Ex-boss' words spur him to be a grad

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: Mr Brian Neo's former boss believed that he could do better than a GCE O-level certificate, so he studied for a degree. His wife, Ms Melissa Teo, has followed suit.


    Sep 24, 2013

    Ex-boss' words spur him to be a grad

    MR BRIAN Neo is 41 years old - and he has just become a graduate this year, thanks to his former employer.

    Recalled Mr Neo: "My boss told me one day, 'your career will not stop at driving lorries'."

    That was 17 years ago, in 1996, when he was a lorry driver at global logistics and transport giant FedEx.

    The vote of confidence spurred Mr Neo to arm himself with more than a GCE O-level certificate.

    Now a regional sales manager at a global security firm, he is a proud holder of the Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Business Administration conferred by the University of Portsmouth in Britain. He completed the programme through distance learning at Singapore-based private institution Informatics.

    On finally getting a degree 17 years after that "lorry-driving" remark, Mr Neo said: "You can do it, with enough determination and perseverance. Nobody can stop you from learning."

    Of course, the support from Informatics made a big difference, too, Mr Neo added. He is especially thankful for the flexibility that Informatics allows, as well as the school's dedicