Singapore

University dropout turned start-up founder to share tips at forum

When Mr Oswald Yeo dropped out of the University of California, Berkeley, to run his start-up full-time in 2016, his family and friends thought he was out of his mind.

"They thought I was crazy. But my friends in the US were cheering for me because I had funding," said the 25-year-old. " I got to see the contrast between two cultures. I have no regrets because I have learnt so much along the way."

He left university after just six months of studying business, and to Mr Yeo, it is real work experience that counts most.

He found a three-month start-up boot camp he attended in 2015 "more useful" than the time he spent studying.

"Whatever I was learning was such a far cry from the three months of real business experience. So I decided to leave to focus on our company," he said.

Mr Yeo is one of the three co-founders of Glints, an online talent recruitment and career discovery platform.

More than 9,700 companies have signed up with Glints, which has raised more than $3 million in funding since 2015.

"We believe that higher education is so much more than what you learnt in the classroom. It's about the real-world experiences like internships," he said.

Mr Yeo will be one of the speakers at a forum - Disruptions in Education (DisruptED) - co-organised by The Straits Times and the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM)this Saturday at the SIM campus in Clementi Road.

Panellists include Ms Kristina Kaihari, counsellor of education at the Finnish National Agency for Education, and Mr Ben Nelson, who founded Minerva, a company that aims to reinvent higher education by stripping it down to its essence, eliminating lectures and tenure for faculty.

They will be joined by seasoned education administrators - Mr Lee Kwok Cheong, chief executive of SIM Holdings, and Dr Charles Zukoski, provost and executive vice-president for academic affairs at the University at Buffalo in New York.

The half-day forum, moderated by ST's head of training and development Lydia Lim, will end with a discussion on young people taking the path less travelled in higher education, to be led by Mr Yeo and ST's senior education correspondent Sandra Davie.

 

Employment