Insights from an Insider – Muhammad Akid Abdul Rahim

By the SMU Digital Marketing Team

As young adults on the cusp of entering the workforce, it is imperative that university studies prepare undergraduates for the rigours of the workplace. At the same time, university life is often a rare chance to experience the freedom of being a student.

For Lee Kong Chian School of Business student Muhammad Akid Abdul Rahim, SMU succeeded in both aspects – preparing him to be career-ready, while also offering a vibrant campus life offering him multiple opportunities to pursue his passions.

After a term spent in Switzerland at the renowned University of St. Gallen as part of SMU’s International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP), Akid is now embracing his internship at EY-Parthenon, Ernst & Young’s global strategy consulting arm. As he learns the rope in the fast-paced field of consultancy, Akid says that his time at SMU has given him a good basic grasp on how things work, and expedited his learning ability.


Akid catching a football match at the FC Barcelona Stadium, Spotify Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain


Besides the holistic education offered at SMU, Akid also relished the chance to pursue his passion in music as a training director with Samba Masala, SMU’s Afro-Brazilian percussion band. He was also active in the SMU Muslim Society, and grabbed the chance to give back to society as programme deputy for the Overseas Community Service Project, “Project Xingfu”.


Hi Akid, can you share with us an experience that you think is uniquely “SMU”?

SMU’s culture is strongly focused on being independent and inculcating self-learning, which took some getting used to at first. The freedom and ability to arrange my schedule and organise my learning provided me with a unique learning experience that I don’t think I could get as easily elsewhere.


Akid plays the drum in SMU’s Afro-Brazilian percussion band

Tell us more about your student life at SMU!

Walking through campus, it’s a common sight to find fellow students dancing along the corridors of the School of Social Sciences, and friends bonding over meals or playing sports at Campus Green. As clichéd as it sounds, I’ll say that SMU students work hard, and play harder!


How has SMU challenged you both personally and academically?

I believe that SMU has transformed me to be a more holistic and versatile person. The training in independent learning developed my resourcefulness, while the collaborative environment has nurtured my leadership capabilities. Keeping a rigorous schedule (balancing academics and internship, while continuing club commitments) means I’ve learnt to be more disciplined and organised.



Akid (back row, 1st on the left) with fellow members from the SMU Muslim Society


How has SMU has helped you to be “career-ready”?

Within the first two weeks of my internship, I explored two industries to develop my consulting skillset. While the work can be fast-paced, the SMU core modules accelerated me on my learning curve as I already have a grasp of how some things work.

Using skills I picked up from these modules, I can navigate and develop insights from client data, and understand the bigger picture when solving clients’ problems. Besides my technical knowledge, SMU’s pedagogy inculcated greater curiosity and a desire for inquiry in me, which has helped me learn a lot during my internship.


Akid (1st on right) bonding with friends as part of Project Xingfu, an overseas community service project.


Lastly, any word of advice for incoming freshmen to SMU?

Be forward-looking but enjoy the present. Sometimes we get too occupied in preparing for our careers that we sometimes neglect the blessings we have at the moment. For many of us, this may be our final phase as students before we venture into the working world. There’s more to life than just work, and at SMU, you get a preview on how you can enjoy different aspects of life and still pursue a successful career.