TUM Asia Digest January 2014

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

January - March 2014 Issue



Credits: TUM Asia (Photo “Why They Chose TUM”) / TUM (Photo “Our Students in Munich”)

in this issue 4-7 8-9

10-11 12-13 14-17 18-19

Feature: Why They Chose TUM Student Movie Night: The Hunger Games Industry Spotlight: ASM Pacific Technology Alumni Interview: Ng Yu Ning & Yue Chao BSc Overseas Immersion Programme: Munich 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: info@tum-asia.edu.sg Website: www.tum-asia.edu.sg Facebook: www.facebook.com/tum-asia 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


appy New Year. The turning of a calendar year is akin to a fresh start, where one can leave the past behind and make new resolutions for the upcoming year. In line with the theme of “a fresh start”, the DIGEST team caught up with some of our outstanding Polytechnic graduates to find out why they chose to study with us among their numerous university choices. Specifically, hear from Aaron Jeremiah De Silva, our year 2 Chemical Engineering undergraduate who had his fresh start at our

university. Along with the student-themed issue, I particularly enjoy the read on pages 8 and 9 about the Student Movie Night organized by our undergraduate Student Management Committee (SMC). As the saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Having fun outside of the classroom is crucial to building strong interpersonal relationships and we are glad that the student community is growing stronger year-on-year. It is also good to hear from our industry partners, especially since the TUM education is built on a strong rapport with the industry. Being a world leader in the assembly and packaging industry for LED and semiconductor industries, do take time to read what ASM Pacific Technology has to say about the changing landscape of the economy and how our graduates have contributed to the company successes. As a double feature, the team also spoke with two of our graduates from the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Information Technology programme, Yue Chao and Ng Yu Ning, who are now working at ASM. Both articles are covered in pages 10 to 13. Last but definitely not the least, we spoke to 2 of our final year students who recently travelled to Munich to complete their Bachelor Thesis. The 3 to 4 month experience in Munich was meant to equip our students with the necessary soft skills such as independence, cross cultural interaction alongside research work experience. One can easily tell that these young adults have grown tremendously by living abroad and caring for their own needs. Shawn Chua and Noorhashilah had the opportunity to experience a white Christmas for the first time in their lives, among other experiences. Share their excitement on pages 14 to 17. We hope you enjoy the issue as much as we do. The team at TUM Asia would like to offer our best wishes to you for the new year ahead and success in every endeavour. Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Markus Wächter Managing Director, TUM Asia

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Why They Chose TUM


I chose TUM because it was the only university that allowed me to have a fresh start. � Aaron Jeremiah De Silva Undergraduate, Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Photo: Playground Pictures / TUM Asia

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Everyone has a story to tell. In this issue, DIGEST speaks with a few of top Polytechnic graduates on why they chose to study at Germany’s #1 University*.

Thank you for taking time to be here.To start, could you tell us which Polytechnic did you study at and in which course? Wei Jun: I graduated from Singapore Polytechnic with a Diploma in Electrical & Electronic Engineering. Aaron: I graduated with a Diploma in Biotechnology, also from Singapore Polytechnic. Sayaka: I guess that makes me the third person from Singapore Polytechnic. I graduated with a Diploma in Biotechnology. Jiajun: I graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a Diploma in Biomedical Engineering. When did you hear about TUM and what sparked your interest in our programmes? Wei Jun: The first time I heard of TUM was when I was in my final year of Polytechnic. My lecturer introduced TUM to us and I was attracted by its reputation and shorter course duration. Aaron: I was serving my National Service and a superior encouraged me to take a look at SIT’s website. I guess what made it special was that TUM was the only University that allowed me to have a fresh start, because I could study Chemical Engineering even though I did not have previous studies in a chemical engineering-related field. Sayaka: I was first introduced to this course when I was in Polytechnic year 2. Honestly, Biology has never been one of my favourite subjects and I had always found myself more attracted to the Chemistry-related modules. Furthermore, TUM is a world-renowned university and I wanted to immerse myself in understanding German technology because it is honestly very impressive. Jiajun: I don’t remember when I found out about SIT, but I know that when I looked through the various OUs (overseas universities), the Electrical Engineering course by TUM caught my attention.

