A Brighter ‘TUMorrow’

What makes a TUM education so different from the rest? We speak to Teo Yong Kia, valedictorian of the fifth graduating cohort of TUM Asia’s Electrical Engineering and Information Technology programme, and Chen Jun Guang, valedictorian of the fourth graduating cohort of TUM Asia’s Chemical Engineering programme, to find out their takeaways from their three years of university life.

An intensive environment filled with ‘almost impossible-to-pass’ modules, muggings into late nights, struggles with endless assignments… the three-year journey at Technical University of Munich (TUM) Asia has been a challenging and memorable one for the 101 graduating students.

On 19 July, they received their degree scrolls at a ceremony held at SIT@Dover. They are the fifth cohort of graduates reading the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Information Technology (EEIT) and fourth cohort of graduates reading the Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering degrees awarded by TUM Asia as part of its collaboration with SIT.

Strengthening Self through Teamwork

For 25-year-old Teo Yong Kia, the experience at TUM Asia has taught him the intricacies of working with his counterparts as a team. “The strength of the team is in each individual member. The strength of each member is the team. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. These are important qualities that would prepare us for working in any organisation,” said Yong Kia, the valedictorian of EEIT Class of 2017. “The soft skills, the teamwork as a class, the ‘how’ of learning new things, and being able to deliberate are the most important lessons I took away.”

Despite the heavy workload, Yong Kia participated actively in extra-curricular activities including the SIT Gourmet Club, where he served as the president, as well as the SIT Futsal Club. “Having to host various activities for the SIT Gourmet Club has honed my organisational and networking skills. Futsal is never an individual effort. Teamwork is crucial in everyday life and the SIT Futsal Club has taught me the value of a team-based game, and collective work of a team.”

Yong Kia and his futsal team

Spending 12 weeks at the home campus of TUM in Germany on the mandatory Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) was also an enriching experience for Yong Kia. “I learnt to live independently and listened better to understand the cultural differences with my peers and locals. Thankfully, focusing on the similarities has helped me to effectively adapt and blend into the new surroundings.”

Following his bachelor degree, Yong Kia has been awarded a scholarship by Rohde and Schwarz to pursue his Masters at TUM in Germany. He is currently on his internship at Rohde and Schwarz’s R&D (laboratory power supplies) before leaving for Germany in October.

I want to be specialised in my training; to acquire an in-depth professional skill when I'm still young. Being on own without my family, I’m excited and sometimes harbour thoughts of uncertainties about life. But I guess the right mindset and attitude comes before the road to success.” 

Yong Kia (left) and Jun Guang (right) at their graduation ceremony

Discovering Self through Experiences

For Chen Jun Guang, 25, the valedictorian of TUM Asia’s Chemical Engineering Class of 2017, graduation is a memorable opportunity to reflect on the past and to look forward to the future.

“As clichéd as it might sound, the time I spent in SIT reaffirmed my understanding that possessing relentless dedication and the right attitude are values that stand you in good stead to accomplish anything – be it studies, sports or even working on business opportunities,” explained Jun Guang, who started the Scuba Diving Club at SIT and was the Head Camp Facilitator at SIT Student Orientation 2016.

Jun Guang and his scuba diving team

His adventurous nature shines through during his Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) stint in Germany, where he chose the unconventional route of living alone and being completely immersed in Bavarian culture. “My closest friends were international students and locals from all walks of life living in Munich. This made every weekend an exciting adventure, having to adapt to new places and people. Being unreservedly exposed to different characters and situations, there were plenty of opportunities to discover and redefine myself. I would not recommend my path for the faint-hearted, but it was one heck of an experience.”

Jun Guang during his OIP trip to Germany

To Jun Guang, the world is filled with increasingly complex challenges. However, he is undeterred in facing these challenges with the knowledge and skills he has acquired.

“The pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong process and life is a learning process. The skills that we have been imparted, as well as the ability to think analytically and critically will stay with us. We can now face complex issues more confidently, better understand the problems on hand, ask critical questions, and uncover new possibilities to forge innovative solutions. No matter where our paths take us, we feel we have the confidence to achieve great things.”