All-Rounded Experience


All-Rounded Experience
MICA (P) 111/07/2010
Opening Doors
Issue 06
MARCH 2011
Our CEO comments on an all-rounded
education. – Page 3
The Right Values
Managing Director of Continental Automotive
Singapore Pte Ltd shares insights on the industry.
– Page 10
Banking on Dreams
What lies within the finance sector?– Page 12
SIM’s Got
Page 6
■ foreword
Our Sixth-cent
Worth of
In photo: Judy Wong
ibes is now in it’s sixth issue and we are constantly keeping up with trends to share consolidated
views from industry players, alumni and students with you. The economy has rebounded from its
plunge in 2008 and since the impact on the finance industry, many have been skeptical about its
prospects. This issue offers some insight to how our students feel and why they are continuing their career
pursuit in this field.
Two issues ago, we looked at holistic education in SIM. This topic casts a wide net of learning possibilities
in our institution and we aren’t quite finished talking about them! Here, we bring our readers into areas
previously uncovered, and have had our very own CEO, Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong give us some of
his comments.
As we move into the new year, we celebrate the fact that we constantly have a steady stream of budding
student writers who are eager to come on board each issue. Here’s wishing everyone our readers, contributors
and interviewees a great 2011!
Our partner universities
Judy Wong
Business and Marketing Relations
[email protected]
• ifs School of Finance (ifs), UK
• International Hotel Management Institute (IMI), UK
• RMIT University (RMIT), Australia
• SIM University (UniSIM), Singapore
• The George Washington University (GWU), US
• The University of Birmingham (UoB), UK
• The University of Manchester (UoM), UK
• The University of Sydney (UoS), Australia
• The University of Warwick (Warwick), UK
• University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia
• University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (UB), US
• University of London (UOL), UK
• The University of Sheffield, UK
On cover: Long Jinyu Anna, student of SIM-UB Bachelor of Double Degree - Bachelor of Science (Business Administration) and Bachelor
of Arts (Psychology); Shane Lee Xuan Rui, student of SIM-RMIT Bachelor of Business (Marketing); Yeap Shu Feng Laura, student of
SIM-UB Bachelor of Arts (Psychology); Victoria Ann Lim Xiu Yan, student of SIM-UB Bachelor of Arts (Psychology); Melani Sugiharti The,
student of SIM-UOL Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Accounting and Finance
Vibes serves as a platform to highlight the achievements of SIM GE students, alumni as well as campus trends and happenings to
industry partners and fellow students. Vibes is a bi-annual publication by SIM GE.
Singapore Institute of Management Pte Ltd (SIM), 461 Clementi Road, Singapore 599491
Publishing Consultant: Red Ink Communications | printer: Shotech Press | ISSN: L011/06/2008
As education moves beyond academic
studies, holistic education is fast becoming
a norm within schools in Singapore. CEO
of SIM Global Education explains the
In photo: Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong
vibrant culture exchange
centre, SIM is host to students
from more than 40 countries.
SIM students pick up cultural
insights from their fellow
students or when they go on
exchange programmes.
There is one more secret
ingredient. “Students must
have the right attitude. We
can open doors for you, but
you have to go through them
on your own. You also decide
which door to take.”
Adjunct Professor Lee Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong receiving the Public
Service Medal for his contribution to education.
urges students to build on
their strengths, despite popular advice to just focus
on weaknesses. “You improve in your weak areas,
but you should also find your strong ones to help
differentiate yourself from others.” There are many
platforms in SIM to help them discover where they
are best.
He remembers Timothy Khoo Shi Xian, a SIM-UOL
graduate of the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in
Economics and Management programme, who is also
a national windsurfer and founder of the windsurfing
club. He shares how Timothy was selected to be a
part of a prestigious organisation not just because of
his academic achievements, but his contributions and
experience in windsurfing.
Humility is also crucial. “You may know
everything today, but tomorrow you may not,”
quipped the professor. His advice to students –
“Make contributions not for the sake of being
rewarded. You may not be recognised immediately,
but you will eventually.”
VIBES • March 2011
olistic education means venturing
beyond the four walls of the
“SIM places great emphasis on holistic development
of our students,” shares Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok
Cheong. The Chief Executive Officer of SIM Global
Education sure walks the talk. In addition to having
years of experience in the Information Technology
(IT) industry prior to his tenure in the education
sector, Adjunct Professor Lee is also a recipient of
numerous public awards, including the prestigious
Public Service Medal.
To Adjunct Professor Lee, ‘holistic education’
equates to nurturing all-rounded students. He feels
that the total package is what employers seek now.
SIM’s 64 student clubs ranging from sports to music
ensembles, are set up to help students achieve that
“Playing the game or performing the music is
important. But what really develops oneself is when
you actively participate in the organisation and
running of the club,” Adjunct Professor Lee explains.
In these clubs, students often do more than
just the activity itself. They need to take up roles
in canvassing, gathering resources, planning and
budgeting. Very frequently, they will also need to
communicate with commercial companies. These
experiences will give them a head start when
they step into the corporate world. Undoubtly, the
club activities can also train student’s mindset
inculcating values like perseverance, confidence and
VIBES newsletter is one good example. “Students
learn writing and interview skills” pointed out Adjunct
Professor Lee. These are important traits that they
can carry with them beyond the classroom.
The education environment also plays a part. A
■ campus news
Awarding the Stars
SIM recently had their Annual
Sports Night and gave out several
awards to sportsmen whom
have shone in their respective
activities. This event seeks to
By chan zhi yang recognise SIM’s sportsmen and
women for their outstanding
contributions towards the school
in their various sporting genres.
The SIM Dragonboat team, which
won the Prime Minister Trophy
Award, was deemed Sports
Team of the Year. Marian Poon
and Han Delong won the SIM
Sportswoman and Sportsman of
the year respectively. Delong, former president of
the SIM Dragon Boat Club,
has participated in many
competitions and led the team
to victory by bagging three
category gold medals in the
Singapore River Regatta 2009,
four gold medals for the Penang
Breaking the Charts
Champion paddlers showing off their prize!
Pesta Open Dragon Boat Race, and
more recently, two gold medals as
well as the prestigious Prime Minister
Challenge Trophy during this year’s
Singapore Dragon Boat Festival.
Marian, with her positive attitude and
never-say-die character, is the winner
of three Singapore University Games
(SUniG) Gold Medals (Touch Football,
Bowling, Rugby).
lights up
SIM Incandescence made history by being the
first SIM contigent at Chingay.
SIM Incandescence created a piece
of SIM history when they became
the first SIM contingent to be
featured in the annual Chingay
parade. On 11 & 12 Feb, 93 SIM
GE students, led by dance captains
from SIM DreamWerkz, performed
in the Travelling Dance competition
segment of Chingay. The inclusion
of a dance competition within
the parade marked a first in the
39-year history of Chingay. SIM
Incandescence put up a valiant
showcase which included dance
moves inspired by Chinese, Malay
and Indian cultures to symbolise
Singapore’s unique cultural identity.
For their efforts, SIM Incandescence
won the second prize, beating 17 other
contingents, despite being one of few
first-timers in the parade. Our heartiest
congratulations to our students for
doing us proud!
Mrs Ho Soon Eng, Director of Student
Life Division was very pleased with the
achievements of SIM Incandescence. “We
are all proud of you. Your determination,
perseverance, dedication, commitment
for excellence is worthy to emulate. Well
done and thank you for keeping the SIM
flag flying high!
The University at Buffalo, the
State University of New York
under the SIM-UB programme
has had more of their students
compared to last year. This year
saw 115 out of 186 students
graduating with Honours, a
10% increase from last year’s
graduating cohort, which had 56
out of 107 students graduating
with Honours. Go Bulls!
SIM Floorball Women’s
Team reclaims the IVP
Challenge Cup
The SIM Floorball Women’s
Team recorded a resounding 6-1
victory over NYP to reclaim the
IVP Challenge Cup 2010/11. This
was also a sweet revenge for SIM
as they had lost to 1-3 to NYP
in a previous encounter during
the group stages. With this latest
win, SIM has lifted the trophy 3
times; 2008, 2009 and 2011. SIM
has equaled NTU’s record since
the inception of IVP Floorball in
campus news ■
Home to Harmony
Traditional chinese calligraphy art on display.
The SIM International Students Night (ISN)
2010 was held at Chevrons on 16th November
this year. Themed ‘Home to Harmony’, the
sold-out event was jointly presented by five
international student clubs; namely SIM
Burmese Student Community, SIM Vietnamese
Student Community, SIM Indonesian Student
Community), SIM Chinese National Network
and SIM International Minority Mix Students.
putting up a
brilliant dance
Throughout the night, guests were entertained
with a variety of performances. The guestof-honour for the night, SIM’s CEO Adjunct
Professor Lee Kwok Cheong said, “I was, as
always, impressed by the talents and energy of
our international students. The performances
were outstanding and I particularly liked
the students from different countries
performing together. Let’s have more mixed
country performances next year!”
Exponential growth for
the First-Class
These 92 First Class Honours
holders came from a plethora
of academic backgrounds and
nationalities. Furthermore, out of
these 92 graduates, 11 came from
SIM’s Diploma in Management
Studies programme. SIM-UOL’s
grading system has no bell curve,
nor banks its issuing of First Class
Honours recipients to a ratio
system, but bases on how well
each individual student performs
over all three years, with a heavier
emphasis or greater weightage
on the second and third year’s
All smiles for the first prize award winners.
Industry Night
allowed students, lecturers and industry
to mingle and discuss their projects
and career development prospects after
graduation. Research Methods and
Research Project challenges students to
connect knowledge with practice and to
think in ways to better our industry and
VIBES • March 2011
The 25th Intake of the SIM-RMIT,
Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction
Management) programme recently
concluded their annual Research, Industry
and Awards Night on 9th November,
2010. This event showcases the research
projects of all final year students and
■ feature
SIM’s Got
What would a fencer and a musician have in common?
What makes an analyst and conversationalist alike?
Diverse they may seem to be, this group of students
are all leveraging on opportunities to pursue their
interests while in school.
By Koh Yun ting,
Willy Ling AND
Steffi Chua
The Fencer
ictoria Ann Lim Xiu
Yan’s cheery smile and
friendliness captivates
one’s attention and betrays
nothing of the sport that she
plays, but SIM’s athletic fencer
and captain of the Fencing Club
has outstanding achievement in
this demanding and strenuous
sport. Victoria, student of SIMUB Bachelor of Arts (Psychology),
has won gold in the Women’s
Epee Individual in the Asian
Varsity Fencing Championship
2010 and silver in the Women’s
Epee Team during the Southeast
Asian Fencing Championships
2010 amongst many other
academically, having successfully
obtained the SIM GE scholarship
under the ‘Sports & Artistic’
category, which allows her
to pursue both fencing and a
tertiary education without a
heavy financial burden. “The SIM
GE scholarship has allowed me
to focus on fencing and SIM has
shown tremendous support for
me.” Victoria also added, “SIM
is very supportive of my athletic
interest as compared to other
universities and the scholarship
was an irresistible deal,” when
quizzed about the reason she
chose SIM.
As SIM’s fencing captain, she
also has the opportunity to lead
and learn from teammates and is
constantly striving to push team
towards greater heights. At the
end of the day, Victoria, with the
help of teammates, is enjoying
the privilege of “pursuing many
activities that are more fun than
studying, yet being able to study
all at the same time.”
Enjoying a youthful, holistic
and colourful school life in SIM,
Victoria is preparing to achieve a
whole lot more.
