Engineered for Success
The engineering industry may have posed them challenges but both Victor Chee Nan Wei and Nam Joo Hoo rose above them with the power of a university degree.
By Ethan Sia and Shi Tianyun
Victor Chee Nan Wei and Nam Joo Hoo had different reasons for pursuing a degree. They share how achieving their Bachelor of Technology (BTech) with first class honours at the National University of Singapore (NUS) helped their careers soar.
After an unfortunate retrenchment exercise in 2006, Victor found the job search tough as the basic requirement for entry level jobs in multinational companies was a degree. With this in mind, he decided to sign up for BTech to improve his career prospects.
On the other hand, Joo Hoo felt that the foundation he received at the ITE didn’t prepare him sufficiently to solve the problems he encountered at work. Hence, after graduating from the polytechnic, taking up BTech was the next natural step in his quest for knowledge.
A flexible structure
Both Victor and Joo Hoo agree that the flexibility of the part-time programme was one key factor that attracted them to join NUS. Due to their various work and family commitments, they needed more time than the normal full-time student.
“I took about six years to graduate. The good thing is that the maximum period of time you can take to complete the course is eight years, Therefore, I was able to plan my time better and not rush my studies and risk failure,” says Victor.
Joo Hoo adds, “The prospect of earning a well recognised degree without disrupting work for studies while still maintaining my income worked great for me!”
“Back then, I would be abroad for two weeks every month due to work, so I did most of my learning online,” Victor says gratefully. With lifesavers like online resources and podcasts, Victor was able to stay in touch with ongoing lessons. Lecturers on the other hand, were helpful by uploading lectures online for students.
A well-rounded programme
To help polytechnic graduates transit successful to university education, the school also offers the Foundation Programme, a short course to refresh student’s foundation in mathematics, basic engineering. “Thanks to the programme, I was well equipped to handle the degree course,” Joo Hoo affirms.
The BTech programme’s curriculum also includes essential modules like business studies and project management that provide a more holistic education. “I’m now able to give guidance and supervise my staff’s progress better at work due to the skills I’ve picked up,” Joo Hoo shares.
Victor agrees, “These modules help develop skills that are useful in the office. It helps engineers like me to excel in other aspects of work besides engineering. I found that these skills are highly relevant to my own work.
With a BTech degree under their belt, both of their careers have gone on to greater heights. Joo Hoo’s efforts were appreciated by his employer as he was awarded a promotion soon after graduation and has gone on to complete his doctorate. Victor is not to be outdone, not only does he look set to expand the branch of the company he’s currently running but also has his sights set on tackling a PhD!