Mr. Han En Chou

Graduate Fellow Tembusu College National University of Singapore

My undergraduate journey has come to an end. As I attended my two commencement ceremonies, I asked myself, “What is my story?” To many of my peers, completing a double degree in Business and Computer Science is an achievement, and definitely should have been the defining moment of my undergraduate life. But this is not the story I want to tell. I remember only the countless fun memories and learning opportunities that had punctuated my journey. It is our journey that defines us.

I decided on a path in Business and Computing early in my teenage years. It was neither a conscientious nor conscious decision. I merely followed my passion. It was in my secondary school that the seeds of interest in business and computing was planted. As I entered university, I was not ready to make a choice between specializing in Business or Computing, so choosing a double degree was probably the best decision, allowing me to keep my options open.

Serendipitously, I landed in Tembusu College, a place I have called home since matriculation. It is at this Home of Possibilities that I have grown and matured in my learning journey. I was given many opportunities to explore what is my passion, and strangely, many of these experiences were not related to my studies. I started a Case Strategy Club with my peers where we wrote a business case on Carrefour in the Middle East which was then used in the nation-wide Tembusu-MEIT case competition that we organised. I had the opportunity to participate in many overseas community involvement projects: volunteering at the Journey of Grace Academy in Cambodia, learning about environmental conservation through STEER Indonesia, and mentoring students in redesigning our flagship OCIP project, tKampung. I even had the opportunity to take up an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Project (UROP), where I learnt to write a negotiation case on the regulation of disruptive technologies in Singapore.

My double degree gave me the knowledge and the technical foundation to explore my passion, but it was the many varied experiences at Tembusu College that offered me the opportunities to experiment and discover myself. I realised my passion for problem-solving through a multi-disciplinary approach, such as designing user-centric solutions, crafting viable business models around digital solutions or rapid prototyping "proof-of-concepts".

As one chapter closes, another opens. I begin a new chapter of my life, doing my PhD at the Division of Engineering and Technology Management, seeking to find ways to contribute to this paradigm. It is not the PhD that will define me, but the journey.

The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.