story Spandana Bhattacharya | May Tay

Valerie '17 practising her elevator pitch.

Valerie ’17 practising her elevator pitch. (Yale-NUS CIPE)


As the hustle and bustle of activities on campus slowly wound down near the end of last semester, over 50 students of Yale-NUS’s inaugural batch were gearing up for one last event. They were attending the Centre for International and Professional Experience’s (CIPE) flagship program, the NGO Bootcamp.

The five-days Bootcamp took place from 14 to 18 May, and comprised whole day sessions facilitated by leaders from the local and international non-profit sectors. During the sessions, session leaders shared their views on the local and international NGO landscapes, as well as valuable skills and processes from their respective experiences. Together, the session leaders had extensive experiences managing multiple aspects of non-profit work in both the private and public sectors.

“[We want] to train students in essential skills, knowledge, and perspectives so that when they intern with NGOs they can make meaningful contributions without too much handholding and also get a rich learning experience,” shared Ms. Nhaca Le Schulze on behalf of CIPE.

Hoa Nguyen’17 found the skills learnt from the Bootcamp readily applicable during her internship at Sarus, an NGO based in Cambodia. “My biggest take-away was the concept of design thinking and its application to social work. I was able to apply it extensively during my internship, and even held workshops at my organization on design thinking.”

Session leaders applauded CIPE for pioneering the initiative. “I really believe in the lessons we were trying to convey and know that I personally could have benefited from this kind of training when I was a young intern,” said Ms Jennifer Hsiao from Bain & Company. Ms. Hsiao focused on the importance of data collection and shared basics of data analysis and collection in her session.

Brainstorming with sticky notes Credits to CIPE

Brainstorming with sticky notes. (Yale-NUS CIPE)

Ms Mae Anderson from Credit Suisse and Art Outreach Singapore, who conducted a session on fundraising, agreed that it was a fruitful program, “I was greeted by a very animated group who were responsive, curious and who asked many relevant and interesting questions. It was clear to me that the students have not been passive recipients of lessons and insights from the Bootcamp.”

Over the longer-term, the Bootcamp is also intended to help Yale-NUS create community-minded leaders for the social sector, in alignment with the college’s mission. CIPE plans to expand the Bootcamp and make it a signature annual program for the college’s students.

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