NTU 'regrets' holding career fair aimed at top-performing students

Nanyang Technological University in September 2018 held a career fair which students said exclusively targeted those from scholar programmes or with a minimum grade point average of 3.75 out of 5. PHOTO: INFOCOMM MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY/TWITTER

SINGAPORE - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) says it "regrets" holding a career fair last month aimed at top-performing students, adding that it will open the event to the entire graduating cohort next year.

Regardless of grades, students will be allowed to submit their resumes on a website for employers taking part in an NTUtopia career fair next year to consider in advance.

The employers will then draw up a shortlist of students to be invited to the event.

NTU says this is a change in format of the event last month, in which the school did the shortlisting of about 3,600 invited students or 60 per cent of the graduating cohort based on academic results and co-curricular activity records.

Some students told The Straits Times, which broke the story on Sunday (Oct 7), that the event had exclusively targeted those from scholar programmes or with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.75 out of 5.

The criteria sparked an outcry among students - including those invited to the event - calling it unfair to limit participation based on grades.

In a statement on Monday (Oct 8), Professor Tan Ooi Kiang, NTU's associate provost (undergraduate education), said: "We regret that students in the graduating class were selectively invited to NTUtopia...

"We acknowledge that by making NTUtopia selective on the basis of academic achievements and co-curricular activity records, it may have sent an unintended message about employability factors."

He said that by the end of this month, all NTU graduating students will be invited to upload their resumes on a website that major employers, including the 45 that participated in NTUtopia, can access.

This means students who missed out on last month's NTUtopia can be considered by the participating employers.

On the submission of resumes for employers to consider before a career fair, Prof Tan said this approach was also used by employers during the NTUtopia.

He said: "Moving forward, NTU will encourage employers to look at a broader set of criteria, such as co-curricular activity involvement and leadership, internship experience and overseas exposure.

"The university will also strengthen its efforts to assist students to build resumes that will help them stand out and better compete in the job market."

The next NTU Career Fair, which is open to all students, will be held on Feb 12, 15 and 19 next year. It is expected to be attended by more than 280 companies.

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