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Old 05-04-2009, 09:21 AM   #1
seeweiren
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Default My SMU life thus far (After being a freshman)

2008-2009
My life in SMU after 2 semesters (Year 1)

Academics
SMU undergraduate life is certainly very demanding and vigorous (It's the same for all other universities in US or Singapore). Having spent 2 semesters in SMU, I realize how much I have accomplish while looking back.

Seminar
SMU adopts a seminar session, where there is no tutorial and pure lecture and interaction. This means that you do not have the privilege to "pon"(Skip) lecture. You wouldn't want to do so because you have class participation points that might sum up as high as 30% of your grade for some modules. Interaction is something, which I see as a good way of learning. I remember going to class being clueless of Finance stuff, while those intelligent people who made superb remarks; I learnt quite a lot from them as well. Coming to class prepared is certainly necessary. In SMU, you will not see the Prof to pass you the notes and that's it, there is a certain expectation of student to come prepare before class.You might be given notes or articles to read beforehand and discuss in class.

Studies
Studies has never been so busy before.In both semester, I was immersed with tonnes of workload (It's the same for all Unis, even in US.). But in SMU, it's not just about assignment and the reading. It include projects, and when I say projects, it's really different from those found in NTU or NUS. In SMU, it's not just about fluffing and putting your slides in a nice way. You have to do serveral in-depth research, cross referencing with many other journal articles, create your own methodology of course of actions. Most importantly, you have to speak confidently without trying to read from the scripts. Afterwhich, you might need to submit a report for your projects.

Projects
There are many projects in SMU, but I will just mention 1 significant 1.

I have this fantastic professor who came from Wharton. He delivers real good quality stuff in class. However, he is also the most demanding prof among all. He gave a surprise quiz on the first days and you are expected to read his reading before class. Afterwhich, you apply what you learn into the research paper which comprises for 40%. You might think that project is quick easily done, but sadly it's not. Thanks for MJC drastic immerse training in PW, I manage to handle it well. My group is required to come out with a proposal on what we intend to do and research on. We spent 5 weeks coming out with our masterpiece, only to be rejected by my prof and graded 1/10. We have to change our topic and come out with a possible solution within a short timeframe of 4 more weeks, before the presenation.

Some presentation will include invited panelists ranging from executive director of KPMG to Turkish ambassador. We have to showcase our findings and presentation to them. Sadly, we thought we have done a fantastic research, only to learn that there are many flaws to it. Peers and fellow panelist will shoot your project, even if its good. So we have to fine tune lots of content before the whole submission of the report.

We were left with 1 week for our study break, and we ended up completing the report within 4 days, and compiling it from 12pm to 4am the next day.
SMU really shows you the realistic life in the corporate world, where criticism can sometimes be painful or even nasty. But I learnt that well.


GPA Obsession


If anyone, including NUS or NTU students telling you they don't care about their results; they just want to enjoy and attain a degree, They are lying to you. I am not saying that one should be obsessed with GPA, but it certainly does impact your future in 1 way or another. It is very true that SMU is highly competitive, since there is an increasing RI(JC) students who are flooding into SMU. But hey! Isn't it the same as NUS or NTU, or even overseas universities, where everyone is equally smart and intelligent. Competition are intensive only when you want to compare with others. GPA can also be a self-competition to spur yourself to excel or improve there's a need be.

Certainly, there are more things to GPA, but it's still something which people will still be concern about.The friendship and network I have gained certainly surpassed the GPA. While doing projects, you develop true friendship, as everyone work towards a common goal.

Student Life


It's really depend on the kind of life you will like to have in SMU. I am currently with 2 fun and exciting CCA, SMU Broadcast and Entertainment, and also SMU Aquatic Sharks. You get to interact with many friends and stuff through student activities, CCAs makes your student life more exciting and fun at the same time.

Looking back, I am so proud to be in SMU, as it's really a place that train undergraduate so differently, to think and initiate things by themselves. SMU is an ideal place to be in. Hope to see you in AY 2009/2010.

My Life Thus Far (After Year 3)
I decided to change the title of the thread and update my life so that students who are Poly or A level graduate can catch a slight glimpse of how a typical SMU student "survive" throughout his undergraduate life. Hopefully, it will show you the pros and cons of coming to SMU.

