On 25 March 2021, after a long hiatus due to the pandemic, the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) programme hosted its first Alumni Homecoming event since 2019. The gathering was held at the newly minted i-Cube Level 2 auditorium, which boasts hybrid event and live broadcasting capabilities.
More than 100 alumni participated in the Homecoming, including established figures such as Kelly Choo, co-founder of Neeuro; Audrey Tan, co-founder of PlayMoolah and Angels of Impact; and Vanessa Tan, Director of Marketing at Xiaomi. Old friends, ex-housemates, business associates, mentors and mentees, all of them NOC alumni, greeted each other as they finally got to catch up face-to-face after more than a year.
The event was kicked off by Professor Chee Yeow Meng, NUS Associate Vice President (Innovation & Enterprise) and Director of the NOC programme. In his opening speech, he detailed how students were recalled and internships cut short in 2020 when the spread of COVID-19 accelerated across the world. NOC alumni stepped up to support their fellow juniors by offering and calling for internship positions through their established business networks, enabling the students to continue on their learning journeys.
In April, when it became apparent that the graduating cohort would be entering a difficult job market, Prof Chee shared how NOC alumni once again rallied to provide support: over 20 companies from the NUS Enterprise network, most of them NOC alumni-founded companies, pulled together more than 200 traineeship and full-time positions for NUS’ graduating students.
These stories encapsulate the essence of the NOC community, a close-knit network of like-minded innovators and entrepreneurs that is happy to step in to collaborate with and support other alumni. More than 75% of NOC alumni are currently involved in the start-up and innovation ecosystem, and many NOC alumni are also investors in and mentors to their juniors.
The rest of the event highlighted various NUS entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives that the alumni can tap on, such as BLOCK71, the Graduate Research Innovation Programme (GRIP), the Masters of Science in Venture Creation, and the NUS-BOP Hub Joint Initiative of Social Systems Innovation (JISSI). NOC Alumni Engagement Manager Loh Weiren also shared new NOC-specific initiatives, including the NOC Alumni Bursary, which supports underprivileged students who embark on the NOC programme; new ways to stay connected as a community; the new common space at i-Cube Level 2; more talks and speaking opportunities for NOC alumni; and brand new NOC Masterclasses for knowledge sharing and exchange.
This was followed by a content-packed “sneak preview” of the NOC Masterclass series, where NOC Silicon Valley alumnus Julian Low shared tips on how to approach funding for better success, knowledge he has garnered through his years of experience working in venture capitalist firms.
It was a fantastic experience to see all these familiar faces, and we hope the NOC alumni community continues to stay connected and supportive of past and future generations!
Check out the event page for photos and many more at https://sway.office.com/7SotYHckBLoFgpGl?ref=Link