Thursday, July 31, 2014

The MetroDBITan student series: Issue #034 - Elliot Chu

Yo folks!

I do apologise for the lack of activity on our blog this month as I have been very sickly for the last few weeks.  Health is getting better now, so I hope I can be more active again and share with you more updates about the happenings in the DBIT course and have more features on our lovely DBIT students :)

To start off the wave of updates to come, I have interviewed our Year 1 student, Elliot Chu!

When I first approached Elliot for the interview, he was surprised and asked me, "Why did you decide to feature me, Ms Dora?".  If you have the same question on your mind, here's the answer.  I chose to feature him because I want to share with you some good news about him. Elliot has made our DBIT course and his parents very proud by being awarded with the IDA Integrated Infocomm Scholarship (IIS)! Congrats Elliot on your achievement! :)

Besides doing himself, his parents and us proud, Ellio has definitely brought much pride to his alma mater as well. Elliot is an alumni from Holy Innocents.  In fact, he spent a total of 10 years with Holy Innocents as his primary school is Holy Innocents Primary School while his secondary school is Holy Innocents High!

How was his Primary School days like?

Elliot recalls that his days in  Holy Innocents’ Primary School was very smooth sailing as he did well in his studies then.  Well, almost all.  His only concern then was Chinese Language, as his results for the subject were below average.

Badminton was one of his favorite sports back then. He often stayed back to play badminton with a small clique of 4 other friends who also enjoyed the game like him.

For CCA, he joined surprise, the IT Club! His duties include setting up the National Anthem and School Song for morning assemblies and handling IT related matters during school events. The club also taught him simple robotics and he was about Primary 5 when he started participating in various competitions.

How was his Secondary School days like?

Elliot shared that his secondary school life was one of the toughest times of his life. For the first two years, he was a “Follow the Flow” type of person. Having passing grades were of no concern to him and he only tried when he had no choice but to do so.

However, towards the start of his third year, things started to look gloomy for him.  Separated from his Secondary 1 and 2 classmates and put into a new class, he had to make new friends.  He was one of the worst performing students in his class.  He could hardly absorb what was taught in class, and did not bother to study or prepare for lessons.  He often relied on his classmates sitting beside him to help him with his schoolwork.

Fortunately, Elliot had teachers who were very passionate and never gave up on him.  His teachers got him to stay back in school for remedial lessons. Slowly, he started to show signs of improvements which made him feel good.  His friends and teachers gave him constant encouragement, and by the time he was due to take the GCE O Level exams, his grades had improved to a level that was above average!

In fact, he did very well for his 'O' level exams. Not only did he qualify to get into SP with his good results, he also managed to secure a scholarship -- the prestigious IIS (Integrated Infocomm Scholarship) awarded by IDA.

Why did he choose the Diploma in Business Information Technology course?

Here's Elliot's answer:

"Most people would say it's because it has both Business and IT in it.  This answer is very similar to mine. However, I want to add that I joined because I want to learn more about how IT can help a business as it is now a growing trend for most businesses. I want to be well-versed in this field so that I can step into the working world well-prepared."

How did he feel when he knew he was awarded the IDA scholarship?

"Elated. I never expected that I would be able to secure the scholarship as I did not get perfect grades. The whole process of applying, being shortlisted and going for the interviews for this scholarship was definitely an eye opener for me, even if I was not awarded, or so I thought. Being awarded the IIS Scholarship made me feel like I have chalked up some sort of achievement."

What are his likes?

One of Elliot's hobbies is to collect soft toys. He has all kinds of soft toys, below is a photo of some of them!

He also enjoys watching detective movies as he finds it very thrilling to see how a criminal first manages to escape and then finally get caught with the brilliant investigative work done by the detective.

What are his plans after he graduates from SP?

Elliot had this to say

"National Service. Guys can’t escape this conscription, so after SP would definitely be NS."

"However, I plan to take on some part-time work before I am enlisted into NS. I would want to also grab the opportunity to hang out as much as my friends then, as I anticipate I would have lesser chances to do so after that."

What is his ambition in life?

Elliot admitted this is a tough question for him at this moment as he does not have a definite answer in his mind now. However, he does know that he would like to put the knowledge he will be gaining throughout the three years in SP to work.  So he would like to be working in careers that will allow him to apply this knowledge.

Which person(s) in IT Industry does he respect the most?

"Definitely the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin!"

"Google has become an important part of our lives. To search, find or explore something, we all Google it. So how can I not highly respect these two individuals who made our lives much simpler and convenient?"

What are the IT professions he would like to work in?
To my pleasant surprise, Elliot gave an affirmative answer to this question which often stump students of his age.  He shared that he would like to work in the area of Business Analytics.

