NUS BBA 07 March 2017

Gaining new perspectives during overseas exchange

Student Exchange Programme (SEP) is designed to add an international flavour to the academic experience for BBA and MBA students. Each year some 400 students would travel to some 120 universities, spending a semester abroad taking modules in their second or third year.

Students gain valuable international exposure when studying and living in a foreign country, enriching their academic life and enhancing their personal development.

At the Grand Canyon where behind Marzouq was a few thousand feet drop!

For BBA Year 3 Ahamed Marzouq, SEP gave him the opportunity to experience a completely different learning environment, pick up life skills as well as develop an awareness and appreciation of other cultures. Outside-In spoke to him on what it was like for him studying in the US.

Q: Where did you go for your exchange?

M: I went to the University of Washington’s Foster Business School in Seattle, Washington. Foster Business School is well-known for its business courses – some of our faculty received their PhDs here.

The US financial industry wields tremendous influence on the global economy. As a finance major, it is important to gain the US perspective in my education journey. During my exchange, I took modules such as Strategy Management, Corporate Finance and International Finance.

I also took part in a case competition there. The case company we had to work on was US telco giant T-Mobile. I had to model the finances of the company, and was able to see the challenges the organisation face. This opportunity gave me a first-hand experience of applying my finance knowledge beyond Singapore.

Q: What was it like in Seattle?

M: Our biggest challenge was really getting used to the weather! Seattle is a lot colder than Singapore – something that takes a while to get used to.

I met people from all over the world – students who are on exchange. Over the course of the four months, some of my closest friends are from Australia, France, Italy and Turkey. I had the chance to learn their languages – we would attempt to speak introductory phrases of each other’s languages.

Yosemite National Park – Being a dwarf amongst the giant mountains!

Q: How was it like living in the US?

M: In Singapore, I don’t live on campus. But in Seattle, I stayed in one of School’s resident halls. As a result, I became more independent as I had to plan everything from my meals to the daily chores (e.g. laundry & groceries).

Q: How will SEP help you prepare for working life?

M: I feel that SEP gives you an important perspective of life – that is the larger network in the world that you need to be a part of. As we grow to become full time working adults in the industry tomorrow, it is very highly likely that you would be working with these contacts that you have built up – right from the exchange days. That is something critical for today’s global working environment I feel!

Travelling with other exchange students at the Lower Yosemite National Falls