By Yap Su-Yin
At recent alumni events, when alumni were asked what mattered to them with regards to alumni engagement, they prioritised: Deliver growth and enrichment, strengthen alumni networks, followed by nurture loyalty and pride.
Most viewed their alma mater as a resource to help them keep professionally competitive. They sought opportunities for industry and business networking, as well as career and professional development. About half raised their hands to be included in voluntary activities, whether through community service or as mentors and speakers.
This feedback will be helpful to tailor alumni engagement programmes that cut across academic disciplines and deliver what alumni ask for.
Welcoming our newest alumni
The recent NTU Convocation for the Class of 2022 marked the start of a new phase in life for over 10,600 graduates as they step into fresh pathways and uncharted horizons. Most of them will enter the workforce, with workplace dynamics vastly different from the pre-pandemic era.
One of them is Karen Tang, a former NTU Bursary recipient from the Class of 2022, who completed a work-stint with the University Advancement Office (UAO) while figuring out her next steps. The transition from student to working adult was daunting, admitted the School of Humanities graduate. “The feeling of anxiety can be overwhelming, but I try to remind myself to take things one step at a time,” said Karen.
She recently clinched her first full-time job with an e-commerce firm. Karen credited her first win to her alma mater’s reputation and the support of donors to the NTU Bursary Fund. The financial aid allayed her difficulties, so she could complete her studies with peace of mind, and volunteer actively. She stepped forward to be featured in the University’s appeal last year, to advocate on behalf of the bursary fund and its recipients. More than 2,800 alumni donors responded with a gift. The opportunity to work and serve made her final year at NTU particularly memorable.
Paying it forward again, Karen has donated part of her salary to the NTU Bursary Fund to support her juniors. Like Karen, about 1 in 3 of her fellow graduates made a Class Gift.
Together with dollar-for-dollar matching of up to S$100,000 from Sian Chay Medical Institution, the Class of 2022 raised S$268,000, the highest amount for graduation giving in six years. This effort demonstrates how collective action can lead to an impactful legacy.
Venturing forth: Class of 2022 graduate Karen Tang planned an educational campus outing for children from PPIS Student Care Centre with fellow bursary recipient Mohamad Salihin during the June school holidays. It was her seventh time volunteering with UAO and this charity in a year, including workshops during NTU Service Week. Guided by staff volunteers from UAO, the children witnessed 3D printing by School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering staff, role-played as young ambassadors of NTU’s Yunnan Garden, and toured the 30th Anniversary Exhibition at Nanyang Auditorium.
What's in store: Growth, Enrichment & Networking
The University Advancement Office will kick-off its first What’s Up Wednesday Alumni Speaker Series on 31 August 2022, with alumni Er Dr Lee Bee Wah and Prof Inderjit Singh sharing their career trajectories as engineers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers. In November 2022, WKWSCI alumnus Steven Lim and NBS alumna Priscilla Gan will share their “magic moments” and the life-defining changes they made in the light of these. At these quarterly fireside chats, attendees glean wisdom not only from industry veterans, but also ordinary alumni who create positive impact in their chosen pathways.
In today’s work environment, professionals need to constantly broaden their horizons. Lifelong learning courses can keep us relevant, connected, and motivated. To help alumni navigate speedbumps at work, UAO has lined up webinars in collaboration with e2i, on topics ranging from communication strategies to handling tricky workplace situations.
Overseas alumni events are now also underway. Alumni in India or with professional interests there might wish to consider attending the NTU Singapore-India Dialogue for Technology, Innovation and Research in India. Prominent business leaders and distinguished alumni will be speaking at the event.
On Yunnan Garden campus, a hive of activities is about to unfurl for alumni. A highlight will be the NTU Alumni Homecoming on 15 October 2022 with outdoor celebrations for alumni and their families. Alumni can look forward to reacquaint themselves with the scenic campus grounds, recent physical additions and lush greenery that matured over the years.
Alumni who attend these events will have the opportunities to strengthen their alumni networks within their academic disciplines and also forge new ties across other colleges or industries.
Through such opportunities, we hope to journey alongside alumni as they keep pace with and thrive in the changing world. By leveraging NTU's growing alumni networks, the OneNTU family grows from strength to strength. We warmly welcome alumni to join these specially curated events.
The theme for this year's Homecoming - VENTURE - encapsulates the spirit of our times. We look forward to welcoming you home.