The Adventure Of Studying And Working Abroad
There is always a certain allure to studying, living and working abroad. Perhaps it's the magic of getting away from home, fostering new friendships, diving into new cultures and traditions and endless exciting possibilities that await.
By Diyanah Syafiqah
There is always a certain allure to studying, living and working abroad. Perhaps it's the magic of getting away from home, fostering new friendships, diving into new cultures and traditions and endless exciting possibilities that await. But what is it truly like on the other side?
After graduating from the SIM-University of London (SIM-UOL) Accounting and Finance programme in 2015, Ethan Soo, applied for the MSc Operations Research programme at the London School of Economics (LSE), United Kingdom. Although the move seemed like a vast change from his area of study, it felt natural for Ethan who stumbled upon big data during his undergraduate years.
“While I was studying in SIM, I read a lot about big data and how it will transform the way we work and live. Motivated by how we can leverage on it to improve processes and efficacy in organisations, I took the leap of faith to enroll in the masters programme,” he says.
While stoked about the opportunity to study abroad, the alumnus didn't have much programming experience needed for the masters programme. “It took me some time to pick up softwares like WEKA, A Mathematical Programming Language (AMPL) and Simul8. However, the lecturers were very supportive in providing extra assistance. Having a study group helped as well.”
Despite the challenges, he adapted to the curriculum seamlessly. He attributes this ease to the intensive SIM-UOL programme which prepared him for the academic rigour in LSE. “The class formats were similar; we had weekly three-hour lectures followed by a tutorial. The exam format was also identical. What truly accelerated my learning were the foundational mathematics, statistics and elective operations research modules that I took back then,” he adds.
Ethan has a pro-tip for musical lovers: ‘Use the “Today Tix app” to score front-row tickets at a steal!'
It wasn't all work and no play. Ethan made it a point to immerse himself in what the UK has to offer. From attending musicals to popular events like Winter Wonderland, Pride London and the Notting Hill Carnival - all exciting and novel experiences for the Singaporean.
#Settling Into A New Life
Ethan (far right) with his colleagues at the company's Christmas dinner held at the Tower of London in 2019
Fast forward a few years, Ethan graduated from the masters programme and has even settled into his new job in the UK which he found on LSE's career portal. Currently in the data analytics team of FTI Consulting, he works on a range of exciting projects from financial crimes to sanctioning violations in the UK. The company works closely with various law firms to look into companies or financial institutions and their possible involvements in money laundering.
“I wasn't too picky about the companies I had applied for as data analytics is something I've always wanted to do. I enjoy the challenge of utilising my coding skillset in my role. Coding to me is akin to solving a puzzle where I identify different ways and approaches to solve it,” he shares.
His teammates also played a pivotal role in adapting to the challenges at work as his senior colleagues have helped in guiding him.
Even though he has made UK his second home, the alumnus admits to missing Singapore once in a while but has found a way to cope with it.
“If I make a trip back home, the remaining luggage space is always filled with local food! I still remember stocking up on packets of Prima Taste Sauce Kits the first time I came to London. I'm a horrible cook but with the sauces, I'm able to whip up the delicious taste of home really quickly,” he quips.
The SIM-UOL undergraduate programmes are the gateway to discover your passions and future studies. Explore the suite of programmes here.