by Dennis Chong
Yup, that’s me doing what I love to do best: cycling, running, swimming, multi-sports. I don’t really belong to the conventional stereotypical category of SMU students as well: get a business/accounting degree, get a job in a bank, earn my millions by the time I’m 35. On the contrary, I’m a Psychology major, I love studying the behaviour of people around me, and I absolutely have no reservations or fear towards the possibility of trying to attain a PhD in future. That said, I’m glad the “holistic” curriculum of SMU and the lack of choices Social Science students have for their Technology & Entrepreneurship module requirement, conspired to make sure I landed up in Professor Pamela Lim’s class. It has been eye-opening to say the least, and definitely shown me an alternative career path (if you could call it that), at a time when my peers are all fretting over whether they have already secured a job before graduation. It has surprisingly given me a sense of calm and peace with regards to the whole job search mania and even gotten me excited about the prospects of my group’s business.
Going into this class blind probably helped as well. With no preconceived notions about what skill sets one needed in setting up a business, what it took to be an entrepreneur,I was not limited and handicapped by any norms. I felt that was a plus point in ensuring that my ideas as well as my approach were constantly fresh and different. I was fortunate also to have friends in my team: not just simple friends, but dependable friends. Our group meetings felt more like a catch-up session, and conflicts that arise are always swiftly and amicably dealt with so that we move ahead constructively. With such a team, it made going through the long journey of constantly refining our business model so much more bearable, fun even. Through this meticulous process of going through and poking holes at our own business, I’ve learnt the value of humility, of not assuming that the business idea is going to work simply because we feel it’s a good one. Being on the continuous lookout for improvements strengthens our business and also contributes to overall character building, one of the ways I feel this course has changed me.
To cut a long story short, perseverance and rising up to challenges was the order of the day throughout the 15 weeks of this class. Coming out of it stronger has given me a slightly different perspective in life: I now see it as very possible that we as the younger generation coming of age, have the ability to change the world. Change the world, these are 3 very strong words that often get dismissed by us as a mere ideal or dream, something so impossible that if we didn’t achieve it in our life time, well, it’s not our fault if something is so out of our reach right? However, I realized that through something as simple as making a business out of an idea you feel passionate about can have a life-changing impact on all the world, if only you are willing to take it to greater heights.