Annabella Tan Hui En
Bachelor of Commerce

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I was actually highly recommended to sign up for this degree programme by two of my good friends who graduated with a University of Adelaide Bachelor of Commerce degree through the Ngee Ann-Adelaide (NAA) Education Centre. After hearing about their experience in the programme, I did some research on my own and discovered findings that really spurred my interest.

NAA, a joint venture partnership between Ngee Ann Kongsi and University of Adelaide (UoA), enjoys a credible and impressive reputation in the education field. UoA is consistently ranked in the top 1 per cent of universities and is also a member of the Group of Eight which is a coalition of Australia’s leading research universities. Its business school is also accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) which is one of the world’s most respected accrediting bodies awarded only to the top 5% of the world’s business programmes.

The way in which lessons are structured permits students to focus on only one course at a time for each intensive period. After which, there will be a break of a few weeks before the second intensive period begins. During this break, students will have to complete coursework and assignments as part of course assessments. The advantage of such an intensive schedule is that it really helps us to get the most knowledge out of the course as well as more time to grasp a deeper understanding of the subject. Additionally, students are also able to choose the number of modules they would like to enrol in each trimester, so as to help them better manage their own pace of learning.

UoA also has student exchange programmes with many other education institutions around the world, so that students can get vast global learning opportunities to experience life abroad either at UoA’s campus in Adelaide or at other education institutions while earning credits towards their degree.

I am extremely thrilled to be awarded with an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do a 4-month exchange programme in Seoul National University in February next year. In order to qualify, students will need to have completed 8 modules and achieve a credit average of at least 65% for each. Whilst the application process seemed rather daunting to me initially, it was definitely made much easier with the help of the friendly and dedicated staff at NAA who assisted to liaise with the various parties involved and were very prompt and detailed in clarifying all the doubts that I had.

Further, this full-time only degree programme has enhanced my knowledge by diving in-depth for all the modules offered. Instead of focusing only on theories gleaned from textbooks, we are encouraged to apply those theories in case studies through group discussions and individual assignments. Through the combination of both local and international case studies, my study experience at NAA has markedly changed my global view of how business are conducted in Singapore as well as around the world.

Not only does the Bachelor of Commerce programme equip students with skills and knowledge for most business roles, it allows them to further specialise in the specific career areas of International Business, Management or Marketing. I chose the general pathway, as it gives me the flexibility to enrol for modules that I am most interested in. However, after having completed a few marketing modules which intrigued me, I am inspired to pursue a career in marketing instead. Some career options that I can explore include Market Researcher, Advertising and Promotions Executive, Brand Executive and many more.

In terms of personal growth, the programme has helped me develop better time management skills in order to cope with the different assignments and meeting their deadlines. I have also improved my social skills through working with different course mates on various projects.

Professionally, besides the acquisition of crucial academic knowledge, the numerous class presentations have also helped improved my communication and public speaking skills. I have also cultivated critical-thinking skills through the case studies discussed in tutorials, as well as via close interactions with the course lecturers.

More importantly, I have also developed important analytical and decision-making skills which will prepare me well for future leadership roles in a continually changing business environment in both local and global context.

UoA grants module exemptions to Diploma holders of local polytechnics like myself for advanced standing into its undergraduate programmes. Having graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic earlier with a Diploma in Business Studies, I was granted exemptions for 12 modules and was admitted directly into Year 2 of the degree programme. I need to complete only 12 modules to graduate. By enrolling for two to three modules per trimester, I am able to complete the degree programme within 16 to 24 months, which would give me a head start in my career as compared to my peers.

Having completed nine modules so far, I realised most of them are actually interlinked. Though I find all of them stimulating, the one module that really intrigued me was Managing Conflict and Change. The lecturer was extremely knowledgeable and humorous. By illustrating textbook theories with real-life examples, he made the understanding of theories and concepts much easier. Despite how simple the title of the module sounds, there are actually very complex dynamics behind how employees and employers behave and interact. It teaches us how to identify conflicts and root problems instead of simply ‘treating’ the symptoms. I believe this knowledge will come in handy particularly when I enter the workforce next year.

The lecturer also goes the extra mile to engage us by sharing many of his personal experiences and effectively utilises videos and even games to promote critical thinking among his students.

In my opinion, what I think most worthy to mention is that the professors teaching the programme are from the University of Adelaide and they fly to Singapore to conduct the classes here. In addition to being recognised internationally for their outstanding academic achievements, the lecturers are well-connected with their respective industry and have diverse research involvement in their fields. They are adept at translating real-life case studies and experiences into relevant and topical classroom experiences to share with the students. Having international lecturers has really helped me acquire a more global outlook on different perspectives. Students here at NAA undergo the same rigour and quality of the curriculum and content, as well as the same course load and assessments as the students in Adelaide.

Also, classes are kept at optimal sizes to allow for better lecturer-student interactions and for a more personalised coaching approach which allow the lecturers to provide the students with timely guidance and a more in-depth clarification of any doubts. They even go the extra mile to coach us on our queries after class or through emails. UoA also has an extensive repository of learning resources such as its online library where students have 24/7 access to academic journals, newspaper articles and other materials they may need in the course of completing their assignments.

Apart from focusing on academic pursuits, NAA also organises events and workshops for the students to participate in. During festive occasions such as Christmas, they would organise networking parties for both current students and alumni. They also conduct workshops on useful skills such as resume-writing, public-speaking, making presentations and others to help students hone their professional skills and to prepare them for the working life ahead.

It is also noteworthy to mention that the centrally-located campus is just minutes away from the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station which makes it extremely convenient for students to get around.

I am also a privileged recipient of the Ngee Ann Kongsi bond-free scholarships which provide generous financial assistance to students who demonstrate academic excellence and alleviate the financial burden to certain extend.

Students should definitely consider NAA if they would like to receive quality international education in an excellent learning environment. The structure of the courses encourages and facilitates group discussions that provide opportunities for students to learn not only from the lecturers but also from fellow course mates. The additional learning guides provided by the university also help prepare students better cope with their studies.

Additionally, NAA is also well-equipped with dedicated facilitates that contributes to a more holistic education environment. There are ample but quiet study rooms making it very conducive for self-study and presentations. There is also the student lounge which provides comfortable couches and computers making it a great venue for project discussions. The student lounge is also the focal point of the campus where students gather over coffee and snacks during lesson breaks.