Clovis Tan studied Electronic Commerce graduated in June this year. He thinks that maybe he should have practiced his programming a bit more, but otherwise he had a blast here. If you’d like to peeve this oft-good-humoured dude, just unleash a torrent of broken English on him. It isn’t widely known, but the man can also play the piano and sing.
What do you do now?
Well, I am now a Senior Officer at the Immigrations and Checkpoint Authorities. I know it is totally irrelevant to my course at NUS, but I am actually pursuing what I love to do. I personally do not like doing mundane 9-5 desk jobs and my position as a Senior Officer & Team Leader at ICA allows me the adrenaline and constant hype that I actually quite crave for! Basically, border security is the crux of my job scope and being part of the Home Team allows me to cultivate and nurture my passion to serve and for leadership!
I actually do still read quite a bit on data mining and am still interested in big data. Information harvesting and essentially making sense of these infinite data that is practically floating around is prevalent in almost every working environment. Organisations want to be better and more often than not, they rely heavily on these data to either be ahead or to be both efficient and effective. ICA isn't any different and yes, data harvesting is certainly both a science and an art here!
Describe your SoC experience.
Wow, where do I begin... I can touch my heart and say that it was and is (up till now), the best 4 years of my life. I came in thinking that, you know, I would just try to get by university but what I acquired at SoC, and the opportunities made available to me at SoC, allowed me to not just grow, but excel. I was the Director of Sports in my freshman year and in that year my committee and I started the annual SoC Sports Camp in 2011! What a breakthrough that was! We saw that students from other faculties at that time had the idea that SoC-ians were boring and geeks and that drove us to prove them wrong. What delights me most is really seeing this camp grow from strength to strength and I hope this will stay on as a tradition for SoC! Truth is, some faculties are still amazed at how we are actually doing this and making a sports camp happen.
In my second year, we decided to rebrand SoC's O'Week. I had the most amazing committee that believed in the same vision I did and we made history by not only just having a proper computing bash at Sentosa's Wavehouse, [but also having] the biggest camp turnout ever (at that time in 2012). PARODY 2012 was to me, the best experience at SoC. I would stay in school for 2 straight weeks at SoC during the days when I was organising camps and not have a proper bed or sleep. That adrenaline is really one to die for. Being the project director and eventually seeing the camp to its fruition showed me how amazing this faculty can be and I am just thankful and privileged to be part of it all. Especially after I stepped down from my committee positions and people actually thank me for the effort I had placed in doing a certain something, that drives me to want to be a better person. Knowing that people appreciate you really keeps you going and the acknowledgement not only from the students, but also the faculty is something that really humbles me.
I was also a student representative at the Students' Union level for SoC, the Director of Internal Relations and Alumni Relations (in 2012) and the elected Student Welfare Secretary (in 2013) of the NUS Students' Union. My heart was always wanting to make a difference in the lives of NUS students but truth be told, it was at SoC where I felt most at home. Some of my closest friends are friends I made at SoC. Though I struggled a little in the beginning, my more learned friends never fail to guide me.
Programming was a big challenge for me, honestly. But at E-Commerce, we are required to not only program and understand the IT aspect of the broader scheme of things, we are also required to articulate and incorporate the business side of things into our projects. That, on its own, is something I find both challenging and yet, at the time, really interesting! Dr Anand Ramchand is one faculty staff member who not only encouraged me since I was in my freshman year, he guided me and believed in me enough during my time at SoC. Not only was he my coach for 2 case competitions, I was his teaching assistant for 2 semesters and I would say that I am deeply touched by his sincerity all these years!
In my final year, I also represented SoC and NUS at an International Business IT Case Competition in Vancouver and that really left a strong, lasting impression on me. I grew so much as a person during that whole training process and I would say that it was one of the few things that I will always hold dear to my heart. Like they always say, it’s these sorts of memories that make a person whole.
SoC is such a small faculty and, yes, we may not have the manpower to do big things or what not but we certainly are a close-knitted family. I would have never traded that for anything else. [The thing I enjoyed the most was] seeing familiar faces around SoC each and every day. Literally :)
What is the one thing you would change about SoC?
I would prevent other students from using our common, air-conditioned study areas at the basement and outside SR1! We need some exclusivity yo, it’s our zone!
What do you count as your most significant achievement to date?
Winning a medal (NUSS Medal for Outstanding Achievement) during commencement and seeing my parents glow with pride :) That medal summarises everything I had ever lived for in SoC and NUS and being presented with that award during my commencement really had me thanking God, my friends and my family for their belief and support throughout my 4 years.
My passion is to make a difference and to, as a leader, leave something behind for my juniors to make better (like Bash, Sports Camp and Orientation Week). My desire is to lead by example and to prove critics wrong because there will always be these people around, no matter where you are! It all began when I started taking the leadership opportunities that SoC and NUS provided me with!
[To make it work, I had] to be able to compartmentalise my life properly; balance studies, extracurricular activities and friends well; sacrifice certain things (which I would say I wish I did not - like going on a semester long exchange). My girlfriend, Dionne, (though she is not from SoC, she was like an honorary SoC-ian) supported me and stood by me through it all. My Bro, Sean Pea (my batchmate), who helped me so much for my programming and being a listening ear. My BFF, Li Ru (my batchmate), for always making sure I was okay and most importantly, God, for everything and every blessing that He has showered me with! The medal that I had won would not have been possible without them!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Don't ever let anyone dictate who you should be. University is a time when you really find out who you are and who your real friends are! Oh and, don't just study!! University life is probably the last time in your life that you can really go all out to explore and enjoy! :)
Don't ever give up, ever. Even when the going gets tough. Cliché as it may sound but at the end of the day, be a person whom you want people to remember you for :) Stay true to your values and remember that the sky is the limit!
Quick-fire: Best song on air now?
BANG BANG by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nikki Minaj
Having no friends.
If you could eat only three food items for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Sashimi, Rojak and the Barley Ginko Beancurd dessert haha!
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