Amos Koh

The economic shock waves unleashed by COVID-19 in the recent two years further complicate the employment scene for fresh graduates. While many struggle to secure a job, Amos Koh, scholar and alumnus of SIM-University of London (UOL), is a walking exception. He shares authentic narratives on how an enriching student life and an expansive network can maximise one’s chances of securing employment after university – even if you graduate right in the face of an ongoing pandemic crisis.

22 June 2021

5 mins read

Beating Odds and Paving Ways into Employment

Amos-kosh

Tell us about yourself:

I am an economist at Commerzbank AG. I provide detailed analysis and support the FX forecasts coverage.

Before this, I was pursuing my undergraduate studies in BSc (Hons) in Economics and Finance with SIM-UOL where I obtained the highest marks for the programme among fellow graduates in 2019. This helped me earn the LSE Masters scholarship to study the MSc Economics at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in the UK.

Why the decision to further your studies with the University of London at SIM?

I felt that holding just a diploma would limit my career choices. Furthering my UOL education at SIM helped me discover many of my interests and strengths. At the same time, it also opened up tons of career opportunities for me.

Can you share your student life experience at SIM with us?

Student life at SIM can be very vibrant and exciting – provided you take the initiatives to put yourself out there. In my first year, I joined the SIM Economics Society (SIMES) as a researcher, wrote and published many articles on our blog. The following year saw me assuming the role of Corporate Development Deputy Director. It enabled me to connect with many renowned economists, leaders, and chief executives.
 

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Amos (left), with his fellow SIMES peers during the SIMES orientation camp.


In one particular mentoring programme, I met Dr Jeremy Gwee (Ex-COO of HSBC Singapore and SIM alumnus), and he shared with me, pieces of career advice that include valuable interview tips. We are still friends up until today.
 

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Amos (far right), at the 2018 ESS Economic Policy Forum with guest-of-honour, Minister Chan Chun Sing.


Another useful programme was the SIM Peer Assisted Learning (PAL). It cemented my understanding of macroeconomics. Fun fact: it was also at the PAL programme that I met my girlfriend.

How did you feel when you found out that you were awarded the LSE Masters Scholarship?

When I left for London to pursue my Master’s, I did not know that I was the scholarship recipient. At that point, I had already taken a loan to finance my studies. During the LSE pre-Masters prep lecture, I received a call from Dr Zhang (Academic Head of SIM-UOL Programmes), who informed me that I was a recipient of the LSE Masters scholarship. At that very moment, I felt that all my hard work paid off – truly unforgettable!

Having graduated amid the pandemic, what were some of your challenges in securing a job and how did you overcome them?

I had struggled to find a job in London previously due to my small social circle there. Therefore, before I graduate from my Master’s programme, I reached out to my network of contacts in Singapore. Not long after, an acquaintance told me that Commerzbank was hiring economists, and he would gladly help me arrange an interview with the hiring managers.

In your opinion, how has the degree and your SIM experience empowered you in your career journey?

The BSc programme has equipped me with the fundamental knowledge to undertake further studies at a prestigious institution, and I can still apply these concepts to various aspects of my current job role.

I also received expert guidance from SIM-UOL faculty members, who have very generously shared their experiences on careers in the private sectors as well as on academia (a career path I briefly considered), all of which have allowed me to make better career decisions.

Any word of advice for fresh graduates to better secure their job prospects in this volatile economy?

The employment scene is very competitive now. We have almost the same – if not, a growing number of graduates in Singapore, with fewer job openings. I think one thing that helps to boost your employability is to gain real-world experience through internships.

I did an internship at a local SME doing financial operations in my first year at SIM-UOL. During job interviews, I could share many actual work experiences and give potential employers a clearer picture of how I am like as an employee.

The key here is that just saying you are hardworking in today’s economic climate is not enough. Fresh graduates need that edge, and there is nothing better than an internship stint to exhibit that. In short, hustle hard, work smart and network extensively.

Click here to learn more about the programmes awarded by the University of London.

SIM celebrates the 35th partnership anniversary with the University of London (UOL) in 2021. To mark the significant milestone of an enduring collaboration, there are year-long fringe activities to commemorate the accomplishments and transformative impact it has on our students and alumni. Find out more about UOL here.

 

Posted online, 22 Jun 2021