contacted me to assure me of their support for my reform plans. I was sure the university would have to be turned inside out in some areas, in order to survive in international competition. But then, as it turned out that even the engineers favoured a chemist, so I thought I’d take the risk of standing for election. In your first term in office, you did not anticipate that you would have to quit science? No, I had firmly resolved to return to science after four years. Science was my life. But maybe my life is always about doing what I’m enthusiastic about at the moment. Since I was able to successfully implement my reform plans and ideas during my first term in office, I really wanted to continue the rebuilding of the university. Well, and then there were always new challenges to take care of.

Wolfgang A. Herrmann

born 18. April 1948 since 1986 married to Oberstudienrätin Freya Herrmann 1967-1970 Study of chemistry at the TH München 1970-1971 Diploma thesis supervised by Prof. Ernst Otto Fischer, TH München 1973 Doctoral dissertation (Dr.rer.nat.) supervised by Prof. Henri Brunner, Universität Regensburg 1979 Professor at Universität Regensburg 1982 Chair Professor of inorganic chemistry, J.W. GoetheUniversität Frankfurt am Main 1985 Chair Professor at the TU München in succession of Prof. Dr. h.c.mult. E. O. Fischer 1991 Max-Planck-Forschungspreis Since 1.10.1995 President of the Technische Universität München Since 2007 Member of the International Advisory Council at the King Abdullah University of Science and Engineering, Saudi Arabia Since 2008 Member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) 2009 University Manager of the Year (Financial Times Deutschland, Zentrum für Hochschulentwicklung) 2010-2012 Member of the Zukunftsrat of the Bavarian Government Since 2011 Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science 2012 President of the Year (Deutscher Hochschulverband) 2012 Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art

You are the longest serving president of any German university. What made you stay on? The challenges and the successes we had in reform. A successful entrepreneur cares about his people – that is very important to me. That is my main objective for our university. As technology evolves, where does your sense for new developments in society, science and industry come from? I read a lot. I use the weekends and the holidays to read contemporary and political literature. However, most inspirations emerge from conversations within the University, with the professors and staff – and also from politics. In political meetings I am often confronted with questions I cannot answer immediately. For example, I have been thinking about the issues of energy and water lately. Together with other factors, these problems result in relevant research areas at TUM. I like to work as a catalyst when it comes to structural decisions like this. What is your vision for the coming years? I hope TUM will continue to prosper in international competition, also to stabilize and extend its performance. At the same time, we must remain a human university – a university in which people respect and help each other, based on loyalty. We must understand that everyone has a place in our university and that all the places are of equivalent importance.

The extended family celebrating Wolfgang A. Herrmann’s 65th birthday on April 20, 2013. Photo: TUM/ Eckert

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Alumni Interview After graduating from Budapest with a Bachelor Degree in Chemical Engineering, Attila Áron Nagy spent one month in Beijing learning Chinese and traveling to places like Tibet and Mount Everest. This journey caused his fascination for Asia to grow greater and greater. DIGEST catches up with our first Hungarian student and finds out why he defied his family’s wishes in order to study in Singapore. Coming from Europe, was the Master programme curriculum a big change for you? Attila: It was different. But I have to say I loved the structure of the programme. One course took just 1-2 days to maximum 2-3 weeks, after that there was the exam. It had two huge advantages. I could focus all my attetion on that one subject and between the courses I could travel a lot. In that one year in Singapore, I have travelled to roughly 20 countries and except East-Timor, I have visited all the South-East Asian countries. It was a great experience. The core subjects and the professors were good, but what I enjoyed the most were the professionals from the industry with real world problems and applications. On top of it, I had awesome classmates from all over the world and it was a nice experience to celebrate the many traditions we had. Did you like Singapore?

Attila Áron Nagy, 24

Hungarian MSc in Industrial Chemistry

Could you share the story behind coming to Asia to study? Attila: I did my Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering at the capital of Hungary in Budapest. Right after I finished my thesis, I began to develop a new composite car together with two of my friends, which at that time was one of my dreams. It was our plan to position the project between a motorcycle and a car. We put lots of energy into it - developing the mechanical concept, buying most of the parts and having an awesome design, but I soon realized that it was a way bigger project than I could afford at that time. I stopped that project, began to work as a chemical engineer and I started learning Chinese. I lived in Beijing with a Chinese family and intensively learnt Chinese at a language school for a month. Asia fascinated me and I felt the need for a Master Degree. My father tried to push me to make the degree in Germany, but Europe for me was too small and too identical. I did my research online and when I saw the Industrial Chemistry programme offered by Technische Universitaet Muenchen and National University of Singapore, I knew I had to apply for it.

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Attila: Yes, Singapore is a great place. I think it will be always my second home. It is modern, green, clean, Western and at the same time really Asian. The only huge change was the weather, with the constant heat and then cold air conditioning in the buildings and on the public transportation. That took me a few months to get used to it. You completed your Master Internship and Thesis in Hungary. Why did you choose to do so? Attila: My father is the founder and owner of a small researchbased chemical company in Hungary. The family plan from the beginning is that I would take over the company once I finish my Masters. Therefore, I did my internship back home and I worked on the developments of thermosets and special chemical adducts. My thesis was a whole different story. I wanted to prove to myself and to others that I can manage, develop and bring to success to something completely separate from my father’s business. In the past years I read a lot about 3-dimensional (3D) printers in the tech news. I got so fascinated that I bought my first 3D printer kit in Singapore while I was at TUM Asia. I then went on to write my thesis along these lines. Tell us more about your Thesis! Attila: The basis of my thesis came from the news that 3D printing companies are trying to use really expensive 3D printers to print moulds for injection moulding, so that they

In Bamberg, Germany with classmates

Trying out Hungarian specialities after labwork

can mass produce shorter and cheaper moulds. But at injection moulding, the pressure and the temperature is too high so after a few cycles the surface of the moulds deforms. My idea was to use the cheapest 3D printing technique (the fused deposition modelling) and use reaction injection moulding where I can use the knowledge of chemistry on the thermosets and able to make reactive materials which won’t deform the moulds. And I did it in my thesis. We heard that you started your own company after the success with your Master Thesis. It is exciting to know a graduate of ours entrepreneured something. What are your plans for this company? Attila: After I came back, I started to experiment making my own 3D printers with all the knowledge I had. I fried a few electronic components, had to reprogram the printer many times and even redesigned it from the ground up - but now it’s ready for sale. I have sold one to a Hungarian research institute and my university at Budapest is also a customer of mine. Now, we are developing a really cool interface for the printers and also opening a 3D printer shop at Budapest, which will be one of the first in Central and Eastern Europe.

Surfing in Australia

You did your Masters in Industrial Chemistry. Did it help you with the start-up of your business? Attila: Yes, definitely! I learnt a lot from the Marketing, Management and Business classes in the programme. I think the atmosphere in Singapore moved me a lot too. I love the feeling in Singapore, that if you have a great idea you can actually make it possible. I have never been in any other place which is so open and supportive of innovation compared to Singapore. You’re half the world away from Singapore now. Will we expect you to be back soon? Attila: I hope so. Right now, I am where my opportunities are. But I really hope that in a few years time, I will have the chance to go back to Singapore and start something great there too. I do miss Singapore. I miss the weather, the Singaporean dishes and foods from the region, the opportunity to travel with good budget airlines, the attitude in the society and that most things are better organized than in Europe.

Having Indian food with classmates in Singapore Photos: Attila Áron Nagy

As a successful entrepreneur yourself, will you shed some advice for others who plan to follow in this route? Attila: My first advice would be what everybody says - start creating and be passionate about what you do. The second would be - plan everything as carefully and as precisely possible. Be sure that you’ll need a lot more time and money that you have previously planned. The last advice - if you reach the point that everything seems to work fine, sometimes the other half of the work is ahead of you, where you need to get to a point where everything becomes perfect.

