Sandy Koh (Singapore), International Business, 2015
Why did you choose to study at KMS?
I had developed an interest in international business over the years and I felt it was time to make a career change. I was also excited about fulfilling my lifelong dream of attaining a University degree as circumstances did not allow me that opportunity when I was young. Getting a relevant degree was also crucial to helping me make the first vital step towards a new career. I wanted to study in UK for a few reasons. Firstly, I have been here for two years on a working holiday visa before and thus there is an endearing familiarity. Secondly, as an educator, I knew the English tertiary education style suited me far better than my local universities, and that I would never have flourished the way I did if I had studied locally. Lastly, what better way to understand international business than to study it internationally? I already knew how things mostly worked in Singapore, so I really wanted to see things from a different cultural and geographical perspective. KMS was one of my UCAS choices partly because of its improving performance and student satisfaction survey in the past years, the competitive tuition fees and regional living costs, the gorgeous campus away from the hustle bustle of a city that I dislike, and the type of courses, modules and electives offered. As a mature international applicant at 32, who unfortunately did not ace her GCE 'O' Levels (even though she later attained 2 diplomas and taught for 8 years), I found it very difficult to be accepted by most Universities and only Keele University gave me an unconditional offer out of my 5 choices. I am ever so grateful that Keele offered me that olive branch to prove myself. And so I became a part of KMS and never looked back.
What did you enjoy the most about studying at KMS?
I came to KMS burning with curiosity and full of anticipation. For example, I wanted to know how small local businesses fit on the global stage, how MNCs worked, and most importantly, learn all that I could learn so that I can hopefully start my own business in the future. I am happy to say that these feelings did not disappear or diminish over the 3 years. The lessons conducted in KMS were mostly conducted in an engaging, constructive and thought-evoking and students are encouraged to participate, to challenge the norms and to think critically. Module leaders and lecturers are very well-prepared, organised, knowledgeable, passionate about their craft and yes, even humorous! I am truly grateful to them, I would not have done as well as I did on books alone. At the end of my 3 years at KMS, I feel that I have truly learned and that I leave with an even wider perspective, a wealth of knowledge and the humble realisation that I still don't know so much more!
If you are not from the UK what was it like studying at KMS as an international student?
Admittedly, it was my second time living in England and so I did not face the same kind of challenges as some other international students may face. I would say that the lecturers are always ready to offer any additional guidance for international students especially if language was a problem. In Keele itself, there were plenty of cultural societies to help an international student feel at home. Personally, I found being an international student was an advantage because I could compare and relate my learning with another geographical culture, which I felt helped to improve my assimilation and synthesis of information.
What are your plans for the future?
Build a successful new career and start my own business at some point.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying at KMS?
KMS and the rest of Keele University provide you with all the resources and opportunities to challenge your status quo and develop your true potential. KMS is also young in comparison to some other Management schools and this is good, because there is a dynamic vibrancy in KMS with the youthful forge ahead to keep changing and improving as opposed to being set in its ways. Whether you do well or not ultimately depends on you, but there is no reason why you cannot excel in KMS.
Sandy graduated in July 2015 and was awarded Management Student of the Year 2015.