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“From the moment I found out about the chemical engineering course offered by TUM, I knew that it was the kind of education that I wanted.” - Sayaka Tatekura There are so many universities available for your choice. What made you choose us? Wei Jun: I appreciate the shorter studying duration and the Overseas Immersion Programme is also very exciting! I will have a chance to study in TUM, Germany and experience different cultures and European history. Aaron: We know that German Engineering is famous and the education system is built around industry relevance. Besides, TUM is ranked first among all German universities. Since I am going to earn my degree, I might as well learn from the best! Jiajun: The modules offered by TUM were suitable to what I was looking for. It was important for me to find the course with modules that I would enjoy, and this programme fits the bill. We have heard that you have a unique story behind your choice to further your university studies with us. Do share it with us! Wei Jun: I received admissions offers from other top universities such as The University of Queensland and Monash University, but I felt that this course was more applicable to my interests. Jia Jun: I was about to accept an offer

from an overseas university when I received my offer from SIT for this programme. After doing my research on the internet, the reputation of the TUM really amazed me. The fact that they work with famous companies like BMW and Volkswagen, and that they have 13 Nobel Laureates – it’s a testament to TUM’s ability to develop potential in their students. Sayaka: I had been accepted by NTU and NUS to read chemistry and biological chemistry, and chemistry, respectively. Eventually, the shorter duration of TUM, its reputation, and the modules won me over.

“The Nobel Laureates and international rankings goes to show that TUM has the ability to develop potential in their students” - Wang Jiajun I think the readers would like to know how the study experience at TUM have been so far. Wei Jun: I enjoy the small class size very much. We are able to interact with our professors and the “family-like” environment makes learning comfortable. We can always ask questions and clarify our doubts with our professors. My classmates even use our Facebook page and Whatsapp group for discussions! Aaron: As with university, we learn many new concepts not previously known in Polytechnic. What is unique to TUM and also a benefit is the small class size because our queries are answered quickly and hence we learn better.


23, Undergraduate BSc Chemical Engineering



26, Undergraduate BSc Electrical Engineering & Information Technology

21, Undergraduate BSc Chemical Engineering

Sayaka: Everyone knows it is not easy do well in TUM and my first semester has been rough because the math and physics modules were challenging. But I believe this is part of the adjustments that first year students make and I am working to make the next year better! Wei Jun: To think about it, time really flies. One-fifth of my journey has already passed. It’s been what I expected of university so far, being busy and challenged with new knowledge. I do enjoy my time with classmates where we help each other out and solve problems together. The “Eureka” moment is one of pure happiness and joy! TUM was recently ranked 11th globally in The New York Times “Global Employability Survey”. Where do you expect your TUM degree to take you in the future? Wei Jun: I am definitely looking to stay in the Engineering field of work. I have heard of graduates working overseas and I would consider that for myself too. Aaron: I would like to enter the Oil & Gas industry here in Singapore. Sayaka: My studies are sponsored by


26, Undergraduate BSc Electrical Engineering & Information Technology

Novartis Singapore Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and I have a secured position in the company upon graduation. It is part of my plans because pursuing a career in the pharma industry is something that I have planned to do since my third year in Polytechnic. Jiajun: I would stay within the field of my studies. With the reputation that TUM enjoys, I am looking to join one of TUM Asia’s industry partners - possibly a German company where I get to travel to Germany more! *Ranked by Academic Ranking of World Universities 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 Photos: Playground Pictures / TUM Asia

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

“The movie event was well planned by the student committee. It gave me an opportunity to bond with my classmates. As students, we like our fair share of work and play.” - Quek Jiayu

“I was feeling excited as it was our first ever student movie night. What made it fantastic was that it was a premiere showing for one of the most anticipated movies of the year!” - Lucas Kuah


he Student Management Committee comprising of undergraduate students organized a student movie night for all their classmates and juniors alike. Everyone was invited to a private showing of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” on 21 November 2013, the opening night of the movie itself. Students from both our undergraduate and graduate programmes flocked into the theater at Golden Village Plaza Singapura at 6.40pm, quickly filling up the numerous seats available. The movie was as expected, thrilling and filled with plot twists. Overall, it was a rejuvenating evening away from books and exams, as the students came together to forge greater friendships outside of school and classes.

