UOL PRIVATE DEGREE GRADUATE: THIS IS HOW I BECAME SUCCESSFUL IN SINGAPORE

Wow, I had no idea UOL degrees were so frowned upon. A little history about my career:

I ORDed in 2008. I have a diploma in mechanical engineering from a local poly. I learned very early in poly that engineering was not for me, so I enrolled in UOL Bsc. banking and finance part-time, hoping that I could eventually land a well paying banking job. In my first year, I was working odd admin jobs here and there and getting paid like $7/hr.

In my 2nd year, I got myself a non-sales job with a certain foreign bank. I remember my basic pay was $1.8k then. With allowances it was around $2.2k.

As a consequence of bad time management, I graduated with 3rd class honours. I thought I could juggle work and school, but hell was I wrong. Despite my lousy grading, a month or 2 after graduation, I landed a job with a foreign bank and was drawing just under $4k. I guessed it helped that I had good references from my previous jobs.

A year in, I was tired of the drudgery and office politics, and quit. I’ve had it with banking. I left to found a tech startup with some friends. We were young, ambitious, and hungry. The drive wasn’t enough to offset the inexperience though. Just 2 years later, we were out of business. When the storm blew over, I had less than $1,000 in my bank account.

However, during my startup years, I had established a good network of business owners. A few phone calls away, and I was back in the game, running my new consulting business. Yes, I had failed at my startup, but the skill sets and experience I had acquired made me invaluable to other business owners.

Fast forward to today. I consider it a bad month when I rake in $10,000 or less a month. In a good month, I have made $30,000 to $40,000. Who would have thought that I would have this kind of earning power at 29 years old? Certainly not me. If you see me on the streets, you would never have guessed I’m capable of that. I drive a cheap Japanese car, fully paid up. I have few expensive possessions and I don’t eat in fancy restaurants.

Don’t limit your career choices. It doesn’t mean you have to work in an bank just because you have a degree in banking. It might sound cliched, but life truly is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.

If you are young, forget about the mere pittance of a salary you will get at this stage. Focus on learning and acquiring skills. Live below your means, and yet be generous to others. Treat everyone with sincerity and respect, even those you hate.

When you have acquired the right skill sets, don’t worry about getting jobs. The jobs will come to you. Maybe you won’t even want to climb the corporate ladder anymore. Maybe you’d want to own the corporate ladder and have others climb it.

– A UOL graduate

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