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News > Alumni Spotlight > Embracing Opportunities and Building a Global Future in Singapore

Embracing Opportunities and Building a Global Future in Singapore

With unwavering determination, Dionne Francesca ('17) embarked on a journey of self-discovery and adaptation. She continues to persevere with her career locally for a better opportunity overseas!
Embracing Opportunities and Building a Global Future in Singapore
Embracing Opportunities and Building a Global Future in Singapore

After graduating from SJI International in 2017, I experienced lots of exciting events in my life. Once the IB programme ended, I realised how unpredictable life can be. After SJI International, I moved on to an undergraduate degree in Business at the National University of Singapore (NUS). I graduated in May 2022 with Honours and a specialisation in Marketing. I now have a full-time position with UBS, Graduate Talent Program in the Asset Management division. I studied at SJI International from Grade 7 to Grade 12 and made many fond memories with my closest friends. The whole SJI International experience holds a special place in my heart.

My original plan was to complete my undergraduate degree overseas. It was a dream that I wanted to fulfil - studying, working and settling down overseas. Throughout my time at SJI International, I was looking at universities overseas with the intent to study Communications. However, I decided on a local university instead due to personal circumstances. I hoped a degree in Business would open up more options to explore different careers and industries. 

Ultimately the decision to stay in Singapore was difficult, as I had many worries about what that experience would look like. I was mainly worried about the cultural differences, including shifting from SJI International to NUS. I was anxious that I would not be able to share relatable experiences with other students. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the NUS community and classroom culture was incredibly welcoming. Later, I learnt to appreciate the different lifestyles at NUS.

I reminded myself about the importance of keeping a positive mindset. I decided to join the NUS’ Makeup & Design and the Film and Production Clubs. I pushed myself to partake in interest clubs as this allowed me to meet new friends and gain a deeper insight into the world of film production (this enabled me to be a Production Assistant on a short film set!). It gradually helped to gain the confidence to search for a job in Singapore.

Four years later, I was busy focusing on finding a job and maintaining good grades amidst adjusting to online classes. Despite the challenges the pandemic presented, I learnt to cherish the time spent with my loved ones, especially when they are back for term break or holidays. I also appreciated the late-night Skype calls with friends who are still overseas and welcoming new friends and experiences into my life.

I never thought I would begin my career in the Finance industry. Business School provided exposure to many different industries, and for the longest time, I had my eyes set on working in the luxury or entertainment industry. I found it difficult to get an internship with established companies. Instead, I focused my energy on polishing my resume and continued to find leadership opportunities within the CCAs I was already in. During my third year, I decided to switch from Marketing to Finance. I applied to UBS’ Summer internship as a Finance intern as I believed this would be insightful. 

Nevertheless, I still wanted to explore more industries, and I received an internship with a luxury company. I am thankful for the exposure and networking opportunities I gained during this internship, but this working culture was not for me. At this pivotal moment, I realised that there were so many other factors that I needed to consider, such as a conducive work environment and my mental health. It later became clear how important these factors are in choosing a job and company.

Eventually, with the support of my family and friends, I moved forward and attained an internship at UBS in the summer of 2021. This allowed me to reflect on the environment I do my best, and I was thrilled when they extended a full-time offer for their Graduate Program. This role has given me many opportunities to grow, and it allowed me to meet intelligent, like-minded people. Amidst the long nights and peak periods, there were enjoyable welfare activities like Friday Tennis nights, Happy Hours at work, and even a Christmas Decorating contest in the office!

After my final semester at NUS, I travelled to Australia and spent a week in New York as part of a post-graduation trip. My travels fuelled my desire to move overseas in hopes of experiencing different lifestyles, new beginnings and meeting new people. 

If I had one piece of advice for all IB students, it would be to dream big and go with the flow. Positive things are coming, especially in circumstances beyond your control. There will always be doors that open for you so that you gain valuable knowledge and experience that will eventually lead you to your goals. Lastly, cherish the time you may take for granted with those close to you, especially your friends so that you won’t regret it later.

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