story | Rachel Hau, Contributing Reporter
photo | Yale-NUS College Public Affairs
As of Sept. 29 2017, 90% of Yale-NUS College graduates had secured jobs, fellowships or offers to pursue graduate school. This is a marked increase from the 63% figure reported by The Straits Times earlier this year (May 30). The Yale-NUS graduation ceremony was held on May 29.
According to Yale-NUS Public Affairs, the inaugural batch of students have gained employment in sectors including public sector and policy (17%), consulting (14%), science & research (12%), education (11%), finance (10%) and technology and startups (9%).
They have also been hired by employers such as Bain & Company, Credit Suisse, McKinsey & Company, Oliver Wyman, Goldman Sachs, National Arts Council, Ministry of Education, SAP Innovation Centre, Heineken, H&M and Carousell.
Class of 2017 Alumni are also pursuing graduate studies at reputable institutions in Singapore and beyond, such as Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Yale University, The University of Chicago, Harvard University and University College London. Their fields of study include astronomy, psychology and literature.
Elson Ong ’17 is one of several Yale-NUS graduates who have found jobs overseas. Ong currently works as a product controller in the finance division of Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong. He said that he did not expect to be offered this technical role because he had majored in Urban Studies, which is not directly related to Finance or Accounting.
Melody Madhavan ’17, a history major from Singapore, is another Yale-NUS graduate working abroad. Madhavan is a digital marketing intern at L’Oreal in Tokyo, Japan. In addition to other jobs in marketing, she considered teaching English in Japan under the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme.
Despite finding her job search particularly tiring and challenging as she had to juggle multiple applications and interviews in Japanese, Madhavan emphasised the importance of learning from rejections, remaining confident, and being patient. “I only got my job in April (and a whole other bunch of offers) despite applying for jobs from November the year before,” she said over online correspondence.
Closer to home, Jevon Chandra ’17, an Arts and Humanities major, is working in the Outreach & Education department at the Nanyang Technological University Centre for Contemporary Art (NTU CCA) Singapore. He also participates in The Substation’s Concerned Citizen Programme, a programme that aims to equip young people “with knowledge and mentorship to create an intervention in our city” — to challenge the use and regulation of space in Singapore.
Chandra said via email, “I did have my anxieties nearing and after graduation. But once I was of a calmer mind, I decided: I’d aim (in the short run) to be a practicing artist.”
Feelings of uncertainty about employment and economic outlook are not unique to Yale-NUS students. At other universities in Singapore, the 2016 employment rates of graduates with Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degrees ranged from 46.6% to 79.3%, while employment rates of Bachelor of Science (Honours) graduates ranged from 64.2% to 77.1%.
Typically, tertiary institutions in Singapore release results in February in the year after graduation. Collection of post-graduation employment statistics begins about 6 months after graduation, around the time when this article was written.
Despite the uncertainty that may remain beyond graduation, some Yale-NUS students expressed certainty about the tools and resources they had been equipped with. Ong said, “The global experiences that I had in Yale-NUS, such as living in different countries for two-to-six month periods and also interacting with different cultures through the school community and curriculum, helped me to adapt to the international environment here in Hong Kong and the firm I am working for.”