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The Truth about being a BIZCOM DDP student in NUS: Celesse’s perspective

Introducing Celesse, a year 4 Information Systems student and specialising in digital innovation. She was in IS-BIZ DDP for her first 3 years in university before officially dropping out of the program before year 4 sem 1. Upon graduation, she would be joining DSO as a full time software engineer.

For context, please read the prelude of this series first.

Why did she choose to take BIZCOM DDP?

  • Initially, she wanted to craft a career focused on marketing games. As such, she believed that IS would equip her with skills for game design and development (which turned out to be a focus area for CS instead) and BIZ would equip her with marketing skills via the marketing specialisation.
  • Applying for DDP was also easy as it was merely a checkbox in the course application form
  • She also felt that IS-BIZ DDP would be a resume booster, which would increase her employability level.

What expectations did she have of BIZCOM DDP initially?

  • Workload would be manageable as she would be taking 1 to 2 modules more than a single degree student every semester.
  • It would be fun to be a student in both faculties and one can make more friends and enjoy the facilities from both schools.
  • The DDP program was flexible in that one can drop out from the program whenever desired.
  • As DDP students are expected to be independent and take ownership of their academics, she thought that there would be little help from faculty staff for DDP students with regards to any academic queries.

How far did her actual journey in BIZCOM DDP aligned with her expectations?

  • Regarding workload, she found the workload generally manageable as she could manage her time well enough to complete school work.
  • On top of that, she was able to find time for non-academic activities such as going for CCAs (Archery, Aikido), organising Project Hak, which was an Overseas Community Involvement Programme (OCIP), playing computer games and exercise. On average, she could spend 20 hours on these activities during the semester.
  • Being a student in both computing and business, she did get to explore both schools’ facilities across a longer period of time than single degree students. Indeed, the BIZ1 building was newer than the COM buildings.
  • However, as time passed, she didn’t manage to make many friends from Business school. As business students would be pre-allocated modules in their first few semesters and DDP students would progress slower, it was harder for her to take the same modules as her peers at the same time. As a result, it was harder to forge and maintain friendships.
  • On the bright side, she realised that the faculty staff for DDP students were actually very helpful as they had tended to her queries in a timely manner regarding ModReg, academic curriculum details, and dropping IS-BIZ DDP.

What does she think are some benefits or enjoyable aspects of BIZCOM DDP?

  • BIZCOM DDP gives students the flexibility to take a multitude of modules at their own pace, which can be helpful if one is unsure of what to study when they enter university.
  • You can enjoy both school’s facilities, such as study pods in BIZ1 and free printing quota for A4 paper (in black and white) in COM.
  • Being a DDP student gives you priority for module allocation.

What struggles did she face throughout her academic journey and how did she overcome them?

Struggle 1: Adapting to university life

  • In her first academic year, the main challenge she faced was adapting to university life while managing so many modules. Her timetable was very packed and she had no free days, leaving her with barely any time to socialise as well.
  • She overcame this challenge by avoiding putting classes back to back and ensuring that she has sufficient break time in between classes.
  • She also strives to finish her academic work during the weekdays so that she can have free time during the weekends.
  • Besides that, due to classes being shifted online due to the pandemic, she could save more time on commuting and that gave her more time for studying.

Struggle 2: Doing well for business modules

  • Despite being able to manage her academic workload, she struggled to do well for her business modules because she could not grasp the concepts well within the time span of a semester.
  • Coupled with having only made a few friends in business, she was also afraid to reach out to professors for help, which made it more difficult for her to excel in her business classes. The element of class participation in business classes was also too intense for her.
  • As time passed, she knew that business was not a good fit for her and thus did not plan her modules for her secondary degree. Eventually, she decided to exit from the BIZCOM DPP and drop her business degree before year 4 sem 1.

Struggle 3: Finding project groups

  • She also struggled with forming projects groups in business school as she did not have many friends there. This was hard for her because she preferred to work with people she was familiar with.
  • As a result, she would typically rely on random grouping or talk to people sitting next to her to form project groups with them.

Struggle 4: Module planning

  • One constant struggle she faced in earlier years was deciding which modules to take beyond the core modules, as well as planning when to take those modules.
  • To better decide what modules to take, she would ask around her peers and seniors for feedback regarding modules to make a more informed decision on which modules would suit her interest and capability.

Why did she choose to drop IS-BIZ DDP to pursue only IS?

  • The main trigger for her decision was her job offer from DSO in May 2021 (end of Year 3 Sem 2). She felt that it was pointless to continue pursuing her business degree. Instead, she went on to take UE modules that she was interested in, namely language courses.
  • However, the root cause would be her self-awareness that business was not a good fit for her based on how badly she was doing, grades wise.

If she were to rewind time, would she have applied for BIZCOM DDP?

  • Yes, because it was interesting to explore the business modules as a business student. If one were to take the business modules as UE, they would be taking the module with non-business majors.
  • DDP was a great option to let her try out different modules and learn different things, without having to spend too much time researching or deciding what modules to take next.
  • Good opportunity to meet more people and try out more modules

Her tips for students who are in their first or second year of DDP, or deciding whether to take up BIZCOM DDP:

  • Don’t be afraid of the higher workload, believe in your own capability.
  • Be more open-minded to meeting new people and experience modules in both faculties. For instance, business classes are usually seminar style while computing classes are usually structured into lectures, tutorials and labs.
  • If all else fails, know that exiting is easy. Just write in to your home faculty office.

You can connect with Celesse via LinkedIn :D

Read the next article: Joel’s perspective

This article is part of the series: “The Truth about being a BIZCOM DDP student in NUS”. Through this series, we explore the academic journeys of five students who are or were enrolled in BIZCOM DDP. We hope that this series would benefit BIZCOM DDP students in their junior years and prospective university students.

Want to read another article in this series? Visit the full list here.

Note: The articles in this series are not commissioned by NUS in any way. The interviewees were given the freedom to express themselves to their own comfortable extent, and I seek that the audience respect everyone’s point of view. Feel free to give the articles a “clap” and share them if you found them useful. Thank you very much.

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