Published on 17 Nov 2023

The grad-titude of giving back

From recruiting juniors and providing mentorship to sharing resources and volunteering talent, these alumni have been actively giving back to the NTU community after graduation.

Text: Nur Isyana Isaman

Opening doors for juniors

Giving back comes in different forms and shapes. For Henry Tan (NBS/1988), the group chief executive officer of an audit and accounting firm, he hires from NTU as his way of paying it forward.

“NTU graduates who joined CLA Global TS have the required skillset to adapt quickly and dive into work at our firm, which makes it easier to guide them. They also have good work ethic and the willingness to learn,” says Henry, who served on the Nanyang Business School (NBS) Alumni Advisory Board for a decade until 2022.

Trusting the quality of an NTU education and the calibre of its graduates, his firm has recruited about 270 NTU alumni and students – mostly from NBS – as employees and interns since 1993. Some are groomed into key leaders at the firm.

One of them is accountancy graduate, Ang Soon Lii (NBS/2005), an associate director for transformation and quality assurance.

“My role requires me to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn to keep up with the evolving technological and regulatory environments. The things that helped me through these changes are a supportive working environment at the firm and the hard and soft skills I picked up as a student,” says Soon Lii. 

Henry (left) and his NTU accountancy junior turned employee, Ang Soon Lii. 

Similarly, Chua Yuxuan (WKWSCI/2015), the head of creator partnerships at SGAG, has seen his company hire about 20 graduates from his alma mater over the past eight years.

He says: “The NTU curriculum adapts well to industry changes. With their skillset, NTU graduates who satisfy the job criteria usually end up in the final rounds of our interviews.” 

Chua Yuxuan (second row, first from right) with his work team members, including three graduates from NTU.

Echoing the sentiment is Su Weixiang (CEE/2011), the general manager of the Singapore arm of a Danish shipping company, Lauritzen Bulkers.

Weixiang – who holds a Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) – describes NTU graduates as “knowledgeable and passionate, with solid performance and attitude”. The CEE Young Alumni Award 2023 recipient has employed 17 of his juniors as full-time staff since joining the company in 2010.

Under Weixiang’s leadership, his company has been supporting NTU as a term bursary sponsor since 2011 to uplift underprivileged students.

Su Weixiang is the general manager of J. Lauritzen Singapore, which employs NTU graduates.

Providing mentorship

Besides offering employment opportunities to his juniors, Weixiang also serves on the CEE Mentorship Programme, where he mentors undergraduates to bridge the needs and expectations between academia and industry.

Likewise, alumnus Ang Ker Ser (MAE/2001) has been mentoring those younger than him. Since joining the NTU Alumni Toastmasters Club in 2014, Ker Ser has imparted his public speaking, leadership and professional skills to the club members including new alumni. He was also among the pioneer batch of mentors for the NTU Alumni Mentorship Programme in 2020.

Meanwhile, Henry provides mentorship to young, aspiring entrepreneurs through an annual business plan challenge organised by his firm for university students. During the challenge, students present their business plans to gather feedback from judges comprising successful entrepreneurs and leading business professionals.

Henry (first from right) awards the winning team from NTU at CLA Global TS’ fifth Business Plan Challenge.

Sharing resources

Despite his schedule at SGAG, Yuxuan contributed as a guest speaker at an NTU alumni event, where he shared resources and tips on content creation and working in the creative field.

For alumna Alicia Sok Hourng (NBS/2009), who is the co-founder of Hotel Himawari Apartments in Cambodia, her way of giving back is by offering her property as a venue for alumni events. She also provides NTU undergraduates with mentorship and internship opportunities at her property. The Nanyang Alumni Service Award 2023 recipient is also the secretary general of NTU Alumni Association (Cambodia), which she helped to launch in 2017.

Volunteering talent

Liu Runan emceed for an NTU event in Shenzhen in September 2023.

While Alicia taps on her tangible resources, Liu Runan (SSS/2015) uses her emceeing talent for NTU events, such as the China Alumni Conference 2023 in Shenzhen.

Runan is also the secretary general of the NTU Alumni Association (Guangdong), where she hosted the launch of the NTU Technology Transfer Centre-South Centre (Zhuhai) and the Nanyang International Innovation Valley.

Another China-based alumnus, Qu Feng (NBS/2009), finds joy in organising business networking events for fellow alumni, such as the third NTU Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai Alumni Forum as well as the fifth China Alumni Association Forum.

The NBS graduate has served the NTU Alumni Association (Shanghai) – the first of its kind in China – since 2009 as an executive committee member and vice president. In 2019, Feng stepped up to lead the NTU Alumni Association (Heilongjiang).

These alumni prove that giving back to their alma mater can be done by leveraging their own unique experiences. Through their efforts, these individuals continue to help shape the University’s growth by inspiring the future generations.


This article first appeared in issue 4 of U, the NTU alumni magazine

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