Why do you think SMU conducts interviews with prospective students?

I believe that there’s much more to someone than what’s shared in their application (i.e. his or her academic grades and the CCAs they’ve taken part in). Our personality, our thought process, our ability to work cohesively with others and our ability to communicate ideas are all objective qualities that the interviewers are looking for. As such, the interview process helps SMU understand us, the prospective students, on a deeper level.


Should prospective students focus on anything in particular, that the interviewers might be looking for?

During my interview, I think they were looking at the way individuals presented and carried themselves, as well as their critical thinking, analytical skills, as well as their thought processes. They also seemed to be interested to see how we coped under pressure.


How do you think prospective students should approach their interview?

Be yourself and come with an open mind.

Don’t be too fixated on giving the politically-correct answer. Do present your convictions and opinions confidently.


Do you have any insights from your interview that can help prospective SIS students in particular?

Prospective SIS students will benefit from practising some “estimation” questions, which I believe are specific to SIS interviews. For example, during my interview, the interviewers asked “How many piano tuners are there in the whole of Singapore?” We were expected to share the thought process that enabled us to derive our answers, stating our assumptions along the way. This was of course done within a set period of time.

We were also asked to provide a business case analysis and to provide possible solutions to the case at the end.

Finally, I would strongly recommend for prospective students to prepare for standard interview questions such as “Why SIS?” which would allow them to share their reasons for choosing SIS, their future aspirations in the field and so on.


Can you share some tips for prospective students preparing for their SIS interviews?

Firstly, find out about SMU as well as the school you’re applying for, and be aware of how a degree in this particular school can help you contribute to the professional landscape in Singapore.

Secondly, know yourself well – your strengths and your weaknesses, your interests and hobbies. Be prepared to articulate these well.

Ultimately, know your reasons for applying for the particular school. Convey your thoughts and opinions clearly during the interview.


How does your experience as an SMU student compare to any expectations you held beforehand?

One common thought I’d heard of before becoming an SMU student myself was that SMU is a “mugger” school where everyone is obsessed with getting good grades. SMU is in actual fact far from it – we really “work hard and play harder” here. There are loads of activities and CCAs that for us students to participate in so that we can develop ourselves holistically.


Looking back, do you think the interview process did a good job of preparing you for your current journey as an SMU student?

I have a very strong recollection of the estimation question that was asked during my SMU interview – I remember it being very unique and unexpected. What I didn’t know back then was that it would end up framing the way I think in many aspects my SMU journey – from the way I interpret things, to my analysis process and how I come up with solutions. I think the interview process not only prepared me for my journey in SMU, but also provided me with an “awakening” of sorts as to how I’d go about facing challenges in general.

Oh Peng Ho, Year 4
School of Information Systems
Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Bsc (IS)
Caderas Latinas; SMU Information Systems Society, Vice President; Career Champions
Temasek Junior College