By the SMU Digital Marketing Team
When choosing a university, academics are certainly an important consideration. After all, the degree you will one day graduate with will have a significant impact on your career, so it’s vital that you choose an institution with a strong curriculum and reputation.
However, the academic quality of a university isn’t the only deciding factor. For many students, co-curricular opportunities are of equal or greater importance. This could mean anything from joining student clubs and teams to participating in the arts, competing in sports or volunteering in the community.
Additionally, some students might look to factors such as dorm life and affordability when making their decision – after all, they can have a big impact on your overall college experience.
Ultimately, the choice of university is yours, and there is no right or wrong answer. To provide more insights, we speak to Deng Boya, a final-year student at SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB). The Finance major shares more about life in Prinsep Street Residences and how SMU has shaped her into a goal-oriented, future-ready professional.
What made you decide on SMU?
“I’ve always felt that SMU’s courses were practical and application-oriented, and the University helps to gear undergraduates towards employability and career readiness.”
I have a preference for seminar-style lessons, as smaller classes are more interactive and facilitate better learning. Second, I’ve always felt that SMU’s courses were practical and application-oriented, and the University helps to gear undergraduates towards employability and career readiness. Lastly, SMU’s city campus is highly accessible and allows students to easily juggle between classes and internships. I was super-fortunate to receive a scholarship from the university, and I felt that it offered me a holistic education thanks to the industry-relevant courses (SMU-X programmes) and global exposure opportunities.
What do you recall of your first month at SMU?
My first month at SMU was a flurry of activities that ranged from moving into the SMU dorm on Prinsep Street to orientation programmes and attending CCA fairs. Staying in the co-living concept at Prinsep Street Residences was probably the closest thing to living independently. I also grappled with the notion of class participation (trust me, it gets easier) during my first few classes. Of course, I explored food options around campus, found my favourite studying spots, and rediscovered the city through walks around places such as Marina Bay.
What has been your favourite course so far?
It is tough to identify just one! Business Law is challenging but interesting, and provided a foundational overview of the subject matter. The second is Analysis of Derivatives. The course covers various financial instruments like futures, forwards and options. It is highly applicable to financial markets and is taught in a hands-on way — our project was based on a trading simulation spanning the entire module. The professors for these courses are also highly engaging and dedicated.
What is one quality you have been able to nurture at SMU?
Teamwork and communication. SMU is vastly different from Junior College as modules involve projects. During these four years, I have learnt the importance of collaboration. While struggles and frustrations are inevitable, projects have made me a better listener and communicator. I believe that these soft skills will prepare me for working life in areas such as managing different stakeholders, projects and timelines.
Tell us about your CCA experience.
I joined the SMU Student-Managed Investment Fund in my first year of university. The club consists of individuals who enjoy learning about public equities, and we picked up lessons on financial valuations and analysis. Through the club, I was able to glean new knowledge from seniors, peers and alumni who shared their industry experiences.
What sort of global exposure programmes have you embarked upon?
My most memorable SMU experience is a community service trip to Vietnam, to a village called Hua Tat, where we addressed English literacy, sustainable tourism and sanitation issues.
We were greeted by friendly locals right from the start, who treated us with hospitality and showed us their way of life. The children’s enthusiasm for learning at the local school where I taught was infectious. We could only make do with simple activities such as picture cards, paper exercises, games and writing on blackboards, but the children picked up English very quickly. The trip allowed me to learn from the villagers – their language, culture and simplicity, and is a memory that I will always cherish.
How has SMU prepared you for your career aspirations?
I hope to work in finance and have reached my goal with the help of the SMU Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre. Its internship portal provides students with a variety of internship choices, and the university also allows students to take a leave of absence from their studies for an internship during the term. In addition, students can approach the Career Centre for advice on various employment issues such as resume writing.
Complete this sentence: Five years from now, I…
Hope to contribute meaningfully to my organisation, not lose sight of my values and help those around me to my fullest ability.
Keen to make a difference in business and society? Accept your SMU offer now! Acceptance closes 24 May 2022.