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“It’s a great idea because I get to watch a movie with friends after a hectic school day.” - Lee Wen Rui

Photo: TUM Asia

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A S M P a c i f i c Te c h n o l o g y

In this issue of Industry Spotlight, we speak to ASM Pacific Technology, one of the world’s leading semiconductor assembly & packaging companies. Read on to find out more on the secret of ASM’s profitability, and how TUM Asia’s graduates are now contributing to the success.

Photos: ASM Pacific Technology

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We understand that ASM Technology is the world’s largest assembly and packaging equipment supplier for the semiconductor and LED industries. Can you tell us more? ASM: Our main business is in the manufacturing of semiconductor assembly equipment and materials. This includes etched and stamped leadframes used by many multinational chip manufacturers, independent IC assembly houses and consumer electronics manufacturers. Incorporated in The Netherlands since 1975, ASM has risen through the ranks in the last decade to become one of the top semiconductor assembly and packaging companies globally. In 2002, when most assembly and packaging equipment suppliers were experiencing major losses and decline, ASM Technology rose to the top and produced astounding profitability. What is the secret of ASM’s success? ASM: We believe that success does not happen overnight. Since our start in 1975, ASM has always been making strategic decisions that will benefit the long term. We have a broad product range and a diversified customer base in both geographically and technologically different markets. This strategy increases our opportunities on a magnified scale and allows us to be responsive to the changes in every specialized market. At the same time, our continued commitment to research and product development also keeps us progressive at the forefront of change. In Singapore, ASM Technology has set up a key Research & Development centre. Why Singapore? ASM: Singapore has strong and recognizable R&D infrastructure supported by a talented workforce in terms of work attitude, technical skills and knowledge. The government’s leadership in spearheading R&D efforts is commendable and we share the same sentiments.

We know that ASM employed a couple of our Electrical Engineering & Information Technology graduates. How would you rate the performance of our graduates so far? ASM: In the last year, we are glad to have Yue Chao and Ng Yu Ning join us. We are pleased with the graduates we have hired so far, in terms of matching our required competencies and exhibiting a high level of motivation and maturity in their work. Companies are selective about hiring fresh graduates and we must say that we have picked outstanding employees. Both of them were able to adapt quickly to the work environment and stay hungry for more. Being able to hire quality employees is extremely important and we hope to be able to continually do so, having seen the quality of a TUM degree. As part of our German education system, TUM Asia develops our curriculum in relevance to industry needs. In your opinion, what do you think are important subjects that should be imparted to the students in our programmes? ASM: We are looking for graduates with the drive and enthusiasm for technology. Graduates should be equipped with good

knowledge in the mechanical design of power semiconductor modules, as well as with extensive programming knowledge. We have looked at the programme in Electrical Engineering at TUM Asia and found that it provides a good foundation for graduates to enter the semiconductor industry. We were also impressed with the industry-readiness aspect of the TUM programmes, where professors impart practical knowledge on true industry trends and sufficiently prepare the students to face real challenges. This moulds graduates to be ready for assimilation into the workforce, and is a highly sought-after trait. As a key player in the assembly and packaging equipment sector, what advice would you give to fresh graduates who are looking to join this industry? ASM: This industry requires skilled individuals with an interest in the semiconductor field. Companies are looking for professionals who have a strong engineering background, possessing of a positive attitude and equipped with an ability to work in a fast-paced environment. For ASM, we are looking for employees that are team players and are flexible, innovative and open to new challenges.

