Juggling work and study pays off

When Kenny Ng completed his National Service in 2006, he was eager to kick-start his career. But at the same time, Mr Ng, also wanted to upgrade himself with a degree. So, he enrolled himself in a degree programme at Curtin University Singapore, while working full-time.

Mr Ng, who held a Diploma in Interactive Media Design from Temasek Polytechnic, wanted to pursue his degree at a globally recognised university that is strong in the area of business studies, which he felt Curtin offered. In addition, Mr Ng was attracted to Curtin for its double major programme in marketing and advertising, one of the few universities to offer it.

Three years later, Mr Ng graduated from Curtin in 2009 with a business degree with a double major in Marketing and Advertising. He is now a regional marketing manager with a world-renowned global news broadcasting corporation.

No easy feat

Studying while working full-time was no easy feat, said Mr Ng, 30. By day, Mr Ng was a marketing professional and at night, he was attending classes.

Classes were held two to three times on weeknights, and sometimes on weekends too. Most of Mr Ng's public holidays and weekends were sent on school projects, homework and revision. On the days where there were no classes, he would use the opportunity to catch up on his work.

"Undeniably, it was really tough and tiring to juggle both work and study concurrently," said Mr Ng. 

Fortunately, there was a silver lining to his situation. Mr Ng felt that the relevance between work and his studies helped him in picking up theories and in generating better ideas and solutions for projects.

As he was already in an actual working environment, he could make sure that the solutions that he pitched were feasible and realistic.

Relevant lecturers

Students like Mr Ng were not the only ones spending their time both in the corporate world and in the university. Many lecturers at Curtin were also marketing professionals outside curriculum time.

This makes them relevant to the local market, as they are in the know of the latest trends and developments, said Mr Ng.

Most of the classes at Curtin were seminar-based, with the discussion of some real-life global and local case studies to allow students to better understand the application of the theories.

"The lecturers were engaging in their delivery as they usually share the problems and solutions to the scenarios they face day-to-day at work," said Mr Ng. This gave students a taste of what they might potentially face in their own careers in the future.

Fuelling the future

Mr Ng's experience at Curtin provided him not only with a strong knowledge foundation that let him have a head start in his marketing career, but also let him meet like-minded friends.

These friends grew together with him both professionally and personally, and give each other advice in their current respective careers.

"I've seen and met many Curtin alumni who are doing well in their careers," said Mr Ng.

The key is to have the right attitude, an earnestness to learn, and not being afraid of getting your hands dirty. With these qualities, the opportunities are endless, advised Mr Ng.