- Student Life
The Entrepreneurship Exchange Program: Studying and a Start-Up in Singapore
Nico Schlosser, Bachelor student at the TUM School of Management spent his fifth semester in Singapore, where he gained valuable work experience at a start-up and was able to expand his theoretical knowledge on entrepreneurship and innovation. We spoke to him about his experiences with the Entrepreneurial Exchange Program (EEP), one of the Joint International Programs of the TUM School of Management.
Nico, could you shortly introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Nico, I am 20 years old and I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor in Management & Technology at the TUM School of Management. During my fifth semester, I took part in the Entrepreneurship Exchange Program (EEP) from August to December 2019.
What is the Entrepreneurship Exchange Program and why did you decide to apply?
The Entrepreneurship Exchange Program is an exchange program offered to students of the TUM School of Management by TUM in collaboration with the NUS Overseas Colleges. As part of the program, students get to study at the National University of Singapore, where they can enroll for up to two modules. These modules all deal with the topics entrepreneurship and innovation. Additionally, participants of the program will work in a Singaporean start-up for around five months. The program is designed for students who show a big interest in innovation, new business ideas, start-ups and more. Since having the first entrepreneurship course during my studies, I have dived deeper into the “startup world” by reading and learning about new startups and innovative ideas. Once I heard about the program and its combination of getting first-hand experience and gaining more knowledge through entrepreneurship courses, I was therefore very eager to apply.
Can you explain the process from application to actually flying to Singapore?
Usually the application deadline is around the December 1st for the following fall semester and the spring semester after that. My written application fit the requirements of the program, which is why I was invited to a personal interview to convince the program managers that I was a match to the program. Once accepted, I had to take care of things like my flight to Singapore, my visa, internship and accommodation. For the last three to-dos, the program offers good support, meaning that you will get sufficient information about what to do to get the visa you need, the internship positions that you can apply to, and the opportunity to get on-campus housing.
The program consists of both an internship at a start-up company in Singapore and courses on entrepreneurship at NUS. What was your work experience like and how did the studies complement the internship?
I liked my internship a lot, because I worked at a start-up with a really nice team and an exciting business idea. I do think that working at a start-up in general is a great thing, because you will get very interesting tasks and actually be given quite a lot of responsibility, considering that in more traditional companies you would have to have a higher rank to get such tasks. In my case, from Day 1 I got to work on important tasks and work together with the team on challenges that the start-up was facing, whereby I gained a lot of knowledge and work practice that will help me in my professional future.
One compulsory course every participant of the Entrepreneurship Exchange Program takes at university, is writing a case study about a key challenge that their start-up has overcome, or is currently working on. By writing this case study and collecting information for it, I got further insights into the company and the challenges faced by the start-up. That was quite insightful in my case. Other courses one can take are mostly not directly connected to the internship. I for example took the course “New Venture Creation”, which was about the development of a business idea and ways to get funding in order to realize that idea.
How did you like living in Singapore?
Living in a big foreign city was very new for me, and a great experience. Singapore has nice tourist attractions to offer, which is very cool, and although during the semester one gets quite busy with the internship and the studies, I also had time to explore some more unknown places of Singapore and get to know the city beyond the tourist side. There were also many other exchangers and local students I could connect with and plan activities together. It was a very eventful and nice couple of months!
Overall, what did you personally like best? What are your Top 3 experiences from your time abroad?
What I liked best from all the experiences during the program was actually that I gained so much knowledge, experience and confidence in my capabilities from completing the internship. I think what I liked there too, was being able to apply the knowledge that I have been studying in theory at the TUM School of Management in the real world.
What I also consider a top experience was to get to know many other students from all over the world, and spending time with them. I also joined two sports teams at university during the semester, where I met many local students. Additionally, I joined events organized by room neighbors, students and the NUS Overseas College every week, so there was always something going on.
One particular experience I really liked as well was, when “my” start-up was exhibiting at a big international event. There I had the chance to represent the start-up, talk to potential investors and clients and join very interesting talks and discussions.
Want to know more about the program? Visit: https://www.wi.tum.de/student-life/joint-international-programs/. Questions? Reach out to the International Office of TUM School of Management: firstname.lastname@example.org or join their upcoming information session via ZOOM (passcode: 585227) on November 17th at 4:00 PM. Applications for all Joint International Programs are open until December, 7th!
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