What do you think the interviewers look for during the interview?

I don’t think the interviewers are looking out for anything in specific (e.g. outspoken personality, ability to answer a probability question correctly, etc.). Rather, I think they are more interested in the value that prospective students can add to the SMU student body. As long as you demonstrate a valuable trait and show that you are able to add diversity to the student body, I believe you would stand a good chance of passing the interview.


Can you share some tips things to take note of?

Be sufficiently prepared for the interview. Make sure you’re able to articulate why you applied, your interests, your strengths and “unique selling points”. Demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the course/school that you are hoping to gain admission into. Have this information at the forefront of your mind, but be sure not to script or over-rehearse your answers. A genuine, spontaneous response is what you should aim for.


What was the most interesting part of your interview?

I found it interesting that the questions asked were more general, and not necessarily specific to the school or to economics. However, this may be because I had applied for a double degree in Economics and Social Sciences, and a large part of my interview seemed to focus on the interplay between the two fields of study. I thought this made for an engaging discussion, and I had the chance to demonstrate my interest in these two fields.

The two professors who interviewed me asked a variety of questions, including the typical “Tell me about yourself,” and “Why did you apply for Economics and Social Sciences double degree?” questions. We also engaged in a discussion about my interest in behavioural economics, and the professors recommended some books and authors for my reading. As I was in the Science stream in JC, the professors also asked me why I had decided to switch from the natural sciences to the social sciences. The final question for the interview was a rather challenging, but fun one: the professors asked for my perspective on the increasingly intense competition that Singaporeans face due to the influx of foreign students/talent/immigrants, taking into consideration both the economic and social issues involved.

At that time, the issue of having too many foreign talents and students was a hot topic. I mentioned that I subscribe to the school of thought that having more foreign students isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as you would have to face foreign competition sooner or later. It’s more about how you cope with foreign competition. I went on to share my view that communication is crucial whenever policies are made, as policy-making often entails compromise from different stakeholders.


How did the interview process prepare you for your SMU journey?

Now that I’ve completed my education journey in SMU, the interview process is definitely a sweet memory. The interview was a great learning experience (as all interviews should be). It prepared me for SMU in the sense that it gave me a glimpse of what I would experience as an undergraduate – having to answer the professor’s questions spontaneously, defending my stand in front of the professor when probed deeper, plucking up the courage to pose questions to the professor, and of course, getting to know the professors better! That said, life in SMU is filled with surprises…be prepared for a fulfilling, interesting journey!

Chan Zi Yin Sharon, Alumni (Class of 2015)
School of Economics
Bachelor of Science (Economics) BSc (Econ); Bachelor of Social Science
SPRING Executive Development Scholarship; DBS Bank School Valedictorian Award in Economics
Raffles Junior College