Jack Tan Yee
Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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I have always been a very academic oriented person. According to terms stipulated in my polytechnic scholarship, I was not allowed to embark on full time studies immediately upon graduation. It was during my research on part-time courses to upgrade myself that I discovered the Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme offered by the University of Adelaide (UoA) through the centrally-located Ngee Ann-Adelaide (NAA) Education Centre. Offered on a part-time basis, lessons are conducted over intensive weekends which provide minimal disruptions to students’ work schedule. Moreover, as the timetable for a particular term is always released well in advance before lessons begin, I am able to plan ahead of time to avoid clashes with the frequent travelling stints required in my current job.

Having relatives and friends who graduated earlier from Adelaide campus in Australia where they also often shared with me on how they enjoyed the holistic education environment, I have long heard of UoA’s academic excellence and am confident of the high quality Australia degree programme that I have enrolled for.

UoA is consistently ranked in the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide. The prestigious state university is also member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australia’s top research-intensive universities. TheBachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is also the only full-fledged programme on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Singapore.

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 their peers at the University campus in Adelaide. More importantly, classes are taught by the fly in faculty from University of Adelaide and mentored by industry experts.

Though my Diploma in Digital and Precision Engineering has equipped me with the hard skills and technical know-hows, I thought it would be beneficial for me to pick up soft skills in entrepreneurship as most successful entrepreneurs today do not limit themselves to a particular set of skills. An example would be the founder of GoPro, Nick Woodman, who does not have an engineering or sports science academic qualification but still founded the wildly successful action-camera company. I believe this degree will complement my engineering skills with business understanding to commercialise a good business idea.

Besides, UoA also grants module exemptions to diploma holders of local polytechnics like myself for advanced standing into its undergraduate programmes.

I personally think that having just an engineering qualification is insufficient for one to become a successful engineer. A successful engineer should be one who is all-rounded and malleable in terms of being adaptive to different kinds of situations. Engineering skills may help you to develop a tangible product but entrepreneurial skills help to realise the process which results in the business venture being a commercial success.

I have always thought that the business concepts behind entrepreneurship is highly complex and tedious, which would be difficult for engineering graduates like myself to understand. However, this programme has changed my perspective.

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. We are constantly imparted with skills that taught us to incubate, grow and execute business ideas. This further fuelled my desire to start a business venture in computing software and product design.

Having to juggle studies which include projects, assignments and examinations, and a full-time job is indeed a huge challenge. I drafted myself a timetable which I try to adhere to strictly and to also train myself to be extremely disciplined with time management. With a well-planned daily routine, I make sure I follow up on assigned readings and group projects when I get home from work. This seems to work well for me as I am now a privileged recipient of the Ngee Ann Kongsi scholarship.

The bond-free scholarship provides generous financial assistance to deserving students who demonstrate academic excellence and alleviate their financial burden to a certain extend.

At UoA, apart from focusing only on theories gleaned from textbooks, we are often encouraged to voice out our opinions by applying these theories to group discussions. Such discussions usually consist of case studies and assignments which are of both local and international contexts, often resulted in something new that none of us has thought of or encountered before.

This is a very important element in today’s rapidly evolving world where new and novel business ideas are keys to innovation and staying ahead of the competition. 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.

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.

Lastly, the Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is really more than just an academic qulification to me. I have become more open to all things new and willing to experiment something entirely different with calculated risk. The programme encourages new ways of thinking and behaving that have moulded me to become a more versatile and all rounded person today.