Private school over public school
POST-GRAD: Mr Clement Lim, a former MDIS student who is now pursuing his PhD at NTU. TNP PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
He graduated with a perfect grade point average and would have been accepted by many tertiary institutes.
Mr Clement Lim, 27, chose to enrol at the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS).
Mr Lim, now a full-time PhD student at Nanyang Technological University, tells TNPS: "It made sense for me to join MDIS because it allowed me to reach my goals faster."
At 16, while studying for his diploma at Nanyang Polytechnic, Mr Lim decided he wanted a PhD.
It spurred him to excel at his studies and find ways to achieve his goal earlier in his life.
Mr Lim says with a shy smile: "It wasn't so much of a concern of how I would get there, as long as I got to the point where I could get the PhD."
A few months into his national service, Mr Lim heard about MDIS's biomedical sciences programme .
He applied and was accepted but had more than a year left in his NS. He sought permission and his officers allowed him to start the course.
So he was at camp during the day and attended night classes at the MDIS campus.
"I am very fortunate to have had the support of my superiors at the medical corp and at MDIS, who allowed me to start my degree early," says Mr Lim.
"This arrangement might not have been possible if I had opted for another route for my tertiary education."
Although most undergraduate courses in public universities take at least three years, Mr Lim received his first class honours degree in two.
Soon after graduating, Mr Lim scored a job at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) as a researcher.
He was only 23 and one of the youngest researchers in his tier there.
"Finishing so early might not have been possible if I did not take a private school route," he says.
He is now doing a PhD in marketing and healthcare innovation.
The journey might have been more than 10 years in the making, but he says it was the step to join a private school that made the difference.
"If you have a specific aim and if you want it badly, then you'll work on achieving it," he says.
When asked if graduates of private schools have smaller chances of getting employed, Mr Lim says: "The numbers and circumstances don't define you."
"What's important is to stay optimistic, even in the face of challenges."
According to MDIS, 75.4 per cent of its graduates find employment within six months of graduation.