Elliot feels that Business Analytics professionals are important assets to any company.  Business Analytics Professionals play an important role in a business's decision-making process and they are trained to help to analyse digital data related to the company and make recommendations to the company on how they can improve in areas such as their sales, operations or reputation. He feels that this job of studying data, and creating useful outputs out of the data analysis that can help a business thrive in the competitive environment, is a very thrilling one.

How would he describe himself in four simple words?
Elliot thinks that these four words are a good representation of what he is:
  • Understanding
  • Cheerful
  • Procrastinator
  • Shy
Elliot admits that he tends to avoid starting and holding conversations with people he does not know, as he finds it quite awkward. When he is with his friend who is with another friend, he tends to stand back and let them talk. However, he does hope that he can slowly overcome his shyness and become more open to making new friends and taking more initiatives in talking to others who are new to him.

What are some things that inspire or fascinate him?

Elliot shares that he is fascinated and inspired by three things:

  • Money
  • Computers
  • Google
Source of image

Money is a mysterious thing which constantly baffles him.  He muses over why two things that are both made of the same material have totally different valuations by people:  A polymer dollar note versus a plastic bag from the supermarket for instance.  The first plastic is highly treasured by people around the world and can be used to exchange for valuable goods.  The second one has little 'status' and often gets discarded away.

He also ponders how a small piece of plastic is now able to control the lives of so many.

"Money inspires me in the most funny ways and reminds me that any small thing may amount to something big!"

The power of computers is constant source of fascination for Elliot.

Elliot shares how he is awed by the ability of computers to make tasks so much easier for people.

"In the past, records were kept in physical file folders.  Now, people store their files in cloud storage or portable devices like SD-cards or thumb-drives without having to lug around the information they need in bulky and weighty file folders."

"I am also glad that we don't have to write our reports with pen and paper nowadays! Preparing documents on the computer is so easy because we can make unlimited edits no matter how many mistakes we make. In the past, we would have to make many messy cancellations on the paper whenever we write something wrongly."

Finally, he is really thankful for the invention of search engines like Google. With Google, he can search for anything to get immediate answers

"I am really impressed by the work culture in Google.  How many companies provide slides in the office for their employees to relax!  To me, Google is not a workplace but a gathering of creative people putting things together and produce amazing products."

What is one memorable experience of an overseas trip he has been before?

"One memorable experience for me would be my trip to North America.  I went to both Canada and USA but I prefer Canada over the States.  The weather in Canada was very pleasant compared to Singapore where the heat can kill.  Also, the people in Canada are very friendly and one can expect excellent service in any of their restaurants. The waiters are very attentive to the customers' every need. I find that they really care for the customers and would go the extra mile just to give the customers a good time."

Some photos of him on his overseas trip are here below!

What are his favorite modules in SP so far?

Elliot shares that in this semester, he enjoys Web Client Development the most.  Other modules which he likes are Accounting and Social Media Marketing.

Web Client Development is a very enjoyable module for him as it involves the designing of websites which he finds very fun. Elliot shares that after taking this module, he can better appreciate the hard work that web designers go through in order to create their websites. The module also taught him coding which he had never learnt before.  As a result, he can relate to some of the programming jokes online! ;)

He treasures the opportunity to be able to take Accounting in this hybrid course. If he would to take a pure IT course, he would not have the chance to be able to study Accounting which is one of the fundamental modules in any Business course. That will allow him to have the option to choose either an IT course or a Business course when he pursues university studies in future.

Social Media Marketing was an eye-opener for him because he had the opportunity to run a social media marketing campaign with a real company as well as the opportunity to do research into case-studies of the Facebook Pages of real-life companies to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.  Not many 16 or 17 years olds get to go through this kind of challenging but fun experience!

What are one important tip that he would like to share with students who are thinking of joining a polytechnic course?

Here's his advice:

"Learn how to manage your time!"

"In poly, time management is very important as there is many projects and assignments to hand up."

"Thus, finding the time for everything, including rest and personal time is of great importance, otherwise the stress might affect your health".

"The other tip I have, would be to have trust in your capabilities and keep trying things that you are afraid of!"

What does he enjoy about SP most?

"Definitely, the friends I made there! They are really great friends, helping one another in need without hesitation. Also they do take the trouble to ask or hear you out if having any problems. They do not judge one another and there is no special treatment given. Except if they are playing around!"

Elliot feels that his happiest moments are those times when he is with his classmates as he feels that they are truly great and helpful people, not to mention fun-loving too!

Is he currently attached? What sort of partner would he like to be with?
No. Someone fun to be with who would joke with me all day!

More photos of Elliot here!

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