SUTD’s Master of Innovation by Design student, Sarah Tuke (pictured below, left), shares her experience at the St. Gallen Symposium.

“I could never have imagined that a simple emailed invite from the OGS (Office of Graduate Studies) Marketing and Communication Team to participate in an essay competition would open a door to such a phenomenal experience. The St. Gallen Symposium was truly life changing (and not just in a cliché way); it truly did expose me to a world I only dreamt possible. Through a single essay competition, I got access to a full week in Switzerland with all expenses paid – which was great, but not close to the highlight of the experience.

It was not just the outstanding top-notch other Leaders of Tomorrow (LoTs) from all over the globe that I met. It was not just that half of those LoTs were actual business owners, start-up founders, members of parliament and faces of foundations that I had full access to. It was also not just that this full access I had to the LoTs was extended to world leaders, heads of corporations and Leaders of Today (past LoTs who went on to make meaningful change in the world). It was that all of this happened. In one week. Organised by other university students who had dedicated a year of their own lives to plan every single detail of this week to a level of thoughtfulness comparable to the service normally reserved for royalty.

The symposium was an example that anything is possible by anyone if they dedicate themselves to it and pull a team of other dedicated individuals to achieve what others may say is the impossible.

A moment which encapsulated what the symposium was for me is when all other students from Singapore and I got to meet Minister Grace Fu. The access we had to her and the lessons her position yields her was unmatched. I watched her take time to speak to each of us about our projects, our thoughts on sustainability and casually answer questions we had about the steps Singapore can take to achieve its sustainability goals. At the symposium, positions and hierarchy gives way to true intergenerational collaboration through flat structure – speaking to the humans behind the positions.
This was affirmed by our meeting with May Loh. Owning a seat at the table of the SUTD board in Singapore, at the symposium in Switzerland she was a gracious hostess who also took the time to speak to each SUTD student and Alumni who attended. It brought me pride to have her proudly introduce me as an SUTD student to Minister Grace Fu and other dignitaries and students at the symposium.

My only message to any SUTD student thinking of applying for the St. Gallen Competition next year is “be like Nike and Just Do It”. I cannot oversell the experience you will get; it simply is not possible. Fabian Kurst and the rest of the St. Gallen Symposium team have you covered; you will be in excellent hands.”


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