Young alumnus Hoirul Ismi bin Ya’akop (’08) has made a gift to support students at his alma mater, the National University of Singapore (NUS), every year since his Commencement Class gift in the year of his graduation.
The Mechanical Engineering major tells us why he credits his NUS experience for where he is today, and gives his juniors some advice.
What were the highlights of your NUS days?
So many! I took French and went on a Student Exchange Programme (SEP) to Grenoble, France. I picked up Silat and won medals for TeamNUS Silat and remember organising events for the NUS Muslim Society and Malay Language Society.
Under the Youth Research Programme, I was given the opportunity to do research with A*Star’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.
Even the sleep-deprived nights spent studying with friends are highlights too.
Tell us about your life now.
After graduating, I took up the position of commercial and marketing engineer for Saipem, an Italian oil and gas service company. After three years, I switched to the Procurement Department, where I am now. I’m happily married and am a proud father.
How did NUS help you get to where you are today?
My grades weren’t spectacular and my technical electives had nothing to do with oil and gas. But I received the NUS Alumni Exchange award and the DUO-France award from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two awards enabled me to go to France on the Student Exchange Programme (SEP). My first boss was French and probably saw that on my resume. Now what matters most is how I perform and learn on the job. The soft skills I picked up at University come in handy.
You started giving in your Final Year at NUS. Why do you choose to continue to give to NUS?
I had to support myself at University and got distracted from my studies because I was working part-time and giving tuition. Fortunately I received the Lembaga Biasiswa Kenangan Maulud Award and the awards that allowed me to go on a Student Exchange Programme.
I’m proud to have gone to NUS and I’m thankful for the experiences it’s given me. I hope other NUS students have similar experiences and I want to contribute to that in any small way I can. I believe giving to NUS builds a tradition and a University to be proud of. It also contributes to the great things that NUS students achieve and sets the tone for students to also make a difference to society.
My advice is for alumni to contribute an amount they can continue to give every year without hesitation.
What are your hopes for the recipients of your gifts?
Just for them to be thankful and pay the kindness forward in whatever way they can.
Any tips for current NUS students?
Get hold of test papers from past years. I used to think that at this level, they wouldn’t help much but seriously, they do. Depending on the module and lecturer, webcasts may turn out to be an effective tool for learning too.
Other than that, let your passion and interests flow as NUS has so much to offer! But I think the students already know that.