My SMU Business Freshman Year: Haris Lim

By Muhammad Haris Lim Jun Chen, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business

I was a student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic and I did a Diploma in Business Studies with a major in marketing. I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in business, but I remember feeling caught in the dilemma of deciding which local university I wanted to study in. Every single person whom I had sought advice from would tell me different things about each university. Some would say that this university is good for this, while others would say that university would be good for that. I soon realised that even after doing a ton of research and weighing out the pros and cons, it was up to me to form my own opinions of which school suited me best. And I believe that was how I ended up making my final decision.

So why did I choose SMU? Well, I didn’t. Not at first.

When I was still a polytechnic student, I was part of the lucky few who had the opportunity to apply for a placing in NTU and NUS in my second last semester. Thankfully, I received offers from both universities and I was almost certain that I would choose to go for NTU’s business school because of its tempting 3-year degree. It made the most sense to me as I wanted to graduate as soon as I could. But something in me wanted to try for SMU’s business programme as well. Perhaps it was the seminar-style learning or the reputation that the University has for encouraging students to participate in class. To this day, whatever that feeling was, I am thankful for it.

As SMU has an admissions interview, I had to go through the interview before knowing whether I would get placing in the University. So, I went for it.

Fast forward to the day of the admissions interview, I remember feeling really nervous, yet excited at the same time. It was a group interview where we had to read and discuss an article among ourselves before proceeding to a seminar room where we would share our thoughts with a professor. In hindsight, the experiences in that seminar room, where all of us had to take turns to participate in the discussion, resembles very closely what is expected of all SMU students in class. What I learnt and experienced that day made me realise that my education in SMU would be much more interactive than directive, and that was the key factor that sealed the deal for me.

Since I had to serve two years of National Service prior to starting university, SMU’s freshman camps were great in helping me transition back into civilian life, as well as to becoming a student again. I guess it was the combination of fun games, friendships forged and the guidance from my seniors that really made me feel at home in SMU.

I’ve just started the second semester of my freshman year. So far, the workload in school has definitely been manageable, but it is designed to reward those who are consistent in their performance. The professors here really do a good job in aiding those who seek help, as long as you do your part. However, I learnt that while it is important to be independent in your learning, you should never undervalue the importance of collaboration, as teamwork always makes the dream work.

Aside from my academic work, I have also joined the SMU Marketing Society (or SMARKETING). With SMARKETING I’ve had the opportunity to visit companies such as Shopback, Glints and Unilever (just to name a few)! I was even able to participate in a mini case competition organised by Hubspot and won tickets to their sales and marketing conference!


Haris at Hubspot


The highlight of my first semester in SMU would definitely be joining the SLUSH team for SLUSH 2018. SLUSH is an annual tech startup event that matches investors with founders. Being part of the volunteer team, I was able to witness the pitches by both local and international entrepreneurs, as well as their interactions with investors. As a budding entrepreneur myself, it was truly an eye-opening experience and I would definitely be back for SLUSH 2019.


Haris at SLUSH 2018


It has been really amazing in SMU so far. And even though there were many challenging moments, I’m glad I got to meet many amazing individuals and professors who have inspired me to dream bigger and strive further. Definitely looking forward to my remaining time in SMU!


Keen to take the next step with SMU? Learn more about our Bachelor of Business Management programme today.