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The Chatter News from TUM CREATE

What is the impact of hundred thousands of electric vehicles on the infrastructure of a mega-city like Singapore? Electric vehicles have been gaining more attention from both the automotive industry and the general public for its environmental impacts. However, electric vehicle technology is disruptive and the idea of having thousands of electric vehicles on the road leads to an important question that needs to be answered: How do electric vehicles affect the infrastructure and the environment of a mega-city like Singapore? In order to answer this question, TUM CREATE developed a novel simulation tool: the Scalable Electro-Mobility Simulation (SEMSim) platform. The SEMSim platform allows the integration of all relevant simulation models (e.g., vehicle models, infrastructure models, traffic models, power system models, etc.) needed to perform holistic simulation studies concerned with electro-mobility. The SEMSim platform currently consists primarily of two simulation entities: (1) SEMSim Traffic, an agent-based traffic simulation; and (2) SEMSim Power, a discrete-event power system simulation. Unlike existing traffic simulations, SEMSim Traffic incorporates a variety of vehicle component models that allows us to simulate heterogeneous vehicle populations (e.g., electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, internal combustion engine vehicles). In addition, the charging infrastructure is explicitly modelled. In this context, the

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charging infrastructure is very important as it facilitates the link between the traffic system and the power system. An important feature of the SEMSim platform is its modularity and extensibility. Both, SEMSim Traffic and SEMSim Power, support the IEEE Standard 1516 for distributed simulations. This is a standardized method for coupling multiple simulation entities by using a middleware that synchronises the various entities. The advantage of this approach is the ability to replace any simulation entity with others (if needed) and to integrate multiple new simulation entities in the future. With the SEMSim platform in place, TUM CREATE is currently working on various electro-mobility studies that will serve as the foundation for a roadmap towards city-wide use of electric vehicles in Singapore and beyond. In the future, TUM CREATE plans to make the SEMSim platform available to the research community as well as providing related consultancy services. TUM CREATE Ltd. Research: Electro-mobility Partners: Technische Universit채t M체nchen (TUM), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National Research Foundation (NRF) Founded: 2010 Researchers: 125 Website:

Wacker and TUM extend partnership in Silicon Chemistry Wacker Chemie AG and the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) are extending their existing partnership in silicon chemistry for another six years. On 25 February 2014, they signed an agreement to this effect. The Munich-based chemical Group is sponsoring the Institute of Silicon Chemistry, located on the research campus in Garching near Munich, with a total of up to €2.5 million. This will finance doctoral positions and the associated material resources. WACKER and the TUM founded the Institute of Silicon Chemistry in 2006. Over recent years, more than 30 research projects have been conducted, which have resulted in ten patents and 35 scientific publications in international journals. “Our continued collaboration with WACKER makes a key contribution to the strengthening of top-level research in Germany,” said TUM President Prof. Wolfgang Herrmann at the signing of the agreement in Munich. “The Institute of Silicon Chemistry is an ideal interface between academic and industrial research. Such interfaces turn research results into innovations and sustainably improve people’s lives,” Herrmann continued. “That is why the alliance with WACKER fits in so well with an entrepreneurial university.” TUM-President Prof. W. A. Herrmann (left) and Dr. R. Staudigl, CEO of Wacker Chemie AG signing the contract - Photo: Steffen Wirtgen / Wacker Chemie AG

Source: TUM /

Photo: TUM Asia

“What are the job prospects for someone who holds a TUM degree?”

We organized a couple of Tea Sessions for our prospective undergraduate students together with our TUM professors and current students. Attendees had a first-hand encounter of the unique classroom atmosphere at TUM Asia. “We get to ask a lot of questions in class, and it makes us think better. This is very different to the usual Singaporean style of teaching,” answers Aaron Jeremiah, a Year 2 Chemical Engineering student, in a response to an attendee’s concern on the small class size. It was a great time to be able to hear from our German professors, who were in town on their teaching schedules. Till the next time!

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Profile for TUM Asia

TUM Asia Digest April 2014  

TUM Asia Digest April 2014  

Profile for tumasia