We ask a graduate from each pillar to talk about what they plan to do next, and how SUTD has inspired them to pursue their dreams.
Lun Ci Min, ASD
I want to become a practising architect, so I will be taking my Masters classes in SUTD next year. In the meantime, I’m starting on a five-month internship with a Singapore firm before doing a separate stint in Japan.
Actually, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do architecture at the start. I was attracted to SUTD by the facilities available to students, such as the 3D printers and laser cutters. For me, access to these technologies set SUTD apart from my other university options. Talking to professors about their passion for buildings and design made me more interested in what I do and I decided in year 2 to wholeheartedly pursue a career in architecture.
SUTD has helped me build a lot of perseverance and shaped my work ethic because the courses are tough! They are both physically and mentally demanding. In fact, I was in school a lot and hardly saw my family. SUTD has also provided many opportunities to attend talks and conventions.
As an aspiring architect, it’s hard to do architecture if you’re only exposed to the buildings in your home country. One huge advantage of our architecture option studios is that we always get opportunities to go overseas to study architecture. I had the chance to visit renown architecture firms in Taiwan, Italy, and Japan. For example, we visited the island of Inujima in Japan, which was turned into an art project by the famous architectural firm Sanaa.
Two things I love about SUTD: the people and the opportunities. Coming from JC I did not have the deep technical skillset that some of my polytechnic friends had. However, what SUTD did have was a lovely community of people who were eager to teach each other and build cool stuff together. I made some of my best friends in these past years. Together we learned and taught each other and went on to build some really cool projects that range from a full-sized self-driving car to a platform that changes the economics of the music industry. Over time the industry started noticing our projects and as a result, we managed to win a considerable number of awards and travel to many different countries. Two of my most memorable experiences were presenting our winning solutions at the UN Climate Change Conference in Germany, and to Pitbull and Theil Capital in Miami.
Currently, I have committed my time to building out my startup called Bifrost. It started as a research project and Entrepreneurship capstone in SUTD. It is now being spun off into a company so that we can use the technology to solve real-world problems in AI. We are building technologies that simulate our reality so that we can build the next generation of AI.
Along with engineering, the addition of the humanities curriculum at SUTD has also been exceptionally formative for me. Having the opportunity to study all these great thinkers, from metaphysics to epistemology, has brought on the realisation that everything around you that you call life, was made by people that were no smarter than you and I. You can change it, you can influence it and you can build your vision of the future. And hopefully, the envisioned future brings about some meaningful impact on the world.
My first full-time role will be at Schroder Investment Management (Singapore), during which I will spend plenty of time in the company’s London headquarters. A lot of the work I will do there, I have already encountered during my Bachelor’s! I also plan to work on my two early-stage start-ups at the same time. One is an agritech firm co-founded with an American engineer I met in Silicon Valley, while another is a service born out of my Master’s dissertation that automatically matches researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors for collaborative business interests using NLP and matching tools.
In SUTD, we have a lot of leeway to carve out what we want to do, such as starting Fifth Rows. The university is small but we have so many clubs. We’re given the chance to start and manage something that we’re passionate about. I co-founded two Fifth Rows in SUTD: an outdoor activity club, where we organised activities such as kayaking and night cycling, and a fitness-for-all club called Trailblazers.
SUTD also gives lots of global exposure. I had the chance to spend an entire summer at MIT, an entire spring at UC Berkeley, and an entire winter at Zhejiang University. I really appreciate this significant global exposure, since understanding various cultures is pertinent in developing empathy and helping me work more effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
Many students in SUTD aspire to start their own businesses as well! When attempting to chart new paths or tread new waters, our peers are highly encouraging, pro-actively connecting us to suitable individuals to further these aspirations or providing ideas on how these ideas and projects can achieve even greater success. I think entrepreneurship is a huge part of the university culture.
Our project-driven education also puts us through the whole product development cycle. As such, I’ve really learnt to become more outspoken and to communicate my ideas more effectively. I feel I won’t stop working on technology projects until I’m old, whether it’s realising new ideas or helping to accelerate existing business ideas.
I have received some job offers but I have not decided on what to take up yet. I want to be a product designer who bridges industry design and mechanical engineering. Furthermore, I want to learn things beyond my field. For now, I am taking a break to work on a personal project. I’ve been building one electric skateboard every year since I joined SUTD. My latest electric longboard was built bottom-up, with new features such as long-distance riding, skating in comfort and syncing up the telemetry with an iPhone app.
SUTD students have an innate strong maker mindset. Yes, there are electric skateboards on the market now, but if I can make it myself, why buy it? Just build it! I’ve always liked making my own things and SUTD has catalysed that further. Using the industry-grade printers and witnessing first-hand the cutting-edge technology in SUTD, was quite an eye-opener for me. The many hands-on course module projects, where I had to create unique design products that are not just functional but also aesthetically pleasing, further spurred me on. Over the course of my undergrad life, I slowly honed my maker skills.
To me, SUTD is a very good environment to fail. You’ll need to fail in here so you will become better. When I approach my professors with ideas for my projects, they don’t tell me if my ideas would work or not. Instead, they give me some directions on how to proceed with my ideas and sufficient bandwidth to work on them. I feel that they gave me the freedom to explore and at times, fail so that I would understand why my concepts wouldn’t work!
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