You can read my other post at this website,
http://forum.brightsparks.com.sg/showthread.php?t=3257

2009-2011
My life in SMU thus far after enjoying my 7 months on exchange and surviving for 2 semester in SMU.

Exchange

The highlight of my life is probably my International Student Exchange where I spent a semester in Hong Kong. Obviously, I am excused from the horrible GPA maintainence, and everything is passed fail. Nevertheless, I still manage to achieve a decent GPA of 3.66/4 despite skipping quite a bit of lectures, so as to travel around Asia.To name a few, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Macau and a few parts of China.

It's definitely tougher to apply for exchange these days as the number of places is limited compared to the vast amount of people applying. So if you are applying to SMU, hoping to be assured a place for exchange in those very popular countries or university like Carnegie Mellon or Wharton. You have to work extremely hard to prove to them that you deserve the place for exchange, like working hard. Obviously I can confidently tell you that you will never get an exchange place in Wharton or Carnegie if your GPA is mere 2.00/4 (you cannot even survive in SMU, if you have such GPA). And just so if you think that you like to go to University of Manchester, so that you can watch the famous soccer team MUFC, there are lots of other students will like to apply for those place as well. So competition is getting more n more intense. Likewise, if you apply for exchange in countries that are lower in demand such as Kazakhstan or Philippines, it's pretty easy to get a place for exchange.

That being said, SMU has been intensively expanding their International Network and partnership with foreign institutions, we have more than 202 partnership as of now. you can find out more from here,

http://www.smu.edu.sg/international_...iversities.asp

Internship
If anyone ask me to what's so good about SMU. The first thing in my mind is SMU Office of Career Service (OCS). In my humble opinion based on talking to my peers, I am very confident to say OCS in SMU is probably the best career service department among all 4 local universities. SMU has a bunch of highly resourceful, knowledgeable and skillful career counselors who will guide you from career planning to internship sourcing. Each week, you will never fail to see new opportunities and internship listing provided by them.

I cannot be more grateful to them as 2 (out of 3) of my internship was applied through my school portal. I am very grateful to OCS because they have given me an opportunity to do a 3 month internship abroad in an Asset Management Company as a Research Analyst intern, last year.

OCS has been aggressively organizing lots of events, workshop, information sessions for SMU undergraduates. I would say they are also one of the department credited for the success of SMU graduates landing with a wide number of offers upon graduations.

Academics
I have started to embark on my learning journey as a Quantitative Finance Major student. I was lucky because such major is usually taught as a Masters Level. Currently, only SMU and NUS offered it in undergraduate level, where NUS's side is in the School of Science (Mathematics), while SMU is in the Business school. It never easy, but so far I enjoy crunching numbers, calculus and laws found in maths, and it's being applied in finance.It's vigorous, but nevertheless I enjoy it.

Last edited by seeweiren; 05-15-2012 at 09:23 AM. Reason: Adding on to what i put in year 3.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:07 PM   #2
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wow.. you seem to be very satisfied with SMU. may i know what course are you doing now?
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:30 AM   #3
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I am going towards my second year in the Lee Kong Chian School Of Business. I just declared my major as well in the discipline of Quantitative Finance
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:11 PM   #4
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Hi! I am currently considering whether smu is the suitable uni for me. I have got some questions to ask, if you dont mind answering them (:

1. I have been seeing around different websites that there are smu students who take the higher level modules eg. Level 4XX etc in their first and second year and this is an advantage as they are able to be exposed to the views of seniors which allows them to learn more.Hence, leaving the lower level modules to their later year, resulting in them being able to score better overall. I wonder if this practice is common in smu among the first and 2nd year students?

2. If we decide to take a second major, we need to pile on more modules as compared to one who takes a single major?

3. In QF, is the course very project based as well?

4. For group project work, do you get to choose who to be in the same group with? or does the prof do the allocation?

5. is there a fixed class for business students, say for the first year (so everyone in the same class does the same modules)? or it depends on the individual- which courses he/she successfully bids for (so the class differs for everyone)?

Thanks in advance for yr reply!
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melannsmiles View Post
Hi! I am currently considering whether smu is the suitable uni for me. I have got some questions to ask, if you dont mind answering them (:

1. I have been seeing around different websites that there are smu students who take the higher level modules eg. Level 4XX etc in their first and second year and this is an advantage as they are able to be exposed to the views of seniors which allows them to learn more.Hence, leaving the lower level modules to their later year, resulting in them being able to score better overall. I wonder if this practice is common in smu among the first and 2nd year students?

