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

Andrea Makoto
Published in
7 min readMar 2, 2022


Introducing Zhong Jun, a Year 4 CS-BIZ DDP student, who transferred from IS-BIZ in year 1. His focus area for CS is database systems, while his BIZ specialisation is supply chain management. He expects to graduate in May 2023 and intends to be a software engineer, preferably working on backend or database systems.

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

Why did he choose to take BIZCOM DDP?

  • His original intention was to take either CS-BIZ DDP or IS alone as he thought that IS was simply a condensed version of CS-BIZ. (However, this is far from the truth.)
  • Back then, when applying for university, he had misunderstood the course application form, as the application for a DDP is a separate section from the single course selection section. The misunderstanding was that the order of preference for the DDP would have a higher priority compared to the selection in the single degree section. Instead, the application is processed based on the single degree course first, then the DDP is added later.

What expectations did he have of BIZCOM DDP initially?

  • BIZCOM DDP would equip him with both business knowledge and technical knowhow, hence allowing him to act as a bridge between CS and business professionals.
  • Higher workload, because there were close to twice the number of modules to study as compared to a single degree program.
  • Need to overload for some semesters
  • Since DDP is a 5 years program, he needed to be mentally prepared to graduate 1 year later than his peers from the same batch.
  • Required to juggle commitments well (due to higher academic workload)

How far has his actual journey in BIZCOM DDP aligned with his expectations?

  • There was a lack of alignment with regards to learning outcomes because there were no modules focused on teaching DDP students how to link the 2 domains (IS/CS with BIZ/ACC) together.
  • In reality, the 2 domains were learnt separately and students had to bridge the gap on their own. This means that the cross-disciplinary aspect was self-taught and intrinsic.
  • The actual workload and time commitment was as high as expected. He overloaded and took 24–26 MCs for 4 semesters (as opposed to the usual 20 MCs), took a total of 12 MCs worth of special term modules and another 12 MCs of internship over 2 summer breaks.

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

  • The workload for each semester can be balanced in terms of rigour and skills required to excel for respective modules. In a typical semester for a BIZCOM DDP student, you can take only 2–3 technical modules, alongside 2–3 business modules, as compared to 4–5 technical or business modules for a single degree student.
  • As most computing modules require extensive coding and development work, you can also take business modules that are not as intensive and practise other skills such as report writing and presentation to balance out the workload.
  • On the other hand, most business classes have a high weightage in class participation. Thus, if you are not comfortable with actively speaking in class all the time, computing modules can let you take a break from the intense class participation environment.
  • As a DDP student, you can take a (more) diverse range of modules and thus explore multiple things at the same time every semester and be exposed to different domains across industries.
  • If you are unsure of whether you want to craft your career in the computing or business domain, BIZCOM DDP gives you the option to explore both sides continuously for an extended period of time. You can then make a more informed decision, rather than basing on your assumptions of either side.

What struggles did he face throughout his academic journey and how did he overcome them?

Struggle 1: Progressing alongside peers in the same batch

  • Due to the nature of concurrently taking modules from both schools, he progressed slower for each degree, as compared to single degree students. As a result, it was hard for him to continuously take the same modules with the people he befriended in class due to either timetable clashes or prerequisite requirements he had not met yet.
  • To overcome this struggle, he befriended people who matriculated a year later, and would hence graduate in the same year as him. Eventually, those juniors would catch up with his degree progress and he would have a new set of friends who would walk the later half of his DDP journey with him.

Struggle 2: Taking modules alone

  • Often, he would end up taking a lot of modules alone, due to how every DDP student’s path is unique as there are so many possible paths. This can be tough at times as it can be quite intimidating to take modules alone without social support.
  • To manage this challenge, he would find out more about the module from seniors who have taken the module before and read online module reviews so that he can know what to expect of the module.
  • Besides that, he grew to be comfortable with taking modules alone and would strive to make new friends for each class.

Struggle 3: Tradeoffs from a higher academic workload

  • He did not have a lot of spare time to do side projects or participate in events that can help to boost one’s resume and portfolio. This was due to every DDP’s student’s need to spend time on modules from another degree, be it individual work or project meetings.
  • In comparison, he felt that his peers were doing more beyond academic achievements to build their portfolio, which can open more doors for them career wise, beyond what DDP can.

Struggle 4: Maintaining a social life

  • “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. To join CCAs and have a social life, he had to make sacrifices as it is not easy to have good grades, sufficient sleep and a (fruitful) social life.
  • In his first 2 years, he would sacrifice sleep to participate in his CCA, commIT, and then study for a bit after he headed home late at night.
  • However, he chose to leave his CCA in year 3 as his focus shifted to honing his computer science skills and finding a job upon graduation. Following that, he could utilise the free time to work on his personal projects and practise solving leetcode problems in preparation for technical interviews.
  • From this journey, he learnt that it was important to know your priorities and pick your battles wisely.

Why did he change course to CS-BIZ DDP?

  • Taking CS-BIZ was his original intent from the get-go and therefore it was logical for him to make the transfer in his first year.

As of now, why does he still continue to pursue the DDP route?

  • Sunk Cost Fallacy — since he is already in his 4th year, he might as well finish the programme and get to the end point.
  • Besides that, he is also interested in both computer science and supply chain management, so BIZCOM DDP allows him to learn about both with adequate breadth and depth.

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

  • No, because his goal is to become a software engineer.
  • Compared to a pure CS major, being a BIZCOM DDP student does not make a lot of difference to his employability in the software engineering world. Furthermore, a CS major would be able to graduate faster and secure a job earlier.
  • If one is really keen to learn the business side of things, but intends to work in a technical field, they can choose to take up a Masters in Business Administration in the future, which is of a higher qualification.
  • He also finds it more beneficial to focus on being good in a specific domain first. In the workplace, one can tap on opportunities from external sources or professional development courses offered by employers to grow their knowledge in other fields.

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

  • Be very sure that you want to do a career that requires this BIZCOM DDP qualification. One example would be the fintech industry.
  • But, if you want to be the next Google software engineer, DDP may hold you back in terms of time and workload commitment.
  • For first year students, it would be worth it to look at potential modules you want to take and evaluate whether it is worth it to continue DDP. Find out what you prefer doing and hone yourself in one focus area.
  • Companies may not know where to fit you if you are neither here nor there because they are looking at how much value you can bring to a company and that goes beyond your ability to manage the rigour of DDP.
  • For second year students, learn to make the most out of the journey if you choose to continue DDP. Become comfortable with the mixture of modules, but still focus your efforts on the side that you want to do well in.

You can connect with Zhong Jun via LinkedIn and check out his module reviews here :D

Read the next article: Celesse’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.