Charleen from NBS takes on the challenge of URECA, a unique opportunity for undergraduates to conduct hands-on, independent research under the mentorship of a faculty member of choice, over a period of 11 months.
My Undergraduate Research Experience on Campus (URECA) journey began in July last year, when I received an e-invitation to participate in the programme. While I never imagined myself pursuing a career in research, I was excited to learn more about the role of research in the field of business. I also hoped to gain greater insight into the mindset of a researcher.
I was particularly intrigued by the idea of research as a tool that helps shape and inform organisational practices in the real world. With HR and decision-making in organisations becoming increasingly insight-driven, I hoped that my URECA experience could empower me with a greater understanding of how I could be involved in creating value through insights for both people and organisations. Beyond academia, I strongly feel this will remain relevant and be applicable throughout the course of my future career.
The Project and its Aim
Together with Assistant Professor Chong Sin Hui from Nanyang Business School and Tanya Bedi, a fellow NBS undergraduate also embarking on URECA, we endeavoured as a team to understand how COVID-19 has transformed work norms for organisations and employees.
Due to the recency of COVID-19 and the resulting prevalence of remote and hybrid work arrangements at that time, academic literature on the topic was relatively limited. This gave us room for much academic exploration. We each had the freedom to scope our projects according to our area of interest. Whilst Tanya’s study would examine the pros and cons of remote or hybrid work arrangements for the productivity and work-family management of employees, mine sought to explore the developments in performance management practices and their effectiveness from the perspectives of managers and employees.
While the URECA journey might sound daunting for those new to research, a lot of support is rendered via workshops on categories including “Starting Research”, “Data Visualisation” and “Communicating Research”. More significantly, much learning and reflection is facilitated by the URECA mentor each step of the way.
Presently, we are at the midpoint of our research and look forward to analysing the discussion transcripts, extrapolating insights from various viewpoints shared by focus group participants, as well as communicating our findings.
My URECA journey thus far has been thoroughly enriching, in large part due to the student-mentor experience that is so integral to the programme. Since the start, my mentor has been fully supportive of my goals and ambitions for URECA, even sharing her insights and advice as to how the different research topics and methodologies could potentially open doors to different career paths and sectors.
Through URECA, not only have I enjoyed the freedom to pursue goals that are tailored to my interests, but I have also come to appreciate the dedication of our faculty staff who are passionate about both their students and their research.
URECA at Work
The foundations of research experience and practical skills gained just six months into my URECA project have indeed proven beneficial in the workplace. As a consulting intern with the People Advisory Services team at EY during my 2021 winter break, I had the opportunity to facilitate and support multiple focus group discussions, and thereafter study and draw insights from participants’ inputs. I was also challenged to consider how different objectives called for different research methodologies and tools. With my URECA experiences, I was able to engage in my work with greater confidence and clarity.
My URECA journey began as a challenge to myself to step out of my comfort zone, to ask better questions and to take ownership of my personal and professional growth. Right now, at the midway mark, I am happy with my growth and the experience, and look forward to seeing where this journey will lead me.
Double your employability potential
Business and computer science student, Shao Yakun will graduate with a double degree that will give her the flexibility to explore multiple job options.
Big hearted global citizen
Learning across disciplines and meeting people from different cultures as part of the interdisciplinary University Scholars Programme, Priya feels education has empowered her to stand tall and strong.