2. If we decide to take a second major, we need to pile on more modules as compared to one who takes a single major?

3. In QF, is the course very project based as well?

4. For group project work, do you get to choose who to be in the same group with? or does the prof do the allocation?

5. is there a fixed class for business students, say for the first year (so everyone in the same class does the same modules)? or it depends on the individual- which courses he/she successfully bids for (so the class differs for everyone)?

Thanks in advance for yr reply!
1) I don't really think that there are 1st or 2nd year student taking Mod4XX, as there are prerequsites for such modules before you can take up. For example, You will not be allowed to take International econs if you have yet to take up Intro Econs, or not being exempted for the foundation modules. I for once took the unconventional route of taking Finance 101 1st instead of financial accounting. It really depends how you want to plan your module, but if higher level modules in year 1 or 2, i seriously doubt so.

2) Nah not really there are some overlaps here n there where you can fufil yr major and other compulsary component, like for e.g, Data management is allowed for me to clear as a Technology core and also QF major.

3)QF is very lab based, where you will stuck your eyes on coding, and you will be exposed with infinite mathematics theory. I seriously don't rreckon people to take it unless they have a deep interest in Computer coding, or mathematics

4) It depends on the prof you get. Some you get to choose others, you don;t. And yes you will experience lots of free-rider,but there are many ways for you to counter that. And that's what you will learn in SMU that prepares you in the real world.

5)First year most of your modules will be pre-assigned, but you have the option to drop it if you do not like the prof, and re-bid for it. For 2nd year onwards you will be bidding your own modules. But seriously, if you get tough prof, who are super demanding, you will actually learn more than you peers. I for once experience people telling me GOOD LUCK! when I got this prof who is very good ut super demanding. We have to work 3 or 4 times harder and more than the rest of the student taking the same modules. But hey, we learn more things than them, we learn thing that they don't

Hope to see you in SMU!!!!
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeweiren View Post
1) I don't really think that there are 1st or 2nd year student taking Mod4XX, as there are prerequsites for such modules before you can take up. For example, You will not be allowed to take International econs if you have yet to take up Intro Econs, or not being exempted for the foundation modules. I for once took the unconventional route of taking Finance 101 1st instead of financial accounting. It really depends how you want to plan your module, but if higher level modules in year 1 or 2, i seriously doubt so.

2) Nah not really there are some overlaps here n there where you can fufil yr major and other compulsary component, like for e.g, Data management is allowed for me to clear as a Technology core and also QF major.

3)QF is very lab based, where you will stuck your eyes on coding, and you will be exposed with infinite mathematics theory. I seriously don't rreckon people to take it unless they have a deep interest in Computer coding, or mathematics

4) It depends on the prof you get. Some you get to choose others, you don;t. And yes you will experience lots of free-rider,but there are many ways for you to counter that. And that's what you will learn in SMU that prepares you in the real world.

5)First year most of your modules will be pre-assigned, but you have the option to drop it if you do not like the prof, and re-bid for it. For 2nd year onwards you will be bidding your own modules. But seriously, if you get tough prof, who are super demanding, you will actually learn more than you peers. I for once experience people telling me GOOD LUCK! when I got this prof who is very good ut super demanding. We have to work 3 or 4 times harder and more than the rest of the student taking the same modules. But hey, we learn more things than them, we learn thing that they don't

Hope to see you in SMU!!!!

Thanks for your information! I am actually interested in gg to smu but what I am concerned about is the supposedly low % of graduates who are able to obtain honours. Are you able to verify whether this is true? and do you know approx how many students are able to get their honours?
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:43 AM   #7
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The Cum Laude System is a totally different honors system of those you see in NUS and NTU. To get at least a Cum Laude, one must attain an average that is slight higher than a B+ grade, which is 3.4 (B+ is 3.3). So by judging this, if you get an average B grade, you will not be getting a honors.

