5 Ways How SMU Made “A Different Me”

By Chinkita Chugh, School of Information Systems Alumna, and Amanda Hong, Lee Kong Chian School of Business Alumna, SMU


Hello there!

We are Chinkita (BSc Information Systems, 2018) and Amanda (BBM, 2018). We met while being groupmates in a business module and, coincidentally, were part of the same internship programme. And we have remained good friends ever since.

While reminiscing on our undergraduate days over one of our dinner catchups (it has been two years since graduation), we decided to come up with this journal of how SMU has transformed us to become the “different me” that you see today.

As SMU alumni, here are the five ways that our alma mater has reshaped us!


1. The Empirical Curriculum

On hindsight, the modules that we had undertaken in SMU always gave us a flavour of the real world. From knowledge passed on from case studies to opportunities for practical application beyond the classroom, the curriculum was pragmatic.

  • 10–20% – Class participation
  • 30–40% – Project group work
  • 40–60% – Individual effort

Ask anyone what they recall from their SMU experience and 8 out of 10 would say “class participation”. SMU trains us to be vocal and to share our thought process. We entered as freshmen who were introverted and shy, but through the years have grown to find and embrace our voices.

All in all, each module is structured to be meaningful in the way where it holistically challenges us in both the IQ and EQ.


The project group where we first met in 2017


2. Valuable Soft Skills

Soft skills were something harnessed both inside and outside of the seminar rooms.

Every module has a project. Working in a group comprising of different individuals becomes a unique experience as we get exposure to diverse opinions and opportunities for collaboration. You will be surprised at the quality and content being presented as the sharing creates constructive tension within the classrooms. Personally, we have even stayed overnight to practice and rehearse our presentations. Cue: young, wild and free.

Diversity is also embraced on campus, and can even stimulate networking opportunities. If you were to trace the footprint of the SMU community, it would be global. Individuals literally come from all walks of life—of varying nationality, culture and age—all interacting within a 4.5-hectare space.


Meeting new friends at Welfare drives


3. Exposure Through Internships

SMU makes it mandatory for every undergraduate to take up at least one internship experience (although most end up doing 3 to 4). Internships are an amazing platform to learn more about the various industries and job roles, so we can make a more informed decision on what to pursue upon graduation. We are encouraged and have the avenue to explore internships from startups to MNCs (both of us are living examples of this).



4. …And Other Forms

Student Exchange: SMU has more than 250 partner universities where you can choose to study for one or more semesters (both locally and overseas). Both of us opted to do an exchange miles away from Singapore in the USA and Canada, and experienced snow for the first time. This made us get out of our comfort zone, experience a different culture and education, all while embracing independence and wanderlust. The grades were also pass/fail, allowing us to be more daring to challenge ourselves with modules we wouldn’t usually take in SMU (e.g.: French and International Entrepreneurship).


Lake Louise, Canada


Competitions: Unfortunately, we aren’t gifted with inclinations in the arts or sports, so we took up other forms of competitions we were more adept at, such as case competitions. We had the opportunity to compete with other students on a global and local scale, and it definitely filled us with pride in being able to represent SMU on these platforms.


Asian Student Venture Forum, Korea 2015


Community Service: Before graduation, we also had to complete at least 80 hours of community service (although most students, on average, do more). This was an incredible way to give back to society and create a difference in the world, all while adding to our resume.


5. The Forever Friends

Renowned ballerina Misty Copeland once said, “Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”

It was inevitable to have phases of highs and lows through our four years in SMU, and we’re grateful to everyone who had shared these moments with us. Despite the constant pressure and self-doubt of “Is my GPA good enough?”, “Will I be able to fit in?”, and “Would we be able to survive in the corporate world?”, we think that it’s ultimately great to have close friends who would help us kick these worry-monsters away.

To the friends that we have met while on this journey, I hope you’re doing well and maybe we’ll cross paths again in the working world! Till then, may we never stop growing and challenging ourselves every day.


Keen to take the next step with SMU? Learn more about our undergraduate programme today.



One thought on “5 Ways How SMU Made “A Different Me”

  1. Derrick

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and views. It is indeed very helpful for parents like myself who is helping my child to decide on which university.
    Your points in Empirical Curriculum is heartwarming.
    Soft skills and internship points are very encouraging to know especially when I need to explain to my shy kid.
    Thank you once again for this sharing.

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