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Feature

10 reasons to be on the NTU Smart Campus

NTU is brimming with exciting new ways to live, learn, work and play, which makes it a smart choice for your future, say NTU undergrads who spoke to Chrystal Chan and Peter Yeo

1. You’re hired!

Game designer, scientist, the next Jack Ma… whatever your aspirations, you can plan your way to your dream vocation at NTU. Nine in 10 NTU graduates land jobs within six months of graduation and it all starts in your first year with career preparation classes, from resume writing to personal branding, and helpful one-on-one career advice.

You can also do an internship or two… or three or four, as some of your seniors have done, at sought-after companies such as Google, Unilever, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Singapore Airlines. And like your seniors, you could end up with multiple job offers even before your final exams. Better yet, all undergraduates will be future-ready, since being conversant with digital technologies is something all NTU students become, whatever their discipline.

“Multiple internship opportunities are open to me as a student of international trading. I have interned with Wilmar International and Lobb Heng Group, fruitful stints that have given me a leg up over my competitors, helping me clinch a job with a leading energy trading company based in Europe. NTU’s friendly career consultants helped me to review my resume and I learnt how to use key words to catch the attention of companies, as well as picked up useful interview pointers. I was even alerted to companies who are hiring.” – Bryan Ong, final-year aerospace engineering and business student

2. The future is here

At NTU, you can get on board technologies of the future such as driverless vehicles and new ways of learning. A dedicated circuit for testing autonomous vehicles is just down the road, and you can hop on eco-friendly electric shuttle buses or watch a hybrid BMW sports car zip by with a researcher at the wheel.

Interested in robotics? Meet EDGAR, who hosted a National Day Parade, and Nadine, possibly the first social robot in Singapore to be hired by a multinational company as a customer service officer. And who would have thought robots can put together flat-pack IKEA furniture in minutes? NTU’s dynamic duo did just that and made headlines around the world. Flipped classrooms and other innovative digital study tools, such as 3D-printed anatomical specimens and lectures on iPads, give students a more immersive learning experience.

“As a student at NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, I not only study at my own pace, but also learn on the go with my iPad provided by the school. Learning in teams in a flipped classroom format encourages us to raise questions, clarify doubts, debate our answers and pick the brains of renowned doctors and professors in various fields. Classes are never mundane when you are always in intense discussion with your classmates, which also helps you to remember what you’ve learnt better.” – Gabrielle Koh, second-year medicine student

3. Stay in cool digs

It’s not just a hall, it’s also a second home,” says second-year biological sciences student Wendy Ng. Her sentiments are echoed by most undergrads who call NTU’s smart campus home. Students are guaranteed a residential place in your first two years here, giving you the opportunity to make the most of a home away from home in the company of campus buddies.

Midnight steamboat suppers? Inter-hall games and cheerleading competitions? Or cooking school at your doorstep? There are no lack of ways to get creative with pals. Hall residents have also been in the thick of Latin dance, pottery, astrophotography and financial planning under NTU’s Residential Education programme, all for free.

If you just can’t sleep anywhere else but on your own bed, hop on the free direct shuttle bus to NTU – from neighbourhoods like Tampines, Punggol and Bukit Gombak – to beat the peak-hour rush in air-conditioned comfort. Just be ready to flash your NTU Smart Pass.

“Hall life feels like an extended slumber party. I love that after a tiring day in school, I can just swing back ‘home’ and chill. My roomie and I like to keep our hall room door open so friends can drop by anytime. Everything I need is within reach – the biggest gym on campus, my favourite hall canteen and the bus stop, where I can either take the campus shuttle to class or board the public bus to go out of campus.” – Wendy Ng, second-year biological sciences student

4. Be among the top ranked

You’ll have bragging rights as a student of NTU. For the past five years, NTU has been named the world’s top young university by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which comes up with annual global and regional university rankings. NTU is placed 12th in QS’s latest ranking of almost 1,000 universities worldwide.

In subjects like materials science, chemistry, electrical & electronic engineering, communication and education, NTU has also been placed number one across various rankings in Asia and the world, so you’ll certainly be making a smart decision to head here.

“NTU’s top ranking as a university and in various fields made an impression on me. Ultimately, I want to secure a good job for myself and NTU graduates are seen in a good light by employers. My mum, who is in the retail business and involved in the hiring process, told me that NTU graduates are known for their strong work ethic.” – Lindsey Fisk, first-year business student

5. Gateway to the world

Going overseas as an undergrad isn’t an opportunity just for a lucky handful. Eight in 10 NTU undergraduates get a taste of overseas adventures through exchange, internships, field trips, competitions and more.

NTU has over 540 university and industry partners, which means the options are plentiful. Students in the Renaissance Engineering Programme head to top varsities such as Imperial College London and University of Berkeley, California, for an entire year. Over at the Asian School of the Environment, you can embark on field trips to destinations like Bali and Canada.

Students are also opting to go on exchange in “exotic” locales like South Africa and Russia. Those who dream of becoming entrepreneurs can dip their toes into the start-up culture through the Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme, whether in Silicon Valley, Shanghai or Berlin.

Schools, clubs and halls also organise overseas leadership and community involvement projects. Apart from the chance to help communities in need, you’ll return a better version of yourself.

