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Degree Course A Stepping Stone To Dream Career

Joanne Chong standing next to a pushcart stall in the SIM campus

GETTING an education in Business Management is a stepping stone for many ambitious young people who have dreams of launching their own business and succeeding big time.

So says Joanne Chong, standing next to a pushcart stall in the SIM campus (picture above), selling dresses and accessories to fellow female students passing by, and promoting her online e-commerce site, known as The Glitz Closet.

The 22-year-old began her full-time SIM-RMIT Bachelor in Business Management in January 2015 that she regards as a “stepping stone which allows me to work towards my dream”. The programme includes modules such as marketing, Human Resource and many other business-related subjects. “The knowledge I gain would be invaluable, no matter what my future career turns out to be,” she adds.

Marketing is what she is currently interested in because she can apply its principles to her business now. “In every lesson I’ve attended, I was able to link what the lecturer was teaching to my online business. In addition, some of the lecturers even gave me ideas on managing my e-commerce, such as applying SEO (search engine optimisation) to make the site easier for people to search.”

Joanne must have been doing the right thing because in the first three months after launching the site, she sold three white Bustier Shiny Wedding Gowns. The gowns were inexpensive and in good quality. There are also chiffon evening maxi dresses with a variety of designs. The evening dresses come in elegant blue, pink, green and other solid eye-catching colours. A few have already been sold.

The design and style of the dresses are as attractive as what you find in boutiques. Besides gowns she also sells both casual and office wear and accessories, catering to young and working women.

As part of her marketing, Joanne also took part in bazaars and flea-marts. She took part in a Blog Shop Clearance Sale Bazaar in Suntec City recently. It was a two-day stall which allows her shop to gain more exposure. “Although the rental is reasonable, I did not achieve the result which I have expected. But I gained some valuable experience in how to promote my products.

“At the event I met an organiser from Liang Court mall who asked me to take part in the School Holiday Bazaar in September (2015). It looks like it’s going to be a busy happening with a big crowd! So definitely I will be there!”

Online and offline managing her store keeps Joanne busy. Fortunately her study programme enables her to arrange her own lessons, allowing her enough time to run her business.

Wiser Person

“In taking this degree programme I feel it will make me a wiser person. As a result of what I’ve learnt about management and organisations, I gain a greater understanding of organisational behavior and human relations,” she says.

“In the long term, I’m still searching for my lodestar. I’m searching for my ideal career or profession. My current e-commerce venture is a commitment for me to get a taste of how to run a business as I spend a lot of time trying different ways to improve my blog shop. All the marketing activities will be useful in my future enterprise. It is a trial-and-error experience to find the most effective method to do business.”

Being young, time is on her side, time enough to gain experience and knowledge, and discovering what the future holds.

Her priority now is to grow her online business. “The beginning stage is always the hardest but then I am remind of the old English proverb, ‘no pain no gain’. Thus, I’ve to put in more effort now in order to be successful later!”

She recalls an interesting experience during her Ngee Ann Poly days when she joined a Youth Expedition Programme.

Joanne teaches English and Mathematics to Primary School kids in Vietnam
Joanne teaches English and Mathematics to Primary School kids in Vietnam

“I had the chance to visit Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam, for 10 days. Our mission in this trip was to build a courtyard in a kindergarten. It was not easy for us as it was our first time carrying and moving bricks, mixing cement and transporting them using a wheelbarrow.

“The trip has let me experience some hardship and tough work, and made me treasure life in urban Singapore where everything is so clean and convenient. Over there in Vietnam, the walking distance from home to market for groceries take at least an hour. And when you arrived, you find the market comprised no more than a few vegetable or poultry sellers.

“We also have the opportunity to teach Primary School kids basic English and Mathematics.”

Joanne also took part in a study trip to Tianjin, China, also organised by the Polytechnic. “We went for five weeks and learnt about China’s cultures listening to class presentations by China lecturers. We also climbed the Great Wall and learn to practise tai-ji movements.”

— Posted online, 24 August 2015