When his admission application to NUS was not among the top 20% to be selected, Donald Lim ’09 did not let it defeat him. He studied to retake the Advanced Level examinations while completing his National Service and succeeded in getting an entry on his second try the following year.
However, there were more daunting challenges he had to overcome before his commencement in July 2009. Donald had to balance temporary jobs and studies to supplement his expenses while caring for his diabetic father and helping his mother with her struggling business as a canteen operator.
Yet, he went on to graduate from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences with a First Class Honours degree in Social Sciences. He was helped on his journey by two Annual Giving bursaries he received. Donald feels indebted to his benefactors and hopes to help people like himself in the future. He says: “You have to do your due diligence for others to help you. And when you receive it, accept it graciously and give back one day”.
While he was a student, he took part in the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) programme where he spent a year studying at Stanford University while also undergoing an internship with a high tech company in Silicon Valley. The overseas college programme allows NUS students to experience firsthand, living and working amongst the high tech communities of Silicon Valley.
Foregoing the typical path of the salaried employee, Donald is using his NOC experiences as Vice President of Marketing at Savant Degrees, a web consultancy business he joined as partner upon graduation. Tapping on his network, Donald is helping the consultancy form international partnerships with clients and collaborators.
Now that he has graduated, he has put his words into action by helping the non-profit organization, GIVE.sg, with technical expertise to deliver a scalable and robust online fundraising platform. He adds that the spirit of his company’s organisational culture revolves around helping people realise their dreams. Empowering non-profit organisations such as Give.sg by helping them utilize the web for fundraising was a “natural fit” that aligned with their philanthropic interests. Following the devastation of Typhoon Morakot on Taiwan in August 2009, GIVE.sg raised over NT100,000 ($4,300) on Facebook shortly thereafter. Their success can be attributed to Donald and his unconventional band of technopreneurs.
On his motivations for success, he observes: “All successful people have a goal. One cannot get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.” He strongly feels that in some ways his success today has been shaped by many who, whether in the form of mentorship or bursaries, gave him the opportunity to reach seemingly unattainable goals.
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