It is easy to spot an Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) graduate. He or she is likely to be the one who challenges the norm, asks critical questions, comes up with creative ideas, works across multi-functional teams, and carries a vision through to implementation. This was proven in the 2018 Joint Graduate Employment Survey, where SUTD graduates outperform their peers in nearly all aspects of the desired 21st-century skillsets – particularly in creativity and innovation; multi-disciplinarity and readiness for the job market. The same survey also found that 94% of SUTD graduates find stable jobs within six months of graduation in 78.6% of the country’s key industries and activities.
With an education that doubles as an impressive resume for today and a future pegged to volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, SUTD graduates are well sought-after. They are now engineers in innovative companies such as Google, Dyson, Changi Airport Group and Facebook Inc; data analysts in leading financial institutions; founders of exciting start-ups; architectural designers involved in rejuvenating public spaces; architects in firms such as RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, and many more. Some proceed to further studies at prestigious higher education institutions too, including Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, University of Cambridge, UK and Yale University.
They are cultivated by SUTD’s design-centric curriculum and multidisciplinary programmes, which are delivered via a unique, collaborative and hands-on pedagogy.
SUTD graduates receive many opportunities to broaden their skill set. It starts from their Freshmore curriculum all the way to their specialisation years – a journey enriched by the Freshmore Asian Cross-curricular Trips, Global Leadership Programme, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme and Capstone Programme. As a result, they are not only ready to blaze into their respective industries, but to bring more to the table than the traditional engineering or architecture graduate. Graduates call this their “SUTD Edge,” a badge of ingenuity and repute across industries – and increasingly – across the globe.
“SUTD graduates are different; their confidence is something I don’t see in other graduates. They are very bold, they are also creative. They will always find solutions and are very open to learning,” attests Yeo Siew Haip, Chief Executive Officer of SAA Architects.
Thanks to the technical training in his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD) and Master of Architecture, international student Yehezkiel Wiliardy Manik is now green-proofing designs as an Environment and Sustainable Design analyst at DP Architects. Before this, he cut his teeth in tech-focused design analysis in his previous role as a computational designer at Bjarke Ingels Group in Denmark, where he helped analyse and improve architectural models from an environmental engineering point of view.
“SUTD’s multidisciplinary curriculum exposed me to different programming languages and open-source databases. As a design student, I was often challenged to understand and apply what I learnt into the design process, and the results fascinated me. When you combine technology with architecture, you are no longer just designing a building; you are creating livable spaces,” Yehezkiel says.
“You can build your vision of the future”
The strong entrepreneurial culture at SUTD has birthed more than 40 up-and-coming start-up organisations, including the artificial intelligence simulation engine Bifrost, which started as a Capstone project. Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD) graduates Charles Wong and Aravind Kandiah clinched rail operator SMRT Corporation as their first client merely a month after their graduation in September 2019.
“SUTD’s focus on practical team projects gave us a platform to keep testing our assumptions and iterating on our ideas. It is these very skills that are needed to get a brand new venture off the ground – where speed and execution matter far more than getting it right the first time,” Charles shares.
Aside from the curious community of students eager to build cool stuff together, Aravind attributes the addition of humanities in the SUTD curriculum as exceptionally formative for him. “Having the opportunity to study all these great thinkers, from metaphysics to epistemology, has brought on the realisation that everything around us was made by people that were no smarter than you and I,” he says.
“You can change it, you can influence it and you can build your vision of the future. And hopefully, the envisioned future brings about some meaningful impact on the world,” Aravind adds. Support comes from the SUTD Entrepreneurship Centre, where aspiring entrepreneurs access the resources and connections in realising their dreams.
Excited, experienced, and highly employable
As part of the SUTD edge, undergraduates are exposed to numerous opportunities to gain industry experience from the best companies and countries worldwide. “SUTD offers an ideal university curriculum focusing on technology, design thinking and critical problem-solving skills as it s its graduates for the rapidly evolving future in industries such as healthcare,” says Adj. Prof Hsu Pon Poh, Chief and Senior Consultant Surgeon at Changi General Hospital’s Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.
That is how Engineering Product Development (EPD) graduate Brendan Lim cultivated the design-centred thinking relevant to the patient focus of his current role as a management associate at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. “SUTD’s healthcare modules also gave me a head-start by educating me about the industry, and providing both hands-on experience and the opportunity to work alongside healthcare professionals such as doctors. With my specialisation in EPD, these factors will allow me to better create products to address real-world healthcare issues,” he shares.
Due to their unique skillset and attributes, many students land jobs to pursue their chosen careers right after graduation, and some end up getting hired by the same companies they previously interned at. This was the case for ISTD graduate See Yi Jie, who clinched a role as a Tech Analyst at Citibank after winning the bank’s 2018 hackathon and interning there as a Summer Tech Analyst. His time at SUTD taught him to think outside the box and pick up new skills as a lifelong learner.
“I’ll attribute this to the projects I worked on in SUTD. Many of these projects required us to develop and build products from scratch. This encouraged us to pick up new skills independently outside the classroom, which is crucial for anyone aspiring to work in the information technology sector,” Yi Jie opines.
This was the case for ASD graduate Ng Jin Xi, who clinched a role as a design strategist at Gensler Singapore after spending a postgraduate internship there master-planning urban projects. “My experience in addressing problems through different lenses for an integrated solution has helped me to do the same in my work today, where I would consider and weigh different options in search of the best fit solution,” she shares.
Singapore University of Technology and Design facilitates success in every pathway
Aside from realising fulfilling careers, SUTD’s multidisciplinary approach also sets the right foundation for students to advance to postgraduate studies. Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) graduate Tan Jia Hao was inspired to take charge of his own learning at SUTD, which led him to the Master of Philosophy in Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management at the University of Cambridge. Today, as a Senior Associate of Airport Management at Changi Airport Group, he channels all that he has learned to improve the productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of future airports.
“Most of our SUTD design projects were open-ended questions,” Jia Hao reveals. “There was no step-by-step guide on how to solve these design problems – we were encouraged to be creative and apply the academic knowledge we picked up in class. This trained us to be proactive in our learning, and to seek logical and reasonable solutions to design problems.”
Jessica Davinia Layardi, another international student who majored in ESD and landed an internship with consulting firm Surbana Jurong via the SUTD Career Fair, agrees: “One of the biggest challenges, but also the best part of the internship was that the project that was assigned to me was very open-ended, and I was given the autonomy to decide the course of the research. This was challenging given the fact that I had no prior experience working in the aviation industry. However, I felt confident taking on the task because in SUTD, we are often required to go beyond our comfort zone and to think outside the box to achieve the objective of our projects.”
Simply put, SUTD equips students to fearlessly venture to new horizons. Jezamine Chua from S A Chua Architects, who completed the Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science (Architecture and Sustainable Design) says, “The visionary and interdisciplinary pedagogy at SUTD opened my eyes to the larger universe beyond architecture, while the journey of self-discovery amidst a close-knit and like-minded community led me to the very core of what architecture meant to me.”
So whether you embark on your dream career, start your own company, or pursue further studies, your time at SUTD will future-proof your experience with the right knowledge, skills, and attitude for success. Learn more on how you can find your path to better the world with technology and design.