Can you describe the interview process?

I went for the early admissions interview that was mainly meant for polytechnic students. We had previously completed an online application form and during the interview, we got to share more of what we’d included in our online applications in addition to answering the questions posed by the professors.

There were 4 interviewers and 3 interviewees, including myself. Each of us was given a chance to answer the questions in orderly manner. One thing to note during the interview is that you have to pay attention and listen closely to all questions, even if they are not directed to you, because the interviewer may not repeat the question again when they ask for your opinions on the matter being discussed.


What should prospective students do to prepare for the interview?

Do some research on the common questions asked during past SMU interviews and work on at least a market sizing question, which tests your ability to estimate or guess a quantitative variable. By doing a bit of practice, you will be better prepared to focus on the question at hand and not be too stressed or unprepared to answer during the actual interview.

Importantly, be very clear about your reasons for choosing SMU. Read through your online application before the interview and make sure you are able to elaborate on what you have written when asked during the interview.


Do you feel that the interview gave you a chance to showcase your strengths?

The usual straightforward interview questions, such as “Why SMU/SIS?” and “Tell me more about yourself?” were a good way for me to explain my motivations for choosing SMU SIS, and to introduce myself to the professors.

We also had to answer a market sizing question to test our critical thinking skills. I thought this was a chance for us to have a taste of a real-life SMU seminar, and to see if we were suited to the SIS discipline. We were asked questions such as: “How many cups of Starbucks coffee are being sold in Singapore on a Friday afternoon?” I felt that this question allowed us to showcase our critical thinking skills. We had to make calculated assumptions in order to derive at a number, but the emphasis was more on the logic that we used to arrive at our answer, and not the actual numerical answer.

Some of my friends were asked to draw a simple mobile app interface during their interviews. I thought this was a simple yet effective way for us to gauge our interest in the SIS course, and for the professors to understand our thought and analytical processes.


Do you think the interviews are useful in assessing candidates’ suitability for each discipline?

The nature of the questions being asked is different across schools. I think this helps each school identify the key traits that make a student more suited to the particular discipline. For example, SIS may require students to do a simple mobile application interface design, which is related to the discipline and curriculum.


Did you feel that the interview was a challenging experience?

Some may say that the interviews are very harsh. However, I do not think that this is the case. Prospective students shouldn’t be afraid to express themselves because it does not mean that you will not get admitted if you make mistakes. The important thing is to be able to demonstrate certain qualities, such as your passion and interest in your chosen discipline.

Ong Yi Xuan, Year 1
School of Information Systems
Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Bsc (IS)
SMU Business Intelligence and Analytics Club, Consulting Director
SMU Scholars' Programme
Temasek Polytechnic