Double Degrees: LKYSPP NUS & Sciences Po

Here is the second installment of our feature on the double degree students. We are featuring the MPP students from LKYSPP doing their second year at Sciences Po taking the MPA program, and those from Sciences Po who have come to LKYSPP and are currently doing the second year of the MPP program. LKYSPPeak asked them some questions to get to know them better and their Paris / Singapore experience so far.

Bill Haitao Chen

How has your studying experience been so far? How different is it from your stay at LKYSPP?

So far so good. We do not have to do a Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) here. Instead, we will do a Capstone Research project, which is a group work, and usually has a real client and involves some international trips.

Coming from Singapore, how has it been for you living in Paris? Compared to Singapore, what is the best (and worst? or least likeable) part of living there? 

Living in Paris may sound great, romantic or fashionable to those who have not come here. But the first few weeks were difficult as many French people cannot speak English well or do not like to speak English. Additionally, it is comparatively more expensive to live here except wines and cheese. Watching the positive side, Paris is close to many European cities, so I am glad that during my stay in Paris, I can understand more deeply the history, culture, society, economics and politics of France and Europe at large.

Can you share some of your other activities at your university there? 

I am trying to travel to as many interesting places as possible. So far I have been to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, Dubai, South Africa, Monaco, Italy, Belgium, UK since I arrived here in France last September (2009). And I wish I could go to more new places if time permits. But of course, all these have a prerequisite that I should first study well. Fortunately, I got a satisfactory average grade last semester.

Please share your background (academic training, work experience) prior to LKYSPP and, if possible, your future plans after finishing your double degree.

I have been working for the Shanghai Overseas Returned Scholars Association over the past few years, and I will go back to continue my public service in Shanghai after finishing the double degree. I studied International Relations/Diplomacy at Fudan University and Public Administration at Tongji University, both in Shanghai, prior to LKYSPP.

Ammar Malik

How has your studying experience been so far? How different is it from your stay at LKYSPP?

The academic environment here is markedly different, since it focuses a lot more on European experiences and issues, which provide a completely different perspective on public policy issues. Most of the professors here are experienced public policy practitioners as opposed to full-time academics, which helps understand practical limitations of policymaking.

Coming from Singapore, how has it been for you living in Paris? Compared to Singapore, what is the best (and worst? or least likeable) part of living there? 

Although Singapore and Paris are both large cosmopolitan cities, they are also immensely different in terms of weather, social norms, and especially arts and cultural activities. For me, the best experience in Paris has been its architectural heritage, especially the medieval era buildings and the city’s lovely gardens. On the other hand though, the city is incredibly expensive, much more so than Singapore. Eating out, shopping and attending cultural events – although delightful – are almost twice as expensive.

Can you share some of your other activities at your university there? 

As part of my capstone project, I had the opportunity to work closely with our client, the OECD. Being one of the world’s top international organization in terms of policy research, this invaluable experience has enabled me to observe, with great interest, how international organizations analyze policy challenges. 

Please share your background (academic training, work experience) prior to LKYSPP and, if possible, your future plans after finishing your double degree.

Prior to the MPP program at LKYSPP, I was part of Standard Chartered Bank’s International Graduate program, working as Relationship Manager for Small & Medium Enterprise Banking. I had completed a BSc (Hons.) degree in Economics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan.

There are two more LKYSPP MPP students at Sciences Po: John Roberts (leftmost) and Christian Ksoll (rightmost).

Chua Cher Lan Cynthia

Previous work experience? 

Lawyer, banker, then entrepreneur.

Countries you’ve lived in for at least 3 months?

Singapore, Philippines, England and France.

Why did you decide to come to Singapore?

Because my family moved from Paris to Hong Kong last summer, LKYSPP is the closest school within the network, and it offered a concrete regular class schedule.

Is LKYSPP as you imagined? If not what were the surprises?

Very impressed with the campus – a great setting for a masters programme.

What is your favorite part about living in Singapore?

The 3 F’s: Family, Friends and FOOD!

Professional life goals/aspirations?

Still working on it.

Are you an optimist or pessimist when it comes to managing climate change on a global level? Why do you think so?

I think the West will lead the charge on this one.  In my very limited straw-polling (and interning with the World Wildlife Fund), Asians do not see their individual power, so individual action is very limited as they don’t feel they can make a difference.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s