Feature

Congrads, Class of 2016

Trailblazers, fighters with grit, high-flyers, twinnies and the talent squad... Meet the Class of 2016

By Derek Rodriguez, Chrystal Chan and Lo Tien Yin
Photos: Mark Teo
The high-flyers
From communication to banking
Lionel Lim
Citi Singapore
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Lionel will be the first communication student to join a prestigious Citi Singapore management associate programme that fast-tracks leaders.

He nabbed the coveted post after a six-month internship at Citi’s Corporate Affairs department, where he received glowing reviews from the head of the department. Riding on the back of that golden ticket, Lionel aced a few rounds of interviews and was hired, proving that a communication degree can open more doors than you think.

Lionel’s passion for the finance industry runs deep – both his parents worked in banks, so he initially wanted to study business. He got accepted to three local universities, but picked NTU’s communication course instead. “I was curious to learn more about the media industry, the academic programme sounded exciting and I envisioned an enriching learning experience,” he says. The move paid off. Armed with skills in writing news articles, video editing and news presenting, Lionel will bring to the finance table his media savvy, a boon for his career.

Paid to work and study
Tony Fook
Robert Bosch
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It is one thing to chase your passion, and another to get paid doing it. Tony has stumbled onto that illusive combination.

He had been contemplating between furthering his studies and getting a full-time job, and so couldn’t pass up joining a programme that allows him to pursue his PhD at NTU while drawing a salary at German multinational Robert Bosch.

Tony discovered his love for research when he was in NTU’s undergraduate research programme, and spent most of his time tinkering in laboratories at the School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences. “I was astonished by the research opportunities provided by my school even at the undergraduate level. I presented my work at top international conferences in Beijing and San Diego and had it published in journals. I would not have realised my strong passion for research if not for these opportunities,” he says.

It’s oil I dream about
Liu Zhengyi
ExxonMobil
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Zhengyi had always dreamt of entering the oil and gas industry, so getting hired by global multinational ExxonMobil is a dream come true.

The CN Yang Scholar, who also received two other job offers, credits his internship for helping him gain technical knowledge in the field when he was tasked to assist on a challenging project in offshore oil rig construction and had to dive into the deep end.

“It was nerve-racking as I did not know what was going on, so I had to do my own research to understand the technical terms. I also asked many questions. When the senior engineers saw that I was interested to learn, they started showing me the ropes and I learnt even more,” he says.

More than the technical skills he picked up, Zhengyi learnt a valuable lesson in soft skills. “Be proactive, stay hungry for knowledge and show you’re eager to learn – that’s what all employers want,” adds the chemical and biomolecular engineering graduate.

From Rolls-Royce to P&G
Tan Hui Quan
Procter & Gamble
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From Rolls-Royce to Procter & Gamble, Hui Quan has had it good.

This mechanical engineering student has always been keen on the consumer goods industry. It was with this single-minded focus that she applied to multinational company Procter & Gamble, and landed a job in one of its core teams. She will work on launching new products in Asia for the men’s personal care brand, Gillette.

Hui Quan, who said internships hold the key to success, nabbed a prestigious work placement at Rolls-Royce Singapore during her time at NTU.

“Students should underestimate the importance of an internship. The mentors I’ve met and the advice they’ve given me contributed a great deal to my career growth,” she says.

Another defining experience for her was going on exchange at the Czech Republic in her final year. She explains: "Experiencing culture shock has shaped my personality significantly by teaching me to trust my gut, survive during periods of loneliness and unfamiliarity, and develop a thicker skin."

Five languages and four job offers
Thomas Beckwith
Mizuho
Thomas speaks five languages – a great asset for one who’s bent on a global career.

“I picked up Korean during my six-month exchange at Yonsei University, and I’ve been learning Japanese since secondary school. Because I plan to work in Asia, knowing these languages could give me a leg up in my career,” says the double degree graduate in accountancy and business who’s driven by equal parts passion and practicality. “I took Spanish while at NTU as it sounds beautiful. I may pick up Arabic next, mainly because it’s one of the most challenging languages to learn.”

Thomas received four job offers for analyst and advisory roles from accountancy and financial research firms. He chose to enter Mizuho’s global leadership programme for fresh graduates as an analyst and will be posted overseas in the last two years of the five-year programme.

“NTU has helped me identify my strengths and taught me to capitalise better on them. In particular, working on group projects made me understand how we can play to each team member’s strengths. Meeting peers who share my passion for finance also challenged me to constantly improve myself,” he says.

Thomas adds that joining clubs and doing sports rounded off his multi-faceted education in NTU. “I made friends with people from different countries and learnt how to navigate a multicultural scene. It’s something that will really help me when I go out into the working world.”