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Alumni Interview

Ng Yu Ning, 24


Graduate of Technische Universität München, Degree in Electrical Engineering & Information Technology Currently working at ASM Technology Pacific as a Quality Assurance Engineer

Hi Yu Ning, good to speak with you again! How is “working life”? Working life is a whole new experience to me. Working enables me to apply what we have studied on textbook and every day is a new challenge. But it has its unpredictability as well. Being part of the pioneer cohort of TUM Asia BSc graduates, was it difficult to find suitable job opportunities? Initially, it was. Although there are many companies in Singapore, there is always the disadvantage of having no experience as a fresh graduate. But I was thankful that ASM Technology was willing to give me the opportunity to learn. I joined ASM Technology because it was relevant to my field of study and this is where my interest lies. Also, they are a multinational company and one of the top suppliers in leadframe business, therefore I have the opportunity to learn and grow with the company. What are you doing at ASM Technology? Currently I am working as a Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer in ASM Technology. I have the opportunity to travel to different countries for customer visits and I personally find that this is a great exposure for me. We know you served as the Vice President of the 1st Student Management Committee during your studies. Do you think the soft skills you gained have aided you in the real-life workforce? Yes, of course! During my service as a Vice President, I gained experience in giving speeches and briefings, which trained my public speaking skills. Now that I am a QA Engineer, I am expected to make presentations to my customers, which I am confident of because I learnt that in university. Also, my term in the committee helped me learn the importance of teamwork. I am engaged in projects with various departments in my job and I can say that this soft skill aids me to be a good team player. Any advice to your juniors who will be graduating soon?

Photo: TUM Asia

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Never be afraid to try. Though the competition in the job market may be high, the TUM degree is widely recognized. Coupled with the partnerships between TUM Asia and many renowned companies (like ASM Technology), I am sure that fresh graduate have a place and chance to learn in these environments. Do prepare well for the interview, as with adequate preparation you will be able to ace the interview!

Yue Chao, 25

Graduate of Technische Universität München, Degree in Electrical Engineering & Information Technology Currently working at ASM Technology Pacific as a Procurement Engineer

Hi Yue Chao, how is life after graduation for you? Life is good. I am currently working and it is busier than the time in school, but it has been an enriching time. As the top graduate in your cohort, the pressure must have been on you to find a job that meets your interest and knowledge. Can you tell us why you chose ASM Technology? ASM Technology is the leading company for semiconductor assembly and packaging equipments. With the strong industrial partnership with TUM Asia, ASM provides valuable opportunities for fresh graduates. Moreover, ASM provides systematic and practical training for every employee. This valuable on-the-job, formalized training helps me in my professional and personal development. Can you tell us more about what you do at ASM Technology? I am working as a Procurement Engineer in strategy drive. I am responsible for cost reduction in the commodities assigned, together with global sourcing efforts, and I also work with various global site teams for vendor assessment, selection and qualification. On top of that, I monitor supplies’ market trends and highlight strategic areas for growth consideration. As you apply your theoretical knowledge on a daily basis, would you be able to share how the concepts taught in the classroom has helped you in the real-life workforce? On a daily basis, I work with design and QA engineers to ensure that supplies meet technical specifications. The theoretical knowledge gained in university is my foundation in understanding the design and function of the product. It helps me to be an all-rounded team player. Also, the engineering background also gives me a strong credibility while negotiating with vendors! Last but not least, what do you miss about university & what do you love about working? Well, I definitely miss the times spent with my classmates, professors and German friends. They made the journey fun and meaningful. Of course I also miss the times in Munich, where we had lots of fun trying German beer, making new friends and working on the Thesis. But on the flip side, the real time environment at work allows me to put my knowledge to test and truly contribute to society with what I have studied.

Photo: TUM Asia


Overseas Immersion Programme: Munich

HALLO, ICH KOMME AUS SINGAPUR Translated as “Hello, I come from Singapore”

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Photos: TUM, Shawn Chua & Noorhashilah Binte Mohd Noh

Every TUM-SIT student is required to complete their Bachelor Thesis in the home campus of TUM in Munich, Germany. Last October, we waved goodbye to over 40 students as they made their way to Munich to embark on their final semester of study at TUM. Hear from Noorhashilah Binte Mohd Noh and Shawn Chua as they give us first-hand account of their experiences in Munich and beyond. digest 15

