Alumna Wong Bi Ying (’11) believes that joining the National University of Singapore (NUS) rather than studying overseas was one of the best decisions she has ever made. The offer of a scholarship, the Lee Kong Chian Global Merit Scholarship, helped her make up her mind and opened up a new world for her.
Established from gifts from the Lee Foundation, the Scholarship is awarded to individuals who demonstrate academic excellence, all-roundness and leadership qualities. The award made Bi Ying’s parents very proud and they encouraged their daughter to make the most out of the Scholarship.
Make the most is exactly what Bi Ying did. Since Junior College, her dream had been to attend the NUS Overseas College programme, which allows NUS undergraduates to intern in start-up organisations in leading entrepreneurial and academic hubs and study entrepreneurship related courses at partner universities. Thanks to the Scholarship, she had the financial freedom to spend a year in Silicon Valley and take full advantage of the entrepreneurial culture there.
“In my four years at NUS, I’ve been given many choices and a wide berth to pursue my interests. I’m glad that my education gave me a chance to grow both academically and professionally. In addition to the diverse faculty and students in the main NUS campus, the NUS Overseas College in Silicon Valley gave me a chance to learn to live independently and be immersed in a real world start-up working environment,” the Psychology graduate shares.
The entrepreneurial spirit is still with her. As the Scholarship freed Bi Ying from having a heavy student debt burden upon graduation, she is in a position to pursue a career in entrepreneurship.
Today, Bi Ying works as the Ignitor of Excitement at PlayMoolah, a local start-up that helps young people learn about money through games. She leads the company’s marketing, community building and strategic growth efforts. In engaging the community with the company’s Honesty Circle initiatives, Bi Ying encourages young people to talk freely about their relationship with money. “Our community members often describe their fears, anxieties and worries about money; and we find that simply by talking about it, it’s a first step in building their confidence as they learn that they are not the only ones with those fears.”
Working so closely with the community has been a learning experience for Bi Ying. She shares, “I’ve learnt to respect that people come from all walks of life and have their own unique perspectives on the world. I’ve learnt not to judge others harshly because my resources, values and priorities are not necessarily the same as theirs and we are all just trying to live the best life that we can.”
Having benefited from the generosity of others through the Scholarship, Bi Ying hopes to pass on the gift that she has received. She says, “I’m grateful for the Scholarship, as it was one of the key enablers of my entrepreneurial journey. The choice of being in an entrepreneurial career is rewarding but can be very challenging at times. I would love to be able to mentor or encourage undergraduates who choose to pursue this path as a route to achieving their dreams.
“I believe that we can all do our small part in giving back in more forms than donating money – we have our time, talents and energy to share with the world to make it a more beautiful place for everyone to live in.”
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