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Driven undergrad jump-starts finance career with scholarship’s flexibility
SUSS scholar Ezekiel Woo
Third-year SUSS undergraduate Ezekiel Woo juggles an internship while attending university classes. PHOTO: SPH MEDIA

From landing a coveted banking internship to winning case competitions, this SUSS scholar is leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit for success

From Monday through Thursday, Mr Ezekiel Woo, 24, dons a crisp business outfit and reports to work at Standard Chartered Bank in Marina Bay Financial Centre.

As an investment banking analyst intern with the bank’s Global Industries Group (GIG), he performs industry analysis and assists in drafting pitch documents for companies to perform mergers or acquisitions. 

While he blends in with the finance crowd, what makes Mr Woo unique is that he is currently a student at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). He attends classes there every Friday, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics under the SUSS Global Excellence Scholarship.

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Mr Woo’s schedule is atypical for an undergrad. He took on the internship in his third year – earlier than most university students who typically do it in their final year of study when they do not have to juggle coursework simultaneously.

Always planning ahead, he is constantly on the lookout to upgrade himself as he keeps his eye on the ultimate goal: To break into the world of investment banking.

“Achieving a successful future is my top priority for supporting my family,” says Mr Woo, who comes from a single-parent household.

It also helps that he has a scholarship that supports him to reach his full potential. His four-day internship is a first of its kind in his cohort – Mr Woo found the opportunity on Standard Chartered’s website and applied for it himself. He then worked with his lecturers at SUSS to arrange his classes into a single day so that he could stay abreast with schoolwork. 

At his internship, Mr Woo is picking up real-world knowledge such as performing industry analysis and assisting in drafting pitch documents for companies to perform mergers or acquisitions. PHOTO: COURTESY OF EZEKIEL WOO

It is an intense schedule, but Mr Woo shares a hack to juggling well: “Always start early, whether it is a job or school assignment. If you start early, you will have a better grasp of what is happening, more time to spot mistakes and improve.”

Being able to juggle an internship with his studies was one of the many reasons why Mr Woo chose the SUSS Global Excellence Scholarship. “I want to have this sense of independence, which is also part of my education. It comes with the responsibility of trying to perform well,” he says.

Picking up real-world skills

The first person in his family to enter university, Mr Woo applied for the SUSS Global Excellence Scholarship as it covers all tuition costs and provides $5,000 in living allowances annually. Most importantly, the scholarship offers students opportunities beyond academia, including taking on leadership roles and participating in case competitions. 

These competitions – which enhance students’ abilities in research, writing, presentation, decision-making and public speaking – can give him “a competitive edge when job-hunting in the future”, says Mr Woo.

“Achieving a successful future is my top priority for supporting my family.”

Mr Ezekiel Woo, recipient of the SUSS Global Excellence Scholarship

In April 2023, Mr Woo and his team clinched the national champion title at the CFA Institute Research Challenge. This annual global competition requires students to assume the role of an equity analyst and be tested on their analytical and pitching skills.

A month earlier, he and his classmates came in as second runners-up in the Point72 x Nanyang Capital Stock Pitch Challenge 2023, where they created a mock investment recommendation for a company.

“We left with a better understanding of how to write stronger messages and provide more in-depth analysis on a company’s stock and financial performance,” says Mr Woo.

Besides reaping real-world knowledge from these competitions, Mr Woo says he has become a more confident public speaker.

Mr Woo ( far right) and his teammates clinched the national champion title at the CFA Institute Research Challenge in 2023. PHOTO: COURTESY OF EZEKIEL WOO

“The judges at these case competitions are always changing. They are well-known industry practitioners, so you have to be prepared before you talk to them or ask them questions,” he says.

Mr Woo has also experienced his first taste of entrepreneurship through the SUSS Venture Builder Programme. The three-month initiative aims to teach students essential skills for building a business. During this time, he founded Glam Deals SG, a beauty start-up which promotes mom-and-pop shops through a Telegram group chat.

Through the programme’s networking sessions and workshops, Mr Woo says he learnt new strategies that enabled Glam Deals SG to acquire 1,000 subscribers in less than five weeks.

“The skills that I picked up – such as conducting a company analysis and comparative assessments – have also been useful in my Standard Chartered internship as I am expected to make sense of a company’s strengths and weaknesses, and present them as key information for potential investors,” he says.

Mastering the balancing act

Mr Woo (second from left, anti-clockwise) deep in discussion with his teammates during the SUSS Venture Builder Programme. PHOTO: SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

Mr Woo’s interest in banking and finance was sparked when he first joined the student-run SUSS Investment Group, another strategic move he made to widen his horizons. 

The group’s goal is to promote financial literacy and strengthen investment knowledge. It exposed him to topics such as company valuation, industry trends and financial analysis. Mr Woo, a financial informatics graduate from Nanyang Polytechnic, currently serves as the president of the SUSS Investment Group.

Business analytics is Mr Woo’s favourite subject as he enjoys telling stories and mapping trends with data. Still, he has decided to pursue banking as a career choice because it combines both his passions for numbers and storytelling. 

“It allows me to portray what I feel about a certain set of data and how it fits into the big picture. It also helps me understand why a particular company is a good investment and how it differs from its competitors,” he says. 

As he approaches his final year at university, Mr Woo is also looking forward to his one-month exchange programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science in Britain, where he will gain more global experience in finance. His travel expenses will be covered by the scholarship.

Upon graduation, his priority is to secure a full-time role in a financial institution. Mr Woo says he would ideally like to work for corporate acquisitions and financing in the downstream oil and gas industry.

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