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The Best Decision of My Undergraduate Journey So Far

Singapore-based current student Genia Ong Yi Zhen on a memorable and eye-opening study experience at LSE Summer School

Genia Ong Yi Zhen pictured outside LSE's New Academic Building
Genia Ong Yi Zhen pictured outside LSE's New Academic Building

In my first year of BSc Business and Management degree studies with Singapore Institute of Management, University of London (SIM-UOL), I got to know of Summer Schools and the advantages of going to one. There is a myriad of reasons for studying abroad, for me. I went with the goal to accumulate experience and knowledge related to global competency and to prepare myself for my career. I have attended several information sessions by various partner universities of Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). Coincidentally, for the year 2016, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) expanded their summer programme by having Session Three, which fit perfectly into my schedule. Thus, LSE Summer School came to be the natural and ideal choice for me. Being able to attend a prestigious university such as LSE in my first year as an undergraduate was a tremendous privilege for me.

The fact that it was my first experience in London made the trip truly remarkable and memorable. While at LSE, I studied Strategic Management. This course is especially meaningful and intriguing for me as it covers key concepts and theories, through both lectures and tutorials, and sheds light on how these principles can be applied to actual business situations and has great relevance to my undergraduate major which is Business and Management.

Genia Ong Yi Zhen pictured outside LSE's New Academic Building

I was very fortunate to have mentors hailing from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and LSE to guide me through this course. In both lectures and tutorials, my lecturers often presented the opportunity to relate concepts and theories with real life case studies. The choice of examples used to elaborate the concepts came from prominent companies all over the world, which helped broaden my horizon and improve my understanding of these theories. For example, my tutor, Dr Nadia Millington, used interactive games to provide us with a better understanding for the case study on the concentrate industry, Coke and Pepsi. This is especially important for Strategic Management, which has theories that are very subjective to the context of the environment and type of industry companies are in.

During lectures and tutorial classes, my mentors often encouraged group discussions by providing case studies to analyse and discuss among students. In addition, students were divided into small groups for a project and a presentation conducted at the end of the course. This provided opportunities for students to be active in learning and promoted interaction with their classmates from around the world. My coursemates consisted of working adults, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and such a diverse environment allowed me to work and learn from peers with various backgrounds. During discussions, everyone provided different perspectives and insights. It was truly eye-opening to understand how my peers from different countries viewed the same case through a different lens.

Furthermore, as I intend to take Strategy for my upcoming academic year, having the experience and knowledge from Strategic Management under my belt definitely provided me with a head start on understanding the course. I strongly recommend individuals who are interested in consultancy and entrepreneurship to consider going to LSE Summer School’s Strategic Management, as it provides insights into the realm of decision-making and innovation which will be of paramount importance in these areas.

Aside from the academic aspect, both my lecturers and tutors were extremely helpful and willing to go the extra mile for us. They shared their emails with us and told us to contact them for any enquiries and often stayed back after class to answer questions. This experience has given me great insights into LSE’s culture, the standards expected of students, and more importantly the level of dedication of educators from the university. My lecturers, Dr Lourdes Sosa and Dr Catherine Thomas, as well as my tutor Dr Nadia Millington, were highly supportive and helpful in sharing LSE’s application process with us. This entire experience has been encouraging and strongly motivated me to continue pursuing my goal of attaining a postgraduate degree. Students who are keen in furthering their education are recommended to attend LSE Summer School to better understand the institution and the learning environment.

Genia Ong Yi Zhen pictured outside LSE's New Academic Building

Throughout the summer programme, LSE organised various social programmes for students to enhance their experience with the school. During my break between lectures and tutorials, or after my lessons, I attended social programmes held in the school such as 'Curriculum Vitae (CV) Workshop', 'Master's and Study Abroad Information Session' and 'Wellbeing workshops on the topic of Interview Nerves'. These social programmes helped me in terms of both my future academic plans and preparing me for the workforce.

Two of my greatest takeaways from this course were the people I met, including my classmates and mentors, as well as the set of analytical skills that the lecturers and tutors have imparted.

In summary, this three weeks gave me great insights and provided me with skills that are very applicable in real life. I also got a true taste of LSE's international culture and London’s cosmopolitan environment, the School and City that I fell in love with. LSE Summer School will definitely be one of the main highlights from my undergraduate journey.

Extracted from London Connection, 11 October 2016