In the second of this year’s Why HKUST? series of interviews, two students and a graduate from the Philippines detail how the University’s cross-disciplinary education approach enabled them to design their own curriculum. In doing so, all three were empowered to take measurable strides forward in their personal and professional development.
Charting your own course
Multi-talented candidates are more competitive now, so I found HKUST’s interdisciplinary learning is particularly attractive, says Clyde.
A top student from Manila, Clyde ANG, won a scholarship to HKUST four years ago. His time here was an unqualified success and saw him earn First Class Honors and an HKUST Academic Achievement Medal with a double major in Data Science & Technology and Computer Science. Clyde says HKUST’s world-class cross-disciplinary education offers a level of flexibility very rare in Asian universities and is an ideal launchpad for future career success.
“Multi-talented candidates are more competitive in the job market, and I was attracted to HKUST’s pioneering interdisciplinary learning. That’s the key reason I decided to study here,” Clyde says.
“The fact that my degree is co-offered by the University’s Science and Engineering schools also allowed me to study courses in both mathematics and computer science. My decision ultimately played a major role in securing me first an internship and eventually a job in mathematical finance and technology,” says Clyde, now a quantitative trader at a global proprietary trading firm, which requires knowledge and skills in finance, mathematics and computer programming.
Clyde appreciates the scope his program has given him to tailor the study path that best reflects both his current interests and future career needs. To open up further avenues, he also seized the chance to gain early research experience via the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
“My courses spanned everything from calculus and statistics in math to algorithms and data structure in computer science. As a result, I was perfectly placed to use my prior knowledge of each topic to advance in different fields. My data science studies also opened up opportunities to work with real-life data-based initiatives. For example, my UROP and course projects let me harvest new insights by implementing or continuing to research my own modelling in actual datasets.”
Set to open in September 2022, HKUST(GZ) is a smart campus whose cross-disciplinary platform will measurably expand student resources and opportunities by enabling them to prototype their ideas.
Students can design a curriculum that mirrors their own research interests, says Joy.
Joy CRUZ is one of the first students to earn a place on HKUST(GZ)’s Pilot Scheme and is now in her third year of studying for a PhD in Public Policy. Joy is impressed by how the breadth and depth of research faculty expertise nurtures the independent, interdisciplinary, and innovative thinking on which successful research careers are built.
“The program allows students to design a curriculum that mirrors their own research interests in areas such as science, sustainability and social change. As all specializations ultimately touch on key areas of public policy, courses also encourage participants to build their strengths while levelling up,” says Joy.
This February, Joy embarked on a six-month research attachment with a sociologist cum survey methodologist in the Netherlands’ Erasmus University Rotterdam .
“As a demographer by training, I was thrilled to be able to branch out into public policy. In addition to covering demography and public policy, HKUST’s research is very interdisciplinary so I’m now also collaborating with sociologists and survey methodologists for my research project which examines the use of online surveys in policy formulation.”
An internship even Covid-19 couldn’t stop
Pioneering cross-disciplinary programs were one reason third year Global Business (GBUS) and Finance Program undergraduate Neil SY says he chose HKUST. Other motivating factors included the city’s status as a global financial center, the University’s consistently impressive global rankings, and our alumni’s prestigious international standing. Since coming here, Neil has also benefited from the wide selection of internship opportunities and industry exposure open to HKUST students.
“Many enrichment events such as case competitions and internship programs were not interrupted by the pandemic and these experiences greatly benefitted my business acumen and analytical skills.”
Making friends from different cultures has given me a level of global exposure that I couldn't have experienced in the Philippines, says Neil.
Neil also appreciates how being based on such an inclusive and internationally diverse campus has boosted his networking opportunities and interpersonal skills.
“Making friends from different cultures has given me a level of global exposure I’d never have experienced had I stayed home and studied in the Philippines.” He is also happy to have learned a new language here. “My newfound Putonghua has broadened my fintech career horizons in both Hong Kong and the Mainland.”
To learn more about how HKUST’s programs and resources will enable you to unlock your full potential, please click the link and watch our admission talk video.