Nguyen Kieu, aka Alyssa (BBA 2018), from Vietnam reminisces about her incredible journey with SP Jain Global. From adjusting to different countries and making friends to pulling all-nighters for projects and assignment submissions, her SP Jain journey was truly one-of-a-kind. Let's find out how this experience helped her land highly-coveted internships and job placements at top companies like TESO, Flywire, Publicis Vietnam, and ClickOn.
Q. What have been your top achievements at SP Jain?
Alyssa: I was a one-time Dean's lister which helped me realise that when I put my mind to something (which I usually don't, haha!) I can achieve my goals, just like everybody else.
I also gained some incredible industry experience in this journey. During my first year at SP Jain in Singapore, I interned as a Customer Success Intern at a fintech, Flywire. My first big corporate experience helped me learn a lot about the professional working landscape, and the experience helped shape my future career path goal.
In my second year at SPJ, I studied in Dubai and interned at TESO, a digital solutions start-up in Vietnam which enlightened me about the fast-pacing and high-performing start-up environment.
In my third year, I took online classes due to COVID-19 and interned at Publicis Vietnam, a global advertising agency, and learned about the holistic working environment in a Big 4 company.
Q. You shared a classroom with peers from many different countries. What was this experience like?
Alyssa: It may sound unbelievable, but it took me four months to completely adjust my hearing to so many different accents. I loved being constantly surprised by how many POVs could be there in a classroom on a single topic, and I loved it when there was not always a right answer.
The making-friends process took me a while before I could finally break out of my comfort zone and build connections outside my origin. Now, I have so many friends from every corner of the world. I am excited to visit India by the end of this year, which I had never thought I would, to attend a close friend's wedding!
Q. What are the standout memories from your UG journey?
Alyssa: It is so incredibly hard to pick the most memorable memory out of four years of fun. However, I would go with the Overseas Community Project 2019 called UMAYUDA in the Philippines (shoutout to the best girl Patricia for organising it!). We helped build a library and organise events for the kids at a primary school and a kindergarten in a remote area.
I'd probably always remember this little boy who wrote he wanted to be the hero of the Philippines when we asked the kids to write their wishes for the future. My friends and I had an amazing time enjoying Manila and snorkelling on our way through the Philippines' beautiful beaches and islands. What made this experience so special in my heart is that my 19th birthday fell during the trip and everyone threw me a surprise party. I believe nothing will top this memory.
Q. You studied on three international campuses for your undergraduate journey. What was this experience like?
Alyssa: Singapore was my first time away from home that long and that far. The year was lively with a ton of schoolwork and stressful projects (it was my first time dealing with them, and I didn't know exactly how things worked) and sleepless nights at Clarke Quay (if you know, you know). This country is full of opportunities and very international students-friendly in terms of internships. So, it was definitely a good start in my global journey.
Moving, I could only explore Dubai for a short time due to the pandemic. However, I tried to make the most out of it and also had a chance to meet Cristiano Ronaldo while volunteering at the Globe Soccer Awards 2019 (another opportunity organised by SPJ)! Out of the three countries, I especially loved the GL trips in this country the most, with so many theme parks and desert memories. When COVID-19 hit, I appreciated how accommodating the college was in swiftly shifting the whole operation process to an online approach.
I regret spending such little time in college, barely four-month time to complete my degree. Nevertheless, the experience was short yet sweet, with me finally meeting all my friends and favourite professors, going on trips with them for GL, and a beautiful, long-awaited graduation to end my fantastic journey on a happy note. Later, the interview workshop organised by SP Jain aided my postgraduation job hunt journey, which proved to be of great benefit to me.
Q. Who were your favourite professors, and what did you learn from them?
Alyssa: It is another really difficult question to answer. But for me, Professor Mo Kader is none like others. Those who paid attention to him might have realised he taught more than just the course curriculum. His impeccable storytelling skills in delivering important points and keeping them concise are my most valuable takeaways from his classes. He is the kind of professor who would connect with students on an emotional level while understanding their struggles. Prof. Mo is the best ally you need in your job hunt postgraduate.
Q. Recalling your Orientation Day in 2018, what transformations have you and your close ones noticed in you?
Alyssa: It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that SP Jain has drastically changed me for the better. Both good and bad experiences helped shape me into who I am today. The global program exposed me to many differences in terms of people, mindsets, and working environments. They were overwhelming at first, but I could slowly learn to embrace them all, keep my mind open and remain happy with my inner peace. It was a weird process, but I'm thankful for every encounter, considering the human connections and career growth opportunities SPJ has offered.
Q. What are the opportunities that SP Jain opened up for you?
Alyssa: I am grateful to SPJ for helping me apply successfully for my internships, including Flywire and Publicis Vietnam, during my undergraduate program. SP Jain is Flywire's client, so the school referred the organisation to me. Meanwhile, for Publicis Vietnam, my CV was outstanding compared to the other applicants as the Client Managing Director recognised SP Jain as a high-reputation college in his country.
Moreover, my first full-time postgraduate job at a digital agency, ClickedOn, also introduced by SP Jain, was the cherry on top, thanks to an alumnus working with the company.
The CEO of ClickedOn is extremely happy with the work SP Jain alumni bring to the company, so when new vacancies arose, he was keen on investing in more SPJ graduates. In a way, the SP Jain brand I had in my CV is what gave me his opportunity.
Want to learn how SPJ alumni are making a difference around the globe? Check out the stories from our top alumni here.