From Humble Beginnings to a Dream Job: An NUS Student’s Four-Year Journey
20 May 2022 — “I cannot believe it actually happened!” says Pavita, still gobsmacked about landing a job her “dream company”, ST Engineering.
What makes the National University of Singapore (NUS) graduate’s experience even more remarkable is that it was her first interview after finishing her final year project (FYP) at NUS. She had sent her updated resume—listing her NUS Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree—to two companies, and both invited her for interviews. She would only attend the first interview though, as an offer quickly followed, and Pavita was delighted to secure her place at a company she admires for its excellent reputation and stable track record.
How did all this happen for Pavita? This story begins 16 years ago, during a family holiday.
How a vacation turned into a vocation
When Pavita was 10 years old, she came to Singapore as a bright-eyed tourist. She had heard of Singapore’s reputation as a safe, metropolitan city state with an amazing transportation system, and her visit did not disappoint. In fact, that was when she made the life-changing decision to someday, somehow, live and work in Singapore.
It turned out “someday” came when Pavita finished high school in her hometown in Indonesia. Her parents offered to support her studies at a polytechnic in Singapore, and she took up their loving offer. Pavita enrolled for the Diploma in Industrial & Operations Management course at Republic Polytechnic and was accepted.
While Pavita’s heart was set on attaining a degree, the last thing she wanted was to add four more years of studies and living expenses on top of her parents’ contributions to her studies thus far.
As luck would have it, one of Pavita’s lecturers was doing a doctorate programme at NUS. When Pavita shared her aspirations with the lecturer, she learnt about the NUS BTech programme—a part-time degree programme she could take up while working and earning her way.
Pavita’s mind was made up. After graduating with her diploma, Pavita started working as a Production Executive at Prima Limited and applied for the NUS BTech Industrial & Management Engineering programme. She was determined to earn her degree whilst earning a full-time salary, thus supporting herself through university.
Embracing university life and a professional career
Over the following four years, Pavita relished her time on campus. She credits her university programme with sharpening her analytical skills, helping her become aware of different perspectives and approaches to solving problems, and making her a valued talent in her workplace.
“I got to make lots of friends and network with professionals from various industries,” she adds. “Through my interactions with them, I have kept in touch with the latest industry trends, learnt about career prospects in different sectors, and much more.”
While balancing a full-time career and school was not easy, Pavita says the professors and staff at NUS made her studies more manageable with their flexibility and support. She describes how her professors stayed back in the evenings to meet with her, and even replied to questions she messaged them about—even though it was after their working hours.
All her hard work and the support her lecturers provided bore fruit when Pavita completed her FYP in December 2021.
With the intention of “testing the waters” and seeing how the job market was like during these uncertain times, Pavia updated her resume to include her NUS BTech degree, and sent two emails out.
And we already know what happened next.
Pavita wondered what prompted ST Engineering to offer her the position over other qualified candidates, and her boss (who was her interviewer at the time) explained that the decision was simple. Besides impressing him on a personal level, Pavita also had four years of working experience under her belt—four years that she had accumulated while studying for her degree.
Furthermore, Pavita had earned her degree from NUS, a top Singapore university, while working full-time. He told her: “Anyone who can juggle studying at NUS and working surely has good time management skills and discipline.”
Closing a chapter, opening a new book
Looking into the future, Pavita knows her education journey is not done. She aspires to earn a Master’s Degree or even a Doctorate one day. For now, she is content to take a break from her textbooks, so that she can focus on developing her skills at her dream job, in her dream company.