Come fly with me

Want to broaden your world view by trotting around the globe? You’ve come to the right university. Eight in 10 undergraduates at NTU go overseas at least once during their time here. As soon as you enter NTU as a freshman, there’ll be a variety of ways for you to gain valuable overseas exposure, and have a ton of fun while stepping out of your comfort zone.

From internships and exchange programmes to field trips and competitions, there are numerous opportunities to venture out of Singapore and equip yourself with the knowledge and skills that will give you an edge in a globalised work place. Derek Rodriguez and Chrystal Chan compile some useful tips

Do a work attachment in a start-up

Many successful start-ups are born right here on the NTU campus. With support from the university and readily available mentors, students with an entrepreneurial bent can find multiple avenues to help them lay the groundwork for their future undertaking. One such channel is NTUitive’s Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme, which places students at a burgeoning overseas start-up for a year.

I worked with the richest young technopreneur in Beijing
Sean Chua
Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Year 3
Click to enlarge
I had plans to go to the Czech Republic for exchange, but when I found out about the Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme, I just couldn’t say no. I applied for a position to learn the entrepreneurship ropes at Jumei, a Beijing-based online cosmetics company that made headlines in 2014 with its successful debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

There were many candidates but, thankfully, I was selected after a gruelling interview process. And here I am, three months into my internship.

Truthfully, I was very apprehensive before I left. I didn’t know what to expect and felt that I was jumping into an abyss. However, after a visit to Silicon Valley organised by NTU’s Nanyang Technopreneurship Centre, I had a strong urge to see the Beijing start-up scene. So I took the plunge.

The main problem I am facing in Beijing is the language barrier. I did well in Mandarin back in school, but the terms and culture in Beijing are very different. I have had to relearn simple words like “spoon” (勺子).

Work is tough, but fulfilling. I’ve learnt the processes involved in running the company – from sales, marketing, technical developments, data analysis and investments to client management – because I’ve done them all.

Meeting the young CEO, Leo Chen, in person and chatting with him was an honour. Did you know he studied at NTU? He’s arguably the most successful young entrepreneur I know.

My experience in Beijing has changed my impression of the country. I always thought Singapore was more advanced than China, but I was wrong. There’s an inside joke among Singaporeans here that goes: “In Beijing, there’s an app for everything.”

I hope that over the next seven months, I’ll be able to learn even more and eventually be able to do NTU proud just as my CEO, Leo Chen, did.