SCHOOL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS
The Office of Alumni Relations caught up with the Executive Committee of the SIS Alumni Group recently to find out more about their recent happenings. President, Kevin Chan, shared an overview of the purpose behind the Alumni Group, his motivation for serving and their future aspirations for the Group.
What role do you think the SIS Alumni Group can play in the overall alumni community?
I view the role that SIS AG play as complimentary to the role of the SMU Alumni Association (SMUAA) albeit more at our SIS school level. Like SMUAA, we are looking into building the alumni community at our school level, provide opportunities for personal and professional development for both alumni and students through networking and internship opportunities respectively, and engaging the SIS Alumni to give back to SIS through both tangible and intangible means. For instance, we want our alumni to impart their professional experience to current SIS undergraduates through our Life after Graduation event and provide internship opportunities, referrals and support SISS events as part of the avenues of giving back to the school. We also want to maintain the bond and network within our alumni, promoting opportunities for our fellow SIS friends and maintaining ties with the school and professors.
The value we provide is that we help to form another bridge to both the SIS Alumni and undergraduates for the SMUAA. As our pool of alumni grow over the years, I think it is imperative that SMUAA has the means scale, and we can be the leverage for SMUAA to continue to reach out to the alumni in SIS. At the same time, through our engagements with the undergraduates, we sow the seeds of the alumni spirit, easing them to join our alumni ranks as they have started to get acquainted with the current alumni even before they graduated.
Why motivated you to take up this leadership role in the SIS Alumni Group?
The Class of 2011 has always been a close knit one. Majority of us knew each other even before we went for our FTB and MetamorphoSIS camps though our own initiative of setting up forums to make friends and also reach out to our seniors back in 2007. Through the four years, we went through many trials and tribulations, such as late nights, stay overs and especially the loss of one of our own Levin Angasana from a sailing misadventure. It is not uncommon for our outings to hit the size of more than 20, and the finale outing that we had before graduation at Fish & Co Glass House had an attendance of 50-odd (about one third of the cohort).
As graduation drew nearer back in 2011, I did not want this bond and relationship that we had to fade out and be echoes of memories. We had gone through a lot together, through the laughter and tears, be each other’s pillar of support and forming a strong camaraderie. It will be a huge waste to just let it end like that. Thus, I was compelled to create the SIS AG to ensure that the SIS family, though far from sight, is never that far from the mind and heart. It was my vision that the AG will continue to provide our SIS family an identity beyond SMU and that they always have a “family” to come back to.
What do you think are the biggest professional challenges our SIS Alumni face in today’s connected world?
The biggest challenge is definitely keeping up with the pace of change in the world. There is so much dynamism, evolution and changes that are going on. In the space of four years since we graduated, there are new fields and niches that had come about or have matured. Cloud and analytics was still in the infancy stages when we graduated and now these technologies have becoming more of a norm with the increased adoption throughout many industries.
Professionally, it is a challenge for SIS Alumni to keep developing ourselves to keep up with the technological changes, and also reinventing ourselves to stay relevant. I believe our industry is the most volatile one as the knowledge and expertise that we have today can become irrelevant and obsolete within a decade, maybe even faster in today’s context. Having said that, I believe the SIS school has prepared us pretty well for this dynamism, as our curriculum keeps up with the IT trends of today. I know that there are more analytics module offerings in SIS now. In some ways, our school has inherently educated us that staying relevant should be part and parcel of an IS professional.
What can a SIS Alum look forward to from the alumni group?
The SIS Alumni can look forward to get-togethers not only with fellow alumni but with our juniors still studying in school and our professors as well. We have our annual Life after Graduation events, and we had tried to be creative by having events such as Kinect Olympics and supporting the Office of Alumni Relation’s Technology Night event. We will work to organise more of such events. Of course, we are always open to ideas and our fellow SIS Alumni can definitely feel free to approach us and share if they have any!
What is your aspiration for the SIS Alumni Group?
My aspiration for the SIS Alumni Group is for the SIS family to always and forever remain connected with each other. True that we may have gone our separate ways, pursuing our careers, building businesses and for some of us, raising kids. However, we are always and will always be part of the SIS family, and no one can take that away from us.
It is also my aspiration that the SIS Alumni Group, as an entity, will be a strong and united one; that we will always have alumni that is willing to come forward and be a part of the team to continue to work on keeping the SIS bond together, providing outreach to our alumni. Hopefully the SIS AG will be amongst the forefront AGs within the alumni community and be known for our strong family spirit and identity.
SIS ALUMNI GROUP
With the SIS Alumni Group established in year 2009, we aim to play a key role in bringing SIS graduates together, leveraging relationships with industry leaders and providing advice to SIS undergraduates. We want to provide a direct approach and personal touch to your needs and wants by planning interactive events and activities especially for you. One of the latest networking events that we had organised was “ Life After Graduation II ”, in which our alumni were given the opportunity to stay connected with their peers and celebrate Chinese new year together.
Come and join our SIS Alumni family now!