Four years may have passed since Mr Sebastian San graduated with a Bachelor of Business in Management and International Business (Double Major), awarded by Murdoch University, from Kaplan in Singapore.

But time has not eroded the lifechanging effect of a lecturer’s words on him: Do not follow the norm; challenge the status quo.

“My lecturer’s advice stuck with me, and that is why I’ve decided to take the unconventional route of working in start-ups,” said Mr San.

The 29-year-old wasted little time in pursuing his dream career. In just his second year at Kaplan, Mr San got his first taste of shaking up the status quo and improving the lives of consumers when he joined off-peak restaurant booking start-up Eatigo. He left the platform in 2015.

Last December, he joined Mobike as a country launcher for the South-east Asia market. He made used of the skills he gained from his bachelor’s degree programme to expand the presence of the bike-sharing start-up in the region.

Things were not so smooth sailing for Mr San at the start. He only had an inkling of his real passion after completing his Diploma in Mechatronics Engineering at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) in 2008.

Deciding that he needed to retool for a career detour after completing full-time National Service (NS) in 2011, he turned to Kaplan and enrolled in Murdoh University’s business degree for greater versatility and varied job prospects.

Kaplan offered him a fast track to a degree. He could finish it in 16 months instead of 28 months because he was exempted from some modules, thanks to his diploma from NYP.

“This allowed me to catch up with peers who did not have to serve NS. The class size and student-to-teacher ratio was also smaller, which facilitated my learning,” said Mr San.

He added: “Murdoch University is known for the holistic approach it takes towards education. Its business graduates are highly sought after globally.”

For Mr San, modules such as International Marketing, International Management, Business Negotiations, and International Political Economy were a big draw.

The programme offered him insights into the global economic and business climates — just what he needed to develop a global mindset. It equipped him with the necessary skills to evaluate and manage challenges and opportunities in an increasingly complex global economy, especially for new start-ups.

“There was a good mix of written assignments, projects and examinations. We also worked on case studies in teams, and that let me pick up skills in teamwork and project management,” said Mr San.

He added: “To help us in our assignments and examinations, one of my lecturers even created a website to share work done by his previous students.”

Outside the classroom, campus life was enriching socially. Mr San expanded his network by making friends within and outside the programme.

“Networking helps you learn about other businesses and understand the industry better. It may even help further my career,” he said.

More importantly, he found what he needed to succeed in a start-up economy.

“My role at Mobike is a regional one, and I found insight into how to effectively navigate diversity and build top performing, multi-cultural teams,” said Mr San.

He added: “My degree has benefitted me tremendously in my career.”

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Article by Leonard Lai, Rebecca Liew, Trudy Kwek, Nicolette Ong
Source: TODAY© Mediacorp Press Limited.