Driven by Desire, Supported by Family and a Conducive Workplace

Yue Ming

3 November 2021 — The life of a part-time degree student may be challenging, but it can also be filled with memorable moments along the way, and a rewarding future at the end of the academic journey. This has borne true in the experience of Yueming, an Associate Researcher at Procter & Gamble (P&G), a proud mother to a bustling six-year-old boy, and a final-year student in NUS’ Bachelor of Technology (BTech) Supply Chain Management programme.

Switching up specialties, and her career path

Yueming’s course mates and colleagues are often pleasantly surprised to learn that she has a background in science. She holds a Diploma in Medical Biotechnology from Temasek Polytechnic, and has three years of experience doing glaucoma research at the Singapore Eye Research Institute.

Following her move to P&G, Yueming began developing an interest in supply chain management. At this time, she was also keen on furthering her career – and with this goal in mind, decided to pursue a degree in this field.

Moving forward with resolve, Yueming was determined to earn a degree that would be recognised as one of the best, a qualification that would open more doors for her career. She set her sights on the National University of Singapore (NUS), the university ranked top in Asia for engineering in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022.

She understood that going back to school would mean less time for herself and a heavier workload. Nonetheless, she would see it through. She was prepared to do the necessary, and to make the required sacrifices—except when it came to caring for her son. Thanks to a supportive family, a workplace that embraces employee development, and nurturing university lecturers, Yueming never had to make that compromise.


A supportive family and workplace
Yueming credits her husband and in-laws for making her transition to part-time studies a smooth one. “My husband adjusted his work schedule to spend more time taking care of our son. Also, my sister-in-law would help to pick up our son from time-to-time, and my in-laws would help to cook dinner.”

With some parenting responsibilities lifted off her shoulders, Yueming felt confident focusing on her coursework, spending time at lectures, managing university projects, and studying.

With some parenting responsibilities lifted off her shoulders, Yueming felt confident focusing on her coursework, spending time at lectures, managing university projects, and studying.

Yueming was also thankful that her workplace encourages employee development. “My manager is very supportive of my academic aspirations, and P&G provides 10 days of flexi-leave for employees to upskill themselves. Together with my annual leave, that is sufficient for examination preparations and even a short break after!”

Caring lecturers, established industry professionals
Yueming is grateful to have strong support from the University too. She is especially appreciative of her lecturers, whom she describes as very understanding and accommodating.

Specifically, Yueming was impressed by how some of her lecturers tried to make life easier for part-time students who had full-time jobs. They would do everything possible to finish lessons during lectures, so that students would need to spend less time reading and completing homework outside of the classroom.

Additionally, Yueming noted that her lecturers were very generous with their time. “My lecturers have been very accommodating with the time they give us for discussions. Tapping into their deep industry experience and insights has been very valuable, especially for my final-year projects.”

The “number one parenting rule” for part-time students
Over the course of her NUS BTech degree programme, Yueming has seen her child grow from a bouncing two-year-old toddler into an energetic six-year old. Even with help from her husband and in-laws, as a devoted mum, Yueming still spends a lot of time taking care of her son.

She shared a parenting rule that has been very successful for her in juggling multiple roles: “When your child wants your attention, always give it to them—but with the understanding that it may come later. For example, when my son wants to play while I am busy, I tell him that I need one hour. He understands and is willing to wait, because he knows that I always keep my promise!”


How a degree programme improves prospects in the workplaceand at home
Yueming’s experience as a part-time degree student has also allowed her to become a role model for her son. Watching his mother studying hard, he has picked up an innate understanding that this is the “secret formula” to doing well in school. In fact, Yueming’s son has a positive attitude towards school and studying—and is looking forward to starting his own education journey when he enters primary school next year.

Looking ahead, Yueming is excited about how her degree will enable her to take the next steps in her career. She has been applying the lessons she has learnt in the programme—through modules such as supplier management, project management and decision-making—to her job, and seeing great results.

In future, Yueming hopes to take on a product supply-related role. However, for now, she is looking forward to graduating and spending more family time with the ones she loves.

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03 November 2021