By the SMU Digital Marketing Team
What draws you to a university? Is it its pedagogy, location, campus culture, faculty or student life? When it comes to picking a university, it feels like there are endless options and no clear way to an easy decision. How do you know which institution is the right fit for you? And how do you know if you’re making the right choice?
A final-year SMU School of Accountancy student, pursuing a double degree in Accountancy and Business Management, Amanda Song went through just that. She shares how SMU has prepared her for the real world and provided the exposure that has nurtured her into a global citizen.
What made you decide on SMU?
It was a challenge as different universities have distinct learning styles and offer different programmes.
Ultimately, I was drawn to the broad global exposure at SMU. We can embark on overseas community service projects (OCSP), exchange programmes, study missions and overseas internships; and are even allowed to propose self-arranged programmes relevant to our studies or the community.
“I appreciated the fact that there are so many options available to customise our university journey.”
I have travelled to India and South Korea as part of these programmes. Although Covid-19 had disrupted some of the study missions and trips, SMU remained a strong advocate of global exposure, providing online alternatives and resuming the overseas programmes as soon as the situation had stabilised.
Flexibility is another factor that played a significant role in my decision. I appreciated the fact that there are so many options available to customise our university journey: From the choice of a second major or degree, to the number of years we take to complete our studies and the number of modules we sign up for per term. We can also apply for self-arranged programmes at partner universities.
What do you recall of your first month at SMU?
I was a little apprehensive as I was unfamiliar with the campus environment and was worried about the transition to university life. But my fears were allayed by the supportive community and opportunities to meet new people. These included orientation camps, CCA workshops and community service projects, where I met like-minded peers who became my pillars of support throughout my four years at SMU.
What has been your favourite course so far?
It is the Business Data Management elective. I learnt about database design and basic SQL, which are skills that complement our core accounting modules and are helpful in the workplace. The project was intellectually challenging as we had to design queries to extract data, but the professor was very knowledgeable and open to discussions.
What is one quality you have been able to nurture at SMU?
Being open-minded is a quality that will likely have a lasting impact on me. After entering university, I was faced with many choices, including the career I wanted to pursue. I learnt that it is important to explore different options and not shut anything off immediately based on preconceived notions. Instead of blindly following what my peers are doing, I make it a point to consider what works best for me and hear from others about their prior experiences before making my decisions.
Tell us about your CCA experience.
I joined Samba Masala, an Afro-Brazilian percussion group, when I was a freshman. It is a highly vibrant and dynamic CCA as we all come from different schools and backgrounds but are united through our passion for percussion music. I was also involved in organising several university and community-related events as part of the CCA, such as Christmas Busking in 2019, during which we raised funds for a beneficiary organisation through our performances around Singapore. Through these experiences, I forged meaningful friendships while honing interpersonal skills such as stakeholder management.
Amanda (second from right, front row) with fellow Samba Masala members after a Christmas Busking event in 2019
What global exposure programmes have you embarked upon?
Over the past few years, I embarked on various global exposure programmes, both in-person and virtually.
During the first two years of my studies, I participated in an OCSP in Jaipur, India, where we taught basic technology, English and financial literacy skills to women and children from less fortunate backgrounds. They were very receptive and eager to learn, and taught us so much about their lives.
I also attended the summer programme at Yonsei University in Korea with my friends in 2019, and its winter programme in 2021. We lived together for a few weeks and took modules such as Entrepreneurship and Korean Language.
Another programme that I was involved in was a study mission to Germany, where my team and I worked with a German startup to help them with their business expansion. We were unable travel to Germany due to Covid-19 but continued to engage our client through regular Zoom meetings and catch-up sessions*.
Group photo taken during an Overseas Community Service Project to Jaipur in 2019
How are you financing your education?
I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Global Impact Scholarship Award, which funded my tuition fees, provided a living allowance and subsidised many of my overseas programmes through the Global Learning Opportunities Worldwide (GLOW) grant. It allowed me to widen my exposure to the world and interact with clients to work on real-life projects, and sharpened my interpersonal skills while applying the knowledge that I learnt in the classroom to the real world.
How has SMU prepared you for your career aspirations?
I am currently pursuing a career in consulting as I believe that the relevant skillsets accumulated through my undergraduate studies will allow me to create an impact. Additionally, it is a fast-paced industry that will continue to challenge me and allow me to further my industry knowledge.
Amanda (extreme right) and her teammates of an SMU-X project with PayPal in 2019
Despite being fresh, SMU has prepared me for the role by providing opportunities to work with clients from different sectors through the various SMU-X modules. I have worked with both startups and multinational corporations, which provided a glimpse into different working styles and environments.
Complete this sentence: Five years from now, I…
Would have accumulated a few years of working experience and significant industry knowledge. As I take on more projects and responsibilities, I hope to find a specialisation to gain in-depth expertise.
Gain a solid foundation in accounting while receiving a robust and broad-based education with global exposure opportunities. Accept your SMU offer today! Acceptance closes 24 May 2022.
*SMU has resumed in-person global exposure experiences since January 2022.