“I spent a year at the University of California, Berkeley, where I met people from all over the world and learnt about their cultures. I also did my internship in the US with Boeing in Washington. It was eye-opening to see full-size planes being assembled and this has piqued my interest in a career in the aerospace industry. Exposure to the American work culture has changed me – I grew comfortable with vocalising my opinions as an intern in a big company. The best part is, work ended at 3.30pm daily, giving me plenty of time to explore the beautiful city in summer!” – Oo Guolin, fourth-year Renaissance Engineering Programme student

6. Develop a range of skill sets

As an NTU undergrad, you’ll develop skill sets and knowledge beyond your specialisation and be prepared for jobs that don’t yet exist. The curriculum and pedagogies are designed to help you acquire soft skills such as communication skills, critical thinking ability and teamwork.

Anticipating the changes brought forth by the fourth industrial revolution, you’ll gain digital literacy and learn about developments that are changing the world, whether in business, technology or the environment.

Techies love the innovation garages on campus. In one of these, students built Singapore’s first 3D-printed car and raced it to the finish line first at the Shell Eco-marathon Asia. Electrical & Electronic Engineering students recently put their knowledge of technology to good use by creating an escape room (above).

The University Scholars Programme lets students investigate multidisciplinary issues in other countries. Students can even take electives abroad, such as in Venice, where they went to learn about maritime silk roads.

“It’s great that I get to explore disciplines outside of my major. I’m studying communication, but I also take modules like yoga, watercolour and philosophy. This variety is difficult to find elsewhere. NTU’s multidisciplinary emphasis is fantastic because we get to sample different fields, often in unexpected ways, and even abroad. Anyone of us can start a project with manpower and financial assistance. A group of us kickstarted the annual theatre production, USPresents, back in 2017. It’s been such fun!” – Elyse Yap, final-year communication student

7. Industry giants at your doorstep

NTU’s in league with titans of the industry such as Rolls-Royce, Alibaba, Dyson and HP, amongst others, which opens the door to internships at joint labs on campus, overseas exchanges and research projects, as well as opportunities to meet and network with game changers of the industry. Professors widely respected in their domains lead NTU’s world-class laboratories, and since some of the world’s most highly-cited scientists could be among your professors, you can have a field day picking their brains.

“I was drawn to the strength of NTU’s network and partnerships with world-class institutes. Students like me value the highly sought-after internships and overseas opportunities these bring. I am particularly attracted to NTU’s partnership with Dyson. Knowing that such a successful and dynamic engineering firm works with NTU not only validates the strength of the University’s engineering college, but it also opens up the chance to intern there. My dream is to work there in the future!” – Colin Loh, second-year Renaissance Engineering Programme student

8. Get the best for less

Photo: University of British Columbia

Attractive scholarships, especially bond-free ones like the Nanyang Scholarship, sweeten the deal for any aspiring NTU student. The research-centric CN Yang Scholars Programme lets you work with top scientists, while the University Scholars Programme is a good fit for those with interdisciplinary interests.

The Renaissance Engineering Programme is the most sought after engineering programme among top A-level students, and puts you on the path towards management. There are also college and school-based scholarships, as well as scholarships funded by government agencies and private organisations that typically come with a bond and a job upon graduation.

Depending on which scholarship you pick or qualify for, you can get perks beyond fully subsidised tuition fees, such as sponsored overseas learning and a guaranteed hall stay throughout your undergraduate studies. A number of scholarships also come with generous living, book and computer allowances.

“The CN Yang Scholars Programme has given me a head start as an aspiring researcher, and I look forward to visiting top research institutes overseas. The living allowance I receive covers my day-to-day expenses, and I’m saving the rest for future overseas community service projects or learning trips. I have also used the computer allowance for a new laptop for school. Most importantly, I’m not bonded to any future employer, which means I can explore all my options during my four years before choosing which industry to enter.” – Grace Tay, first-year environmental earth systems science student

9. Courses for the future

Take your pick from an extensive range of double-degree and double-major programmes you’d be hard pressed to find outside of NTU. For example, get the best of both worlds with a degree from the College of Science and another one from the College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, or opt for the popular Accountancy and Business combination.

Students pursuing science and engineering courses can consider doing a second major in Food Science and Technology under a joint programme with Wageningen University in the Netherlands. New this year is the Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, a programme designed to train leaders for the new digital economy.

“Many of NTU’s programmes cover more than a single field of study. I grabbed the opportunity to pursue a double degree in Aerospace Engineering and Economics as I knew that I would not be able to get this combination elsewhere. With this, I can stand out from the crowd when applying for internships and jobs. During my internship at the Defence Science and Technology Agency, my knowledge of economics came in handy as I could approach my projects from various angles.” – Avion Lim, final-year aerospace engineering and economics student

10. A lush environment like no other

It’s easy to forget you’re in school when you’re here. After all, NTU frequently features in lists of the world’s most beautiful varsities, thanks to “wow” buildings like The Hive and the iconic grass-roofed School of Art, Design & Media.

The forests nearby are a haven for flora and fauna, so don’t be surprised if you spot a beautiful hornbill flying overhead at dusk. Lush greenery and magnificent architecture aside, NTU has a firm commitment to sustainability, clinching the highest accolade in Singapore for sustainable building design.

“Green” buildings such as The Wave, NTU’s sports hall, and The Arc, the newest learning hub, use the latest technologies to reduce electricity and waste.

“As a nature lover, I am fortunate to be surrounded by lush forests housing so much wildlife. I still get a thrill every time I spot these campus beauties. We’re privileged to share this space with them and I hope that NTU can remain a thriving home for wildlife as much as it is a home for us. Hearing the sounds of nature in the midst of my busy day reminds me to slow down and appreciate the greenery around me. The foliage plus animal and bird sightings make the campus even more aesthetically pleasing than it already is.” – Chua Kai Ting, third-year environmental earth systems science student