How is life in Munich? Shawn: Munich so far has been a very pleasant experience! From the time we arrived at the airport until now, the city has never failed to amaze us with its natural beauty, historical architecture and rich culture. Doing the Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) here gives me the opportunity to experience the Bavarian lifestyle as well as being an overseas exchange student. Shilah: Life in Munich is very different from life in Singapore. The shops here close earlier, so I had to adjust to that in order to do my grocery shopping in time. The weather is very cold and I learnt to appreciate thermal wear. It’s interesting because the sun sets early during winter, so stepping out after class at 5pm means a 9pm type of sky! Describe your experience at the TUM campus. Shawn: For the Chemical Engineering students, our campus is situated in Garching. Though we travel slightly further, the world-famous 4 storey slides are only around the corner! The Mensa (student canteen) employs a buffet concept, where you take what you want and pay for it with your TUM card at the end of the line. We had to learn a quick lesson in counting the cost for what we took, or else it really added up at the cashier!

Noorhashilah Binte Mohd Noh, 24 Singaporean BSc in Electrical Engineering & Information Technology

Photos: Noorhashilah Binte Mohd Noh

Shilah: The students and professors are very friendly and we often bump into our professors who taught us in Singapore. I like it that their Mensa has an online menu that is real-time updated. There is also Mr Ohm’s statue that sits in open space in the Munich campus. Overall, it has been a completely new experience for me, as I have never been to Europe, let alone study here. The independence I am learning will definitely be useful in the future workplace. Shawn, can you tell us more about the lifestyle in Germany as compared to Singapore? Shawn: Being in a foreign country definitely requires you to be more independent. Food here is more expensive, so you have to learn to cook. Eating together also fosters closer relationships with your flatmates. Shops also close early, so we had to adjust our lifestyles and look for new activities - we realized that bakeries may open later and

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the countless beer gardens are definitely open! Food is also allowed on public transport so that was interesting to me. Shilah, we know you are midway into your Bachelor Thesis. How is it going? Shilah: Initially it was rough as I had to make adjustments in every aspect of my life, including getting used to the education system in Germany. But I have settled in now and I am learning to be an independent worker, finding my reading materials and setting my goals for the thesis. All I can say is the TUM library has become a second home! Is it hard to get around without being able to speak German? Shawn: It is not difficult getting around Munich without speaking German. All the staff at the tourist attractions that I have been to so far were able to communicate in English. Transportation tickets and ATM machines all have an English language option, so there isn’t much of a problem. However it would not hurt to learn the language, as many of the Germans here were quite delighted when we spoke simple German.

Shawn Chua, 25

Singaporean BSc Chemical Engineering

Photos: Shawn Chua

Shilah: Not really. They will figure out you don’t understand German and they will start speaking to you in English after a sentence or two. It was good that we had German lessons before coming here so it’s not that bad! What are some tips/advice you would give your juniors, who will go to Munich in the future? Shawn: Definitely to bring enough warm clothing because you will need it and it can be expensive in Munich. If you are one who is very interested in history and culture, the Munich’s Residence museum, Treasury, Dachau Concentration Camp, St. Kajetan and the Neuschwanstein castle should not be missed. Hiking trips are also very common among Munichers, and one of the best we have tried was a hike up to Kloster Andechs where a monastery is located, which serves one of the best pork knuckles. Shilah: Before heading here, you will need to know what type of Thesis you want to do, as there are the literature-based type versus the lab-work type. Also, do try to reach Munich on a weekday as the shops are closed on Sundays. Do plan your trip to coincide with Oktoberfest as well, it’s worth an experience!

