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Updated: September 15, 2013 10:03 IST
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East meets West

hari krishnan rajaraman
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Hari Krishnan Rajaraman
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Hari Krishnan Rajaraman

One programme, two campuses, different cultures. Hari Krishnan Rajaraman shares his rich and varied experiences in Singapore and the U.S.

My primary motive ‘to explore different parts of the world’, and my ambition to gain world class education led me to pursue a Double Master’s in Logistics and Supply Chain Management in National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore, right after my Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.

As part of the programme, I spent my first semester at the NUS, an elite university in the bustling city state. Like all students, the first of many shocks that I got was the English accent of the professors and my peers from different parts of the world. At times I even had to listen to video recordings to understand the lectures.

The next challenge I faced was coping with a tough schedule of academic courses to complete the semester. Unlike my undergraduate education, where library was a place which I had seen only in the Campus map, I spent most of my day in the NUS Library to refer to various books and journals to complete my assignments. Thanks to the world-class library resources and the highly knowledgeable and supportive faculty, I was able to gain strong foundation in the subject.

I loved my time at the coffee area inside the library called “The Perk Point” where one can get the most peaceful nap of one’s life and recharge for the next session of study!

The student association in the university serves as a great platform to showcase talent during events and festival seasons. Though the decent size of the Indian population in Singapore made me feel I was not far from home, it was not a food-friendly place for a vegetarian; I started cooking my food most of the days. With so much self-cooking, at the end of six months, I even developed the confidence that I had a side-business to run just in case!!!

U.S. sojourn

After the first semester at the NUS from August 11 to December 11, it was time to fly to Atlanta for my second semester. The classes at the department of Industrial and Systems engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, gave me the utmost excitement and urge to learn as I was listening to and working with professors whose work in supply chain management served as textbook material and references for many universities in the world.

The way of learning here was quite different; it was through discussions, group projects and visits. As a part of the curriculum, we had 10-15 class-tours to huge logistics facilities in and around the state of Georgia, where we got the chance to interact with people in the industry. It helped us understand the operations of the industry better and for some of us even in finding the right jobs.

With the temperature in Atlanta dipping, I enjoyed midsnight walks around the campus and car drives around the city with three layers of thick dresses! I also had a chance to visit places like the Niagara falls, New York and Florida during my Spring and Summer breaks thanks to my special group of friends in Atlanta. With six months each in the East and the West, I satisfied my urge to see the world and at the same time gained valuable experience to learn and see how the industry operates in both parts of the world. It helped me secure an internship and subsequently a job offer at Unilever Asia Private Limited in Singapore.

The writer recently graduated from both the universities with two Master’s degrees and is at present employed at Unilever, Singapore. Email:

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