I am not sure the number of honors that SMU have given out. But what I am very sure about is that having good honors doesn't mean you will find a promising or good-pay jobs. You might hear from the press where students who graduate with honors with promising jobs. But in school, you will hear even more seniors who might have a GPA of 2.8 something or maybe 3, getting promising job like Invesment Banker, Analyst. Honors is not about everything though it might be important for certain jobs.

But seriously, it's an individual effort that matters. If you have the passion for these business modules, you will do well in it.

See u in SMU
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Old 05-09-2009, 02:50 PM   #8
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that said, a good honours is still impt if you're thinking of gg to the public sector. the private companies are a lot more forgiving i guess.
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:03 PM   #9
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I'm gonna b the bugger that's gonna make gettin honours easy, cause I'll b on the other side of the bell curve lol
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:13 PM   #10
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thought this would be helpful

http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/sh....php?t=2368833

Classroom Participation
Q: I've heard about this whole class pp thing till the point where people ask nonsense and it doesn't really sound pleasant with me. I'm more of a anti-social person and I don't want to come up with stupid questions to ask the prof. Does this really happen in class or is it some urban myth?

A: Honestly, I've not had much of a problem with this. There are bound to be people who are clearly chasing after class participation marks but I've noticed that this doesn't happen very much in my own course. On the other hand, the uni core classes are much more competitive when it comes to class participation and some people from certain faculties wayang a bit more than others.

A: First I don't think you will stay to remain anti-social for the next 3-4 years. I was pretty much like you not comfortable with the class participation thingy initially...But after a while you will come to accept the participation and start to ask relevant qns and participate in discussion...I don't ever think you have to mind those who hog the limelight with incessant qns...What matter is your own learning...

Major n Minor
Q: Does smu have this major minor thing?

A: There is no minor in SMU...majors or double major require you to take at least 5 courses to fulfill each majors..whereas a minor in NUS or NTU requires only 2-3 modules...so in a way you learn more things and have a better grasp of the major that you're taking rather have a supeficial understanding just from 2-3 course (sorry not suggesting anything, it's my personal opinions , lest some other guys see it) ha...

Clothes, etc
Q: Ok, I've heard about all the glitz and glamour about smu. Do SMU students generally dress up better than those of other unis? Because I'm a shirt + jeans kind of person and I don't really like the whole dressing up for school and carrying branded stuff theory. =\

A: I'm a t-shirt and jeans kinda person. Period. Nobody will compel you to uphold an image you're not comfortable with yourself. Some people dress up more than others but my friends have been pretty normal.

A: Hurr...woh has our school's marketing campaign taken a whole new meaning? I thought they meant to portray us to be confident but never dress just to impress...haha...anyways, if you're free. take a walk down SMU campus and you wouldn't think this is some fashion runway... though school is over, some peeps like me are still taking summer term...Don't worry SMU students are normal pple... hope it helps.

Poly grads with more experience
Q: SMU have a reputation of accepting more Poly grads. Would I find them a STRONG competition? I heard they give great presentations and I don't want to be at a disadvantaged even before I step into Uni.

A: Depends on the course you're pursuing. In my faculty, we don't have any yet. I've come across poly grads in my uni core classes but they're pretty normal people as well. I don't find myself greatly disadvantaged in comparison to the poly grads. However, I think if you're going to pursue IS, you might have a steep learning curve to conquer while poly grads with a solid computing background might not have to struggle so much.

A: And since when does poly grads have that "added" adv? True, we have some experience doing presentation but nowadays the JC curriculum does involve the students in some kind of presentation. Even then, we may not have the level of eloquency as some of the JC students...Whatever it is, i think everyone has a fair level playing field...u count on your own effort to get ahead...so if you have the mentality that some pple hve the extra adv then you have lost half the battle...anyway..it's not a battle...depends on your take..i can't say it for u till you experience it yourself...

Seminar-style
Q: I still don't get the seminar style for teaching and I just realised there is no lectures or tutorial. So is everything being taught in a small class just like in primary and secondary school?

A: Seminar style promotes independence. For my course, this means that we have to read and digest quite a fair bit of readings before every seminar. I personally, struggled with this during my first sem. Primarily because I happen to be quite lazy and I found myself having to read stacks of things. The professors will engage you in more intellectually stimulating concepts and ideas but most of them expect you to have a basic understanding of the topic at hand. This means that while seminars are conducted in small groups like in primary and secondary school, there's a lot more work to be done.
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