Upon graduation, most TUM Asia students choose to step into the working world. There are various challenges involved as they attempt to find a balance between work and family life. We speak to one of our alumni, Judy Yang, to find out on how she copes with having a full-time job while being a parent to two young kids.
Hi Judy, what inspired you to pursue a Master of Science Degree abroad?
Judy: I come from a small town in Guangxi, China. I studied my Bachelors in Chemical Engineering. I had a keen interest to expand my network and live in a city environment. This led me to pursue my Masters in Industrial Chemistry at TUM Asia back in 2011. My biggest motivation to further my education was to prepare for graduate studies at the doctoral level. However, I later realised that research was not what I ultimately wanted to do and I am glad that I had the opportunity to discover where my passion was during my Master studies in Singapore.
How has life been for you after graduating?
Judy: I have been working with Wacker Chemicals South Asia since graduating in 2013. Initially, I was working in a more technical engineering job scope. However, as time passed, I found that I really enjoyed meeting people and working on the corporate aspect of work. I am thankful for the range of technical and business modules in my Masters degree, which has given me the opportunity to be able to try different types of scopes, from engineering to marketing and now to distribution management. It has been a great experience been able to grow within the company. On a more personal level, I am a mother of two young kids and I enjoy spending time with them outside of work.
Looking back, what is one special memory from studying at TUM Asia?
Judy: Reminiscing those days, I really enjoyed the globalised environment. My classmates came from countries such as Argentina, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey. It was great to be able to meet classmates from different cultural backgrounds and I really cherish the friendships that have developed since our studies. I am reminded of how their perspectives had a positive influence to my thought process and my outlook on life.
How did you come across the opportunity to work with your current company?
Judy: I was first introduced to Wacker Chemicals from Professor Plank, who taught our construction chemistry class. I was very intrigued by his lessons and the aspect of chemistry that he taught. He helped to link me up with Wacker Chemicals and recommended me for an internship position with them. He helped to open the door to my career and I am really grateful to have encountered caring professors like him.
Can you share with us more on your day-to-day responsibilities at work?
Judy: In my current role, I am working as a service partner for the business teams of Biosolutions, Polymers and Silicones divisions. I am supporting them to implement their channel strategies. As a process owner, I also coordinate all activities concerning the distributors. This could involve announcing the distributors or cancelling the distribution agreements, working on reporting, contracts, assessments, and so on.
What were some challenges that you faced at work and how did you overcome them?
Judy: I think my biggest challenge was having to balance different aspects of my life, such as work and family duties. It can be difficult balancing it all by managing a full-time job while being a mom. Whenever I do not have to travel for work, I try to spend as much time as I can with my young kids. I would also have to try to coordinate with my husband when we travel for work, so that we can ensure that there is at least one parent at home. It can be tough but I believe that my husband and I have been able to manage it well.
As a successful working professional, what is one advice you would give to your juniors who are graduating?
Judy: One saying that stuck out to me during my own journey was to “Believe in yourself and do not give up”. Even if you may not have the highest grades in class, do not be discouraged as it does not mean that you will not be successful later on in life. No one else should define who you are and what you can be. You are the only one with the power to determine what kind of person you will become. Press on and do not give up on your dreams!
On top of work, you are also the President of the TUM Asia Alumni Network. What is your secret to managing your time?
Judy: We have a great team! Most of the committee members are quite active in taking part in the alumni events. We also have great support from the TUM Asia staff. We would not be where we are today without their help and I appreciate their efforts in the alumni events.
Judy Yang is a graduate in the joint TUM-NUS Master of Science in Industrial Chemistry programme. More information about the programme here >>
This interview was published in the Verbinden Fall 2017 issue >>
Interested students may apply for the Master of Science programmes from October 15 each year. Start Your Application Now>>