By Kenneth Wong, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business
Before joining SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB), here are 6 things you really need to know to get yourself prepared:
1. Teamwork is a must
LKCSB is a school that not only imparts business skills but constantly pushes you to develop yourself both as a leader and a team player. Having done a total of 19 team-based project work out of the 21 modules that I have taken, this has allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of myself and how I work best in a team.
In SMU, we get to discover our strengths, as well as our weaknesses, through various courses and programmes outside of our business modules. For example, through the sessions hosted by the Office of Student Life, I have gleaned further insight into my Top 5 strengths using the Gallup StrengthsFinder. The Gallup StrengthsFinder not only allowed me to understand my own strengths better, but my teammates’ as well. We then used this knowledge to complement each other’s strengths to create the most effective team.
Project work team
2. Becoming articulate and confident is part of the process
LKCSB provides a highly interactive learning environment. The pedagogy of seminar-style teaching, as opposed to the usual lecture-tutorial system, encourages constant engagement between both students and professors. With questions and answers being thrown around the seminar room, students are given the opportunity to share and discuss — creating a more conducive environment that stimulates learning and a greater understanding of the topic.
MBA-style seminar rooms at SMU
3. Experiencing how the real world works
During my first semester here in SMU, I took a module called ‘Leadership and Team Building’ which was taught by Professor Rani Tan. This is not your usual theoretical module; instead, it is one that is based on experiential learning. In the module, we were tasked to engage a leader to share about his experience in the form of an interview, and thereafter, apply what we had learnt to solve a current and relevant situation in society. This allowed us students to come together to put into action what we had learnt, both from the class and from a mentor, to solve a real-world problem faced by an actual organisation.
In addition, with the new SMU-X, an initiative to introduce a new way of bridging theory and practice through a multi-disciplinary and hands-on approach, our ability to engage industry partners will now be brought to a whole new level.
‘Leadership and Team Building’ module with Professor Rani Tan
4. Stepping out of your comfort zone and going international
LKCSB is also committed to making sure that every single student will have a chance at an international experience. Be it in the form of an overseas community service project, business study mission, industry study mission, international business case competition or an exchange.
For myself, I had the opportunity to go on exchange to Helsinki, Finland. This international exposure allowed me to experience an entirely different environment and culture, giving me the opportunity to develop independence, adaptability and international networks. I found that by completely immersing myself in the education system of my host country, it allowed me to better experience and understand the country’s people, traditions, and culture.
Overseas exchange to Helsinki
5. There will never be a dull moment
There is more to student life in SMU than just studying and project work. There are numerous activities that LKCSB has outside of that, ranging from interfaculty games, paintball fights, welfare drives, to camps and even a fashion show. Life in LKCSB is filled with events meant to forge and build friendships that are meant to last a lifetime!
Having gone for numerous camps during my freshmen year, joining the organising committee for some of them, to finally being elected as vice president in the executive committee for Bondue, I must say LKCSB has a really become an important part of my experience in SMU. The bonds I’ve formed with my camp mates and teammates are really special to me, and I would not exchange this for any other university experience. Student life is an important aspect of university for me and it forms an integral part of the entire university experience. LKCSB, and specifically Bondue, is where I have formed true and loyal friendships.
2014 Bondue Camp Facilitators
Being part of Bondue’s 11th Executive Committee
6. You’ll be well-prepared for the world
LKCSB has a lot of internship opportunities for students and my first internship was at GDF SUEZ Trading (Engie Global Markets). It was a great eye-opener because the textbook and real life are very different. Having said that, the accounting, as well as trade finance knowledge that I learnt in class, was very applicable to what I did in my role there, setting a good foundation for the on-the-job learning that I had to engage in during my internship. The internship stint allowed me to gain more technical skills that will be relevant to my future career. Furthermore, the alumni mentoring programmes organised by SMU’s career centre allowed me to meet like-minded seniors who continuously guided me through my journey in SMU. This platform allowed me to gain an understanding of the working culture in different companies and industries, and how best to excel in each of them, allowing me to prepare myself better for the working world.
Internship at GDF SUEZ Trading
Undergraduate applications are open! Learn more about the Bachelor of Business Management programme today.
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