Why I Chose SMU: Integrative Studies Undergraduate Roger Chua 

By the SMU Digital Marketing team 

From its career-oriented focus to dynamic teaching styles and vibrant student culture, SMU offers a unique blend of opportunities that prepare students for success in the real world. Dive into the insights of Roger Chua, SMU College of Integrative Studies (CIS) undergraduate, as he reflects on his SMU experience and why he believes it’s the perfect university for anyone who aspires to be more. 


What made you choose SMU when you were deciding on a university?

As I weighed my options between SMU and another prestigious university, both boasting similar curriculum frameworks, SMU stood out for its reputation as a career-oriented institution. Understanding tertiary education as more than just acquiring knowledge, but also about preparing for the workforce, SMU’s focus on bridging academia with practical skills deeply resonated with me, ultimately making it my preferred choice. 


What’s your favourite course so far, and why?

I love Dr Francis Pavri’s Sustainability Management and Governance module. He’s dynamic, engaging, and encourages bidirectional learning. Dr Francis sparks debate with his animated teaching style and challenges us to think critically. The lesson becomes a lively exchange of ideas, making participation in class discussions natural and enriching. While I already had an interest in the subject, Dr Francis’s approach amplified my passion, making every class enjoyable and insightful. 


What is one quality that you have been able to nurture at SMU that would likely have a lasting impact in your life?

At SMU, initiative is ingrained in the student culture. Students actively seek, create, and share opportunities to enhance their employability. This proactive atmosphere encourages me to seize chances without overthinking, recognising that potential drawbacks associated with a decision that we hesitate on are often manageable. It motivates me to pursue opportunities that contribute to my long-term success. 


Tell us about your CCAs.

As the Academic Director of College of Integrative Studies Society (inCISive), I lead academic initiatives such as mentorship programmes, Integrative Fiesta, academic briefings, and course bidding guidance. Collaborating with the CIS Office, we organise our flagship Fiesta to offer enriching experiences in integrative learning through field visits, workshops, and networking opportunities. Our goal is to provide quality events that enhance our peers’ academic, professional, and social lives. 


Roger (top row, 2nd from left) with his Connect China team that brings Chinese culture into the lives of the highly international SMU student population

Roger (top row, 2nd from left) with his Connect China team, which aims to introduce Chinese culture to the culturally-diverse SMU student population


At the same time, I’m also the Honorary General Secretary of ICON Connect China, where I ensure administrative excellence, including email proofreading and communications. I take pride in fostering a culture of accountability among fellow Exco members. I also lead safety initiatives, drawing on my training to meticulously vet proposals and ensure effective risk management measures are in place. 


What sort of global exposure programmes do you plan to embark on?

I am keen to explore a Global Exchange or Summer Programme during my time in SMU. Having travelled to countries in Asia and to New York throughout my education, I am keen to broaden my understanding of the world by experiencing New York firsthand. I find immersing myself in other cultures as a student the most effective approach. Interacting with peers my age allows me to gain insights from their perspective, fostering a sense of camaraderie that I believe will be invaluable during my time abroad. 

I am also open to exploring an international internship if the opportunity arises. Such an experience would offer a unique chance to understand different cultures from a professional standpoint and familiarise myself with corporate norms, adding another dimension to my learning journey. 


How are you financing your education?

I am blessed to be a recipient of the SMU Global Impact Scholarship, which has allowed me to pursue my interests and contribute to the school without financial worry. The generous support for tuition and allowances motivates academic excellence, tied to a minimum GPA requirement. Unlike typical scholarships, this also extends partial funding for an SMU Master’s programme, encouraging future planning. I intend to pursue a Masters in Sustainability to complement my Bachelor of Integrative Studies (Individualised Major in Sustainable Businesses & Asian Culture). 


Roger (1st from right) enjoying the blend ofexploring creativity and culture at a Connect China event with course mates friends across undergraduate and Masters programmes

Roger (1st from right) enjoying the blend of creativity and culture at a Connect China event with friends across undergraduate and Masters programmes


How has SMU prepared you for your career aspirations?

We receive a ton of career-related emails and Telegram updates from CCA groups and the SMU Offices. From career fairs and networking events to career talks, internship opportunities, and workshops, there’s always something happening. Whenever my schedule allows, I attend these events to gain real-world insights into my future field and connect with professionals for advice. Crafting my own CIS degree also means I need to verify job market demands, which chatting with industry experts helps clarify. 


Roger's quote



Ready to take on the world, starting with your undergraduate study at SMU? Accept your offer by 18 June 2024!