Photo: TUM

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The Chatter


TUM CREATE showcases future EV technologies with e-taxi launch at Tokyo TUM CREATE unveiled its electric taxi prototype, codenamed EVA, at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show on 21 November 2013. It was on display at the Tokyo Motor show until 1 December 2013, where thousands flocked to see EVA’s breakthrough technologies, such as a super-fast battery charging system and energy-saving individualized overhead air-conditioning. EVA serves as a platform to showcase the results of the innovations and developments at TUM CREATE, a joint research programme by Technische Universität München (TUM) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). TUM Asia pioneered the set up of TUM CREATE in 2010, founding TUM CREATE under the Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme which is spearheaded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), an agency of Singapore’s Prime Minister’s Office. Professor Dr. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, President of Technische Universität München, said, “This new electric taxi for tropical mega cities, developed and constructed by two leading universities, highlights the successful collaboration of TUM and NTU. The scientific and technological breakthroughs are based on a spirit of mutual trust and understanding. For more than ten years, Technische Universität München has been operating its branch, TUM Asia in Singapore, which has a current enrolment of over 400 students and has produced hundreds of alumni. It is a great joy for me to see that our untiring joint efforts, supported by the National Research Foundation, have borne fruits now.” “While taxis account for less than 3% of the vehicle population in Singapore, they contribute to 15% of the total distance travelled,” explains Principal Investigator Dr. Daniel Gleyzes. “The average twoshift taxi covers over 500 km a day.” Typically, transportation companies have re-purposed passenger cars as taxis. However, the challenge of current electric vehicles is the extremely limited range and long recharge times (up to 8 hours), making them impractical as taxis. TUM CREATE aims to address these issues, as well as the unique challenges posed by the heat and humidity in tropical megacities, through its research and development. Unlike temperate climates, passenger cooling and battery pack heat management are issues specific to tropical and equatorial regions. EVA was designed from the ground-up as an e-taxi and is a result of interdisciplinary research in the areas of energy storage, battery charging, thermal management, and lightweight materials and design. This project milestone marks the first time that a Singapore-based organization is participating and presenting a vehicle in the 59-year history of Asia’s most important automotive tradeshow. Source: TUM CREATE / www.eva-taxi.sg

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International companies rate TUM graduates as outstanding The Technische Universität München (TUM) climbed from 50th position last year to 11th place in this year’s “Global Employability Survey”. TUM is the only German university among the top 25 universities worldwide in the evaluation of graduates by international companies. The ranking is published by the international edition of the New York Times. Around 5,000 senior executives and recruiters in 30 countries were surveyed on which institutions best prepared students for the employment market. Universities from the US and the UK occupy the top positions, however the TUM finishes ahead of competitors such as the University of California (Berkeley), Imperial College London and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. TUM President Wolfgang A. Herrmann remarked: “TUM’s outstanding rating by business is in line with our latest alumni surveys: 91 percent of our graduates find a position in their specialist field in less than six months after taking their final examinations. The fact that we also once again achieved the top position among the German universities in the Shanghai Ranking underscores the focus on research and science of the TUM’s courses.” Photo: TUM

Source: TUM / www.tum.de

Photo: Abel Tan

Holidays = It’s Time To Hit The Beach!

While it’s snowing in Germany, it’s all-year-round summer in Singapore. Our first year undergraduates took the opportunity to hit the Sentosa beach on 14 December 2013, for a get-together, after the completion of their first semester exams. This event was solely organized by the students themselves, who even extended the invitation to all their cohort mates across the different Overseas Universities within Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). It was all fun & games all afternoon, with wining prizes for the team with the highest overall score. Indeed, happy holidays!

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I am an engineer that makes a difference to


Richard Tan Project Engineer, Leading Electronics & Communications Organization Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Information Technology


Scan to hear what Richard has to say about his TUM journey

Technische Universität München. Germany’s #1 University*. Like Richard, you can benefit from an education that prepares you to make a difference to the world we live in. Our Bachelor & Master programmes are designed to equip you with the necessary scientific knowledge in science & engineering and are closely tuned to the trends of the industry. Our graduates go on to develop solutions that will benefit the world of tomorrow. Find out how you can get an education that will be world-relevant at every point of change at www.tum-asia.edu.sg *As rated by Academic Ranking of World Universities 2011, 2012, 2013 and QS World Rankings 2012/13 TUM Asia is a 100% subsidiary of the Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich) TUM Asia is recognized as an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) in Singapore CPE Registration No. 200105229R / Reg. Period: 13/06/2011 - 12/06/2017