Be it pursuing his Bachelor of Business (Marketing)
at SIM-RMIT, or leading an ensemble of virtuosi, Shane
Lee Xuan Rui is a master of all trades in his own right.
The 23-year-old makes excellent testimony of an allrounder, not just as the recipient of the prestigious SIM GE
scholarship, but also as a leader in his many endeavours.
To many, the idea of possessing a scholarship sounds
distant, but not Shane, who believes that one can achieve
whatever one puts his heart to. “Prioritising is key. Even after
getting the scholarship, I am required to perform consistently
well in my studies. It has cultivated in me a sense of great
responsibility and discipline.”
Other than good academic performance, the scholarship
which falls under the ‘Sports and Artistic’ category requires
an impressive track record in artistic talents; as proven
adequately by Shane’s resume of artistic pursuits.
Shane is president of the String Ensemble, which
consists of members who have prior experience in their
respective instruments. Established one and a half years
ago, the Ensemble has been regularly engaged to perform
for some 31 internal and external events to date. Some
of these events include SIM Arts Festival, Graduation
Ceremonies and YOG Partner Recognition and Appreciation
dinner. Despite it being a CCA, Shane has to work with
a ‘corporate mindset’, handling budgets and managing
events. To spread the love for their craft, Shane and his
team conducted violin workshops for beginners last year;
keep a lookout for the second one this year if you are keen
on picking up a new instrument!
Shane was also the producer of the latest school musical
Thoroughly Modern Millie Junior. The same musical directed
by Nicole Stinton of Stint On Stage. It scored a huge success
last year despite it being the first musical produced by
SIM-Film and Performing Arts Society receiving full house
attendence and rave reviews from the public.
The Musician
It was certainly a haughty task
orchestrating a team of 40 in producing
this behemoth project, Shane was
challenged to make fast and accurate
decisions. “Every decision made will
have an impact on the success of
the musical...I have learnt to cope
with the stress and responsibility of
ensuring every decision I make is as
Shane performing with the SIM String
precise as possible,”
Ensemble at the Atrium.
Shane also added that it is important
to trust your teammates. “Everyone played their roles well...
Despite facing time constraints and challenges along the
way, it is with the end in mind that the team managed to
pull through and put up a well- received show.”
In addition to his already long list of achievements,
Shane also co-founded 6oz bar and café with two friends,
one of them an undergraduate from SIM-RMIT.
day basis. With that extra push coupled with
valuable knowledge, students find themselves
constantly striving for improvement.
Among many other things, the students also
discover various self-improvement workshops
in pertinent areas yet usually untouched by
other schools, like Networking with Success,
How to Project Yourself Professionally and
Secure the Job by famous image guru Jill
Lowe and Effective Job Search and Resume
Writing all of which providing platforms for
growth. “If there is one thing that students
have now,” continued Laura, “is that we all
come out different from others. We go through
various processes that help us in our Critical
Thinking like during the mock interview and
brainstorming sessions when the career coach
would stop us and point out something we had
not considered, helping us to realise various
perspectives of things”.
VIBES • March 2011
Laura Yeap Shu Feng, Director of Welfare
(2008) for University at Buffalo Student
Council and President for the year 2009, is also
a recipient of the All-Round Student (ARS)
Scholarship for 2010.
One might picture a nerd spouting off
like a smart alec, but in person, the SIMUB Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) student
glows with confidence and charisma while
possessing the humility of a lamb. When asked
about the ARS programme and the scholarship
she received, Laura explained that the
uniqueness of this programme is one which
emphasises frequently forgotten known key
factors concerning job hunts and standing out
compared to many other graduates. On top of
that, the programme also provides participants
with private career coaches who follow up
and give steady reminders on tasks and areas
which need to be acted upon on a day to
The Scholar
■ feature
Every once a month, a group of international students will
gather for an evening of good conversation and cross cultural
fellowship. They come from every part of the world, primarily
from the Asian counterparts such as Indonesia, Vietnam,
Malaysia, China and India with a minority from Brunei,
Mauritius, and South Korea. Conversation topics range from
the bane and boon of social media to ways of communication
with your family back at home.
Three SIM students came to notice a common problem
encountered by most international students; a struggle to
discussion and in this way international students will get to
listen to how we speak,” Dennis said. Café sessions usually
start with ice-breaker games, a topic in question will then
be fielded out to various groups for discussion, after which
a representative from each group will present their ideas to
everyone. A wrap up and summary of the topic for the day is
usually given after their presentations.
One of our conversationalists, Tan Junjie from the SIMRMIT Bachelor of Business (Management) programme, shared
that these sessions have been useful for Chinese students like
speak proper English because it is not their native language.
They, along with the committee of SIM International Friendship
Group (IFG), initiated an informal meeting and resolved to
break down the barriers of communication. It slowly developed
into a monthly affair, with a constant growing number of
participants. Better known as Conversation Café, this fellowship
belongs to SIM-IFG which was started up for the sole purpose
of improving the English standards of international students.
Dennis Loo Wai Kin, an undergraduate from the SIMUOL Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Business, currently the
president of the Conversation Café, explained that the Café is
not a co-curricular activity but an informal avenue for students
to interact and build public speaking confidence; a comfortable
environment where students are encouraged to speak up and
exchange ideas through small group discussions. “Many of
them (international students) are afraid to speak up in school
for fear of speaking wrongly or out of turn. As such, many
of them find it hard to communicate to local students and
lecturers. We’re here to create a stress-free environment for
everyone to communicate in English confidently.” The president
continued to explain, “As for speaking well and speaking right,
there are Singaporeans who will be facilitating the small group
him, “We used to directly translate spoken Chinese to English,
which resulted in miscommunication. Thus we had to improve
our English standards to that of local students. Café has helped
to sharpen our spoken English and local students have been
helpful in sharing local cultures and mannerisms as well.”
Another student Sandrine Koo Chim Fong who came from
Mauritius, currently undertaking Bachelor of Science (Honours)
in Accounting and Finance with SIM-UOL, testified, “The most
challenging part of Café sessions is when we have to verbalise
our thoughts in good English! I’m certain that through Café,
I managed to improve my English, it was especially tough for
me to converse fluently initially because my mother tongue is
Sessions conclude with Dennis speaking about related
subjects, such as how social media can be a practical tool for
students. He and the core Café team impart knowledge on
ways to maximise learning capacity in school such as effective
study skills. Of late, the team introduced Enrichment Café for
students who are keen on learning technical skills to conquer
school presentations and assignments.
The Conversationalists
Back row from left to right: Irvandi, Tommy, Felix, Jun Jie, Dennis, Eunice, Joseph, Su Fang, Van, Suman, Rachel
Front row from left to right: Ivy, Charlie, Sri Yani
The Resident Leaders
“The most memorable event is the Deepavali celebration,
where I got to learn how the festival came about and was
spoiled with authentic Indian food and sweets. The Indian
students danced and we have people of different nationalities,
such as Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese to join us.” Melani
Sugiharti The, a SIM-UOL Bachelor of Science (Honours) in
Accounting and Finance student, recalled fondly about her
favourite event. “The Korean student I met was different
from what I’d thought she would be as portrayed in those
Korean dramas,” said Long Jinyu, Anna. The current student
undertaking SIM-UB Double Degree in Bachelor of Science
(Business Administration) and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)
explained how she was challenged in her perspective of people
from different cultures through the experience.
Anna and Melani are Resident Leaders (RLs) of the SIM GE
campus which houses many students from different countries.
Anna is a Chinese national while Melani’s is an Indonesian.
While both of them are different in their heritage and cultural
background, they are united in their passion of helping fellow
students from other countries settle in a new environment.
Melani talks about the main objective of RLs, which is to
integrate new students in the hostel. Hence, both of them
have participated and facilitated many activities organised
for the students living in the hostel.
A holistic education is important as school is not simply
about gaining knowledge, therefore, the seven RLs have
organised many activities ranging from night-cycling,
Deepavali celebration, Korean Language and Culture
workshop, volunteering at old folks home and Futsal and
cricket competition and many other sporting events. Anna
shared that the hostel is “a comfortable environment and the
RLs are sincere in meeting the needs of the students as they
understand how it feels to be away from home.”
Through the host of activities organised, both RLs have
matured. “Being an RL gave me a sense of responsibility which
motivates me to become more discipline and to strive to be a
role model,” added Anna. “As an RL I’ve learnt things beyond
the classroom like leadership and my stereotype about people
are broken,” said Melani. The RLs not only have a vibrant school
life, but their characters are also shaped further, developing
them not just as students but as an individual prepared for
the world.
The Analysts
of various sorts and dimensions.
Ms Goh also explained that the “very common complaints
of employers is that graduating students are not well prepared
for the real world of business and of work. It is with this
issue in mind that the objective (of ATP) is to help graduates
fit into the real world more easily and more effectively.”
Though a numerical value cannot be placed on results of the
programme, the students are trained to keep abreast with
environment development and analytical skills, both essential
and important skills to possess.
Also debunking the myth that the programme is only for
those interested in careers specifically related to Analysts,
Ms Goh sheds some light on this saying that analytical skills
are important to all, specifically those aspiring to excel in
managerial roles.
VIBES • March 2011
Though many think of Analysts as a role conceptualised
within the recent computer era, Ms Goh Ai Yat explains that
the role has long been in existence, but the computerisation of
the working environment has enhanced the work of analysts
very significantly. As the Managing Consultant of the SIM GE
Analysts Training Program (ATP), Ms Goh goes on to explain
that, “Sourcing of information has always been a key factor
in analysts’ work and the accessibility to databases has
enable analysts to expedite their work more efficiently and
Through the ATP, students are trained in the role of analysts
specifically in the business industry with both the technical
know-how and the actual practical hands-on sessions. With
the emphasis on the practical aspect of the role, be it an
interest as a financial analyst, industry analyst or simple a
business analyst, students are taught how to conduct analysis
The Right
Driven strongly by passion, and steered by tactful time
management, Mr Lo Kien Foh, Managing Director,
Continental Automotive Singapore Pte Ltd, embodies
the ideal of a lifelong learner – a characteristic SIM
strives to instill in its students.
By Laila Humairah,
Dony Sukardi and
Jesslyn Chance
n alumni of the SIM-RMIT Master of
Finance programme, Mr Lo Kien Foh is a
poised individual; one would be drawn to
his monologue of valuable experiences.
Having previously earned an engineering Master’s
degree more than a decade ago, Mr Lo felt the need
to strengthen his knowledge in the finance industry.
The frequency of travelling to meet clients in various
countries and juggling studies and work did not hinder
him from pursuing a Master’s degree in Finance, for
his thirst for learning was much stronger.
Mr Lo believed that it is vital to appreciate figures
in the finance industry, instead of merely retrieving
it. This was something extra which he felt was
acquired through the SIM-RMIT Master of Finance
programme. It provided him with both finance and
accounting aspects of the extensive subject, which
was what Mr Lo appreciated most. It has equipped
him with an excellent perspective on finance, which
encompasses trends in the market as well as progress
of companies. Mr Lo also found himself a notch
higher in terms of approaching problems, where he
believes step-by-step processes are most effective.
As with most pursuits, the going did get tough at
times for Mr Lo during the course of the programme.
Juggling multiple hats as a family man, an employee
and a postgraduate student at SIM-RMIT, Mr
Lo asserts that effective time management was
something he thoroughly needed to exercise. While
he feels blessed and grateful for a fully supportive
family, he also ensured that he never missed a
lecture, for he believed the knowledge gained from
sitting in the lectures were of far more quality than
just reading the study material given. In addition, Mr
Lo always made sure he put every minute of his
time to good use. “I was always carrying my notes
wherever I go,” he said. This insistent characteristic
on seizing every opportunity to catch up on his
studying materials and managing his time well
proved to be Mr Lo’s recipe for success.
Having experienced these challenges firsthand, Mr Lo understood the fears and concerns
that many working adults have towards pursuing
higher education. To counter these perceptions,
the Managing Director of Continental Automotive
Singapore Pte Ltd led by example, encouraging
his employees to continue learning and provides
ample opportunities for them to do so. Workshops
and work-related sponsorships for pursuing higher
education are among efforts to motivate lifelong
learning in employees. Continental Automotive
Singapore even has a company library, facilitated
by the employees themselves through an online
portal and catalogue. “We make learning a part of
our everyday lives,” Mr Lo shares. This ingenious
feature in the company heightens the accessibility
of the journals and technical books, which allows
employees to browse and retrieve the books right
in the comfort of the office.
Being one who knows both the ups and downs
of the industry, Mr Lo offers valuable advice
to working adults who wish to pursue higher
education. He believes that one should set aside
time for learning, as well as being responsible for
managing their time. It is also vital to hold true to
your passion and let it guide you. “It’s not easy, but
you will eventually find your way to do it.”
Corporate View ■
Nurturing the New Generation
Managing Director
of Continental
Singapore Pte Ltd
provides a few
pointers for young
graduates, where a
thirst for learning
and patience are key.
Mr Lo shares the importance of continuous learning to keep up with the changes in the industry.
in technical skills is very important. Secondly, having
the right attitude is as important as those technical
skills, if not more. If a person carries with him good
technical skills, but not the right attitude, nothing
can be done to change him or her. On the other hand,
if the person’s technical skills are not that good, but
he is willing to learn, explore and do more, he will
excel further.”
Mr Lo also advises new recruit candidates not
to rush in their working journey and appreciate the
process. “Do not jump too fast. Do everything step
by step. Do not be afraid of not getting promotion.
If you are good, it will eventually come. Make sure
that you are competent in the area that you are in.
Of course, it all comes with good attitude.”
In contrast to employers who favour experienced
candidates to fresh graduates, Mr Lo believes in
grooming, growing and training fresh graduates and
making sure that they develop in the company.
Mr Lo sees the importance of diversity in any
organisation. “Each of them carries a different value
proposition in the company; the older group is very
knowledgeable and experienced, while the younger
group comes with new ideas and creativity. We
cannot be stagnant at what we are doing. We need
new ideas.”
Leading the pack as one of the most successful
companies in the automotive industry, Continental
Automotive look forward to prosperous years ahead,
making these pointers valuable to new graduates.
By Laila Humairah,
Dony Sukardi and
Jesslyn Chance
VIBES • March 2011
ith annual sales of more than 25.5
billion euro for 2010, Continental is
among the leading automotive suppliers
worldwide and currently employs some 149,000 in
46 countries. Continental Automotive Singapore Pte
Ltd has about 550 employees, of which 90 per cent
are engineers.
Continental Automotive Singapore believes in
providing learning platforms for its employees. “In
the company, we talk about continuous learning. We
want employees, especially the engineers to learn
new skills and acquire new knowledge. We tell the
managers, if there is opportunity, send the people for
training,” says Mr Lo.
“Not only that, Continental Automotive Singapore
also stresses the importance of soft skills, such as
project management, negotiation skills, marketing
skills and people management. SIM is one of the
places where we send our people for training,” Mr
Lo mentions.
With the growing economy in Asia, Mr Lo sees
that there will be a lot of competition and big growth
in the market. “We will have good time employing
people as compared to few years back during the
financial crisis. However we have to be in good shape
before moving on,” he says.
There are two qualities that Continental
Automotive seek for in when employing. “For fresh
graduates, we cannot expect working experience
from them. Firstly, having built a good foundation
Banking on Dreams
Doom and gloom has engulfed the financial industry since 2008. Once the most
sought after job sector, with graduates and young professionals yearning for a slice
of the pie. The glamour and prestige attached to the sector was second to none.
One may wonder how the financial sector has evolved since the demise of
Wall Street. In this article, we feature three distinctively different young SIM
graduates who all have a burning desire for finance.
Unwavering Passion
Zelcy Teo Hua Qian
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Banking and Finance, SIM-UOL
By sow wan jing
and Foo sze shuan
mere 22 years of age, Zelcy Teo has already
accumulated experiences in reputable
banks like UBS and Bank of America
(BOA). A self-motivated individual with a
clear goal of her career path, Zelcy is now certain
that her passion lies in the finance sector.
If one were to enquire about her career choice
two years ago, she would be hard pressed coming
up with a reply. After completing her ‘A’ levels,
Zelcy like all budding students were contemplating
their choice of courses in University. However, she
was ambivalent.
Zelcy took a year
off from studies to find
her calling. Her job
Singapore Immigration
and Checkpoint Authority
(ICA) and The Supreme
Court. None ignited
her passion more than
her eight months stint
in UBS and a subsequent two month placing in
BOA. When quizzed further, Zelcy pinpointed the
banking culture as the key factor that piqued her
“It is an extremely competitive and fast paced
environment to work in. Independent learning
is the name of the game and prioritisation is
paramount. The chance to express myself, initiate
my own decision making and availability of
abundant learning opportunities was significant
to me. In spite of tight datelines and overflowing
workload, the adrenaline rush keeps me going and
yearning for more.” she mused.
At a juncture where many banking professionals
feared for their future in light of the financial crisis,
Zelcy had the dubious honour of experiencing
firsthand how the banking culture was turned 360
“The office environment was awfully quiet, such
that one could hear the rustling leaves outside.
You would be hard pressed to find anyone joking
or laughing. The atmosphere was surreal to say the
feeling discouraged
by what was the
catastrophe since the
great depression, the
inquisitive self in her
increased two folds.
What intrigued her was how such an event could
have crippled the whole economic system, where
the foundations have been built for centuries.
Having witness the event with her very own
eyes, she wants to comprehend the mechanism
of it and how it can be prevented. Zelcy may just
be the responsible financial professional that the
world needs at the moment!
The adrenaline rush
keeps me yearning
for more.
Left: Chris
and Zelcy
shares what
fuel their
passion for the
finance sector.
Photo by: Ryan Ong
The Next Remiser King
Chris Lim Jew Liang
Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Banking and Finance, SIM-UOL
stock price fell substantially owing to refinancing
fears and a sell off by a majority shareholder, he
sensed an opportunity to buy the undervalued stock
at 17 cents. It has since doubled in value.
Chris counts Peter Lynch, the former head of the
previously obscure Magellan Fund as his role model.
From 1977 until his resignation in 1990, the fund
had grown from a mere $18 million in assets to more
than $14 billion with more than 1,000 individual
stock positions. What impressed Chris was that even
when investors were cashing out and the stock price
plummeted amounting to losses of billion of dollars,
Peter Lynch stood steadfast to his principles and
continued to have faith in his stock picks.
On the industry outlook, Chris concurs with
analysts that equities in Asia will continue to reach
new highs. With the number of financial seminars
and courses available exploding exponentially in
light of the financial crisis, he believes now is a
great opportunity for investors to enrich themselves
further. As Former Coca-Cola Company chief
executive Neville Isdell revealed, don’t stop learning.
VIBES • March 2011
A quick witted and tenacious individual, Chris’s
gusto for the bourses market is unparalleled. He
made his first foray into the stock market during his
Junior College days and has gone a long way since
In a span of a few years, Chris has seen his
portfolio grow to a sizable amount. The return rate
of investment is over 100 percent. He credits this to
being adaptable and having a flexible stock strategy.
The UOL Banking and Finance course has also
helped to solidify his financial fundamentals.
“There is no one superior way of investing.
Trading strategies have to change with investment
and financial climate. However, if you have a solid
thesis of the company, don’t be swayed by others.
As Jim Rogers mentioned, to succeed in investing,
you must be able to exhibit good judgment and have
courage to act on your conviction” says Chris.
Given China’s robust economic growth in recent
years, Chris is understandably optimistic about China
companies. One of his best investments to date has
been China Essence, an S-Chip. Even though the
Shane with
External Study
during SIM-UOL
night, LSE.
Photo by: Felix Ker
• S-Chips are Chinese companies
listed on the Singapore Exchange.
• A financial instrument is either
cash, evidence of an ownership
interest in an entity, or a legal
agreement to receive, or deliver, cash
or another instrument with monetary
• A derivative has a value,
based on the expected future price
movements of an underlying asset,
such as a share or a currency.
• A typical stock trading game
starts with the players receiving a
sum of virtual money for investment,
which are to be made after assessing
stock quotes (often from real life).
There could be specific goals, such as
to multiply the money to a certain
amount within a period, but the
objective could simply be to achieve
the highest portfolio returns.
More importantly, the aim of
playing simulated online trading in
class is to learn how stock trading
works, risk free and without capital
requirements. Special rules could
be implemented. For instance, in
a University of Buffalo MGF 301 Corporation Finance class, only one
transaction per player is allowed
daily, to prevent speculations.
A Part of the Engine
Shane Wong Khing Loon
Alumni, BSc (First Class Hons) in Banking and Finance, SIM-UOL
Shane Wong’s interest began with
an attraction to the stock markets
when he was still in junior college.
Fast forward to five years later, he
is currently a fresh first class honours
graduate from the SIM-UOL Bachelor
of Science (Honours) in Banking and
Finance programme and an Operations
Associate with Macquarie Private
Wealth Asia.
While the world has just come
out of the worst financial crisis, the
finance sector remains essential to
most economies. Shane recognises
that it is an industry with abundant
opportunities. However, it was his
curiosity on the mechanisms of the
financial markets that initially drew
him in. From there, he decided to
pursue a finance related degree and
went on to embark on a learning
journey of understanding cash,
equities, debt instruments, derivatives,
foreign exchange. His favourite
module was Valuation and Securities
Analysis, which he revealed would be
especially useful as he intends to take
the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
As an Operation Associate, he works
in a team that performs settlement for
clients. The job is back-end, but the
team can be considered as the “engine”
of the bank. Trades are executed
from the front office by relationship
managers, investment analysts and
client advisors through the middle
office. Shane’s team then liaise with
front office, middle office and other
counterparties, such as banks and
financial intermediaries. It oversees
the making of payments and receipt
of funds to settle clients’ trades,
which includes cash, equities, foreign
exchange and derivatives.
Shane, who thrives on team
working, personally finds motivation
in the work culture and environment
of his current job. The lack of serious
hierarchical barrier facilitates
communication, encourages cooperation and ultimately boost
everyone’s morale. “The atmosphere of
this company is awesome, and people
are friendly,” he quips.
The finance industry is huge,
ranging from consumer banking to
institutional banking, from brokerage
firms to funds management companies.
Shane admits that he does not have a
well-defined idea in what job he will
be doing in the future. Therefore, he
stresses the importance of positive
mindset and correct attitude. In bank
operations, problem solving and
decision making occur on a daily basis,
accumulating to one’s experience. For
current students, Shane urges us to be
bold and inquisitive when we start out
in the near future.
Poised to fly!
It is said that most successful men have achieved their
distinction not by having opportunities presented to them
but by developing the opportunities that are at hand. Mr
Myo Min Thu, a 2009 graduate of SIM-University of London
(UOL) Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Banking and Finance,
is doing just this; he is progressively capitalising on life’s
chances as he works his way up the corporate ladder.
candidates present for the
interview were graduates
universities and business
schools across Singapore.
involved a three-round
interview and a rigorous
five-hour written exam, and
Myo believes that it came
down to his presentation
and other soft skills that
enabled him to ultimately
secure his dream job. Myo is
currently a Manager in Vietnam, SilkAir (S) Pte Ltd,
stationed at danang. He is responsible for both the
commercial and operational aspects of the entire
danang station.
Myo firmly believes that soft skills such as
presentation and public speaking are crucial when
entering a corporate environment. Possessing these
skills is what eventually separates one graduate from
the other and helps one stays competitive. He shared
that SIM has an excellent platform, through its clubs
and activities, for nurturing such skills.
His most cherished memories at SIM were in
2008 when he was given the rare opportunity to be a
part of the SIM-Myammar disaster relief group; that
travelled to delta areas of Myanmar carrying aid and
relief supplies to those affected by cyclone Nargis –
one of the worst natural disasters to have struck the
He urges students to have confidence in
themselves and believe in their abilities. “Your degree
is just the foundation. What separates you from the
crowd is your ability to leverage your soft skills and
cash-in on the opportunities that come your way.”
By Kumar Prashant
VIBES • March 2011
yo Min Thu, a Myanmar national, has
always dreamt of standing tall in the
corporate world. He came to Singapore
and joined SIM to study business aiming to one day
realise that dream. He enrolled for the Diploma in
Management Studies (DMS) programme, a course
that gave him a flavour of the various business
disciplines. He was particularly fascinated by
finance and the various banking structures. This
helped him crystalise his thoughts and led him to
pursue his SIM-UOL Bachelor of Science (Honours)
in Banking and Finance. Myo believes that an indepth understanding of the financial structures and
economics, which lie at the heart of every business,
particularly in the corporate world, is crucial for the
progression in one’s career.
Even though Myo thrives on the philosophy of a
go-getter, he believes that finding the right balance
is essential. Aside from his passion in finance, he is a
soccer fanatic and loves playing whenever there are
opportunities. He is also an avid reader and makes
it a point to keep abreast with the latest market
trends by carefully following a wide diaspora of
business journals and periodicals. Although soccer
and reading help Myo stay sharp, his real passion lies
in travelling. He made it a point to travel to one new
destination every holiday and travelled to exciting
places in asia during his studies at SIM. Craving for
more, Myo plans to travel to exotic lands and explore
the mysteries the world has to offer.
Driven by his zest for travelling and with a sound
foundation from his degree programme, Myo secured
his first job at Myanmar Airways International (MAI)
as a sales and marketing executive. In early 2010,
after spotting an opening, Myo decided to advance
his career and put himself up to tougher challenges
by moving on to SilkAir. Amongst the pool of
Unlike the countless adults all over the world who
drag themselves to work every morning, Pauline
Chung Bao Ling looks forward to hers.
Pauline holds on to her dreams, and happily walks a path less travelled.
Following my passion
has given me something
to look foward to every
By Sng Jun Xian
t has been Pauline Chung’s dream since young
to work in the design industry, and taking up
studies in design would have naturally been
the next step for her after her ‘A’ levels. However, she
ended up taking the Bachelor of Business (Economics
and Finance) offered by the SIM-RMIT University,
according to her parents’ wish for her to study a
more practical course.
Still, she was determined to enter the design industry.
Upon graduation, she started searching for jobs that
would combine design with her newfound business
knowledge. An opportunity to work with Concepts Asia
Publishing Pte Ltd (CAPPL) – the publication company
behind three design magazines, Cubes, Lookbox and
Lookbox Annual – presented itself at the perfect time
and she took up the offer immediately.
As an account servicing executive at CAPPL,
Pauline serves as the liaison person between clients
and the creative team at her company. She has
to communicate with clients and forward their
advertorial requirements for the next issue to the Arts
and Editorial department. Should her clients require
changes to be made to the completed advertorials,
she will help find solutions.
Dealing with clients from all walks of life, is
one of the greatest challenges in her job. “I have
to understand every single client of mine and
ensure that we communicate effectively to avoid
any misunderstandings and achieve a satisfactory
Undaunted, she sees such challenges as
opportunities to strengthen herself. Her advice on
handling tough clients, “Focus on being professional
and listen to what your client is trying to bring across”.
She believes that adopting a sincere approach, by
treating her clients as potential friends and not just
mere professional acquaintances, would allow them
to open up more to her.
What she likes about working in CAPPL is the
emphasis on a work-life balance. “After closing
each issue, we try to find time together as a team to
enjoy and have a break. For example, after we closed
our previous Lookbox issue, we decided to gather
and watch the movie ‘The September Issue’ that
documents on how Anna Wintour puts together the
September issue of the American Vogue magazine.”
Experiencing how each issue is put together
and witnessing the team effort behind it gives her
great satisfaction. She also gets to learn more about
design, meet internationally renowned designers like
Tom Dixon and Barbara Barry, and attend exclusive
product launches – excellent perks for anyone with
a passion in design.
“Always stand firm on what you believe in despite
others’ words. Know that in every opportunity there
is something to learn. Follow your passion and don’t
just throw your dreams away simply because you
didn’t follow the common path. Be unique, and be
bold to do what you are passionate about. Following
my passion has given me something to look forward
to every morning! I get to work towards what I
envision, and I enjoy the entire process.”
Photography is Me
“My photography, my world.” This is how Desmond Yee Weng Chong
expresses his passion for photography. Together with Felix Ker Shiloong,
both the president and vice president of SIM Photography Club share their
experiences as photographers.
Nevertheless, the one who has passion, willingness to
learn, and ability to portray the mood and feel the scene
will be a good photographer. It is also important to
have the right techniques and strong fundamentals of
photography, use your equipments effectively, and try
different angles for a better photo. “Shoot more and you
will be better off.”
These two passionate photographers are both
freelancing mainly in events and weddings. While
Desmond enjoys documenting what is happening at that
very moment, Felix uses it as an opportunity to meet
and interact with people, he said “I am happy when
clients see my photos and they smile. For more details
on Desmond’s works, please visit
and and details on Felix’s
works, please visit
By Earlyn
Arjanggi Ang
VIBES • March 2011
esmond embarked upon photography in 2008
after he bought his first Digital Single-Lens
Reflex (DSLR) camera for a trip to Vietnam.
His initial desire for capturing moments stirred up his
love for photography. At present, while pursuing a
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Information Systems
and Management programme from University of
London (UOL), Desmond also runs his own business in
photography, web design, and print media services.
To him, photography will be different for everyone
as it is peculiar to each individual. “What you are
creating is unique to you as a photographer. It gives me
a great feeling of satisfaction when I bring together my
knowledge about cameras with my choice of subject
matter. It is a very creative process and personal
expression of how you see the subject whether it is
people, landscape, flower, food, or animal. Although
mistakes happen frequently, I want to learn from them
and it urges me to do better next time.”
His good friend, Felix, who is also a blogger,
programmer, designer, and technology enthusiast,
had been interested in photography since 2005. As
photography has become a part of his life, Felix brings a
camera every day without fail so that he will not miss the
moments that he cannot capture again. To him, there is
no such thing as good or bad photo as photography is a
piece of art every time you frame the moment. It is also
a sport that trains his patience with everything in life.
Felix, an undergraduate in the SIM-UOL Bachelor
of Science (Hons) in Business programme, often enjoys
opportunities to shoot in big events. One of them is
when he was selected by Singapore Polytechnic to join
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Bank
Meeting in 2006. In December 2010, SIM Student Life
and Services also gave him a chance to shoot in Chiang
Mai, Thailand for the ASEAN University Game and
National Day Rally Youth Forum 2010. Felix also shot
for the SIM Casting Call 2010 on-ground event together
with Desmond. Being an EXCO in the SIM Photography
Club has honed their skills to organise events, plan, make
friends, and practice photography to a greater extent.
To them, everyone can pick up a camera and shoot.
■ Insight
Twenty-five years
The innovative relationship that SIM has with the
University of London (UOL) is now 25-years-old.
Rosemary Gosling, Director of UOL International
Programmes at LSE, weigh the differences
between then and now, and how social
networking has changed the way of things.
hen SIM first made contact with
the University of London over
25 years ago, the world and
SIM was a different place. There were few
International programmes in Singapore and
few people in Singapore studied at a degree
level; there were few opportunities for those
studying at the Polytechnics to continue
their studies after graduating with their
Diplomas. The innovative relationship of SIM
and the University of London has provided
opportunities for so many in Singapore and
across the world.
In the 80’s, communication with our
colleagues at SIM was by fax and telephone
calls were prohibitively expensive. It was also
expensive to travel and yet the very strong
bonds between the two institutions were
cemented at this time. Since then, the London
programme has thrived and developed over
the last 25 years and both the University of
London and SIM have learnt so much from
each other.
The physical and management structures
have changed at SIM and so has the student
experience. Students have more choices; there
are many more degree programmes offered
at SIM apart from the ten London degrees
in addition to the Diploma in Economics
and the Diploma for graduates. The number
of University of London students has grown
from 50 in 1986 to over 9,200 this academic
Teaching at SIM is also now very different
from the 1980’s, as the new technology has
allowed a variety of deliveries. The SIM student
portal allows students to register directly
online. They can now access the University
via the portal which directs them to the VLE
and the online library. A range of support
for students is available, ranging from online
lectures to discussion and debates to worked
exercises and examples! Students also blog
about their lives in SIM and we are allowed
to see the ‘world’ from their perspective.
Very interesting indeed!
For potential students, a range of online
resources are available to assist prospective
students in their decision-making .There
are just under 23,000 Facebook fans and
over 100 discussions live on Facebook. In
addition, there have been over 50,000 video
views on our YouTube channel and almost
6000 followers on Twitter.
When students have finished their studies
with the University, they are invited to join the
Alumnus group –there are over 23,000 active
alumnae around the world – a community of
University of London graduates who can help
each other.
The research on social networking has
found that it can enhance and cement social
relationships. My experience at SIM over the
last 25 years indicates that this is indeed the
case. The relationships with lecturers and
students at SIM have been strengthened by
email and social networking. Students value
face to face teaching and new support we
and SIM can offer has encouraged them to be
more responsible for their learning.
We look forward to the next 25 years of
active learning with the London programme
at SIM!
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Assimilating Foreign Students To
Living And Studying In Singapore
The SIM GE Campus’ Halls of Residence is home to 400 foreign students
studying in SIM. A “home away from home”, the Halls of Residence
provides a range of facilities in a lush green environment for students
to live and study in.
A plethora of events such as sports activities, talks and workshops are
organised within the Halls of Residence through Resident Leaders and
the SIM International Student Office. The objective is to break cultural
barriers amongst foreign students, assimilating them into Singapore
fabric and the SIM family.
Campus at
a glance
• 6 halls of
residence with
247 fully airconditioned rooms
and 428 beds
• Room choice of
single, double and
triple occupancy
• 4 studio
apartments for
visiting parents
and faculty
• Laundry area,
pantry and
• Function rooms
to hold personal
development and
career counselling
• A common study
room available for
quiet revision
• Wireless network
access across
• Sports courts for
futsal, tennis and
• Outdoor jogging
track and field
• Indoor gym
• Dance studio
and multi-purpose
• TV and Games
• BBQ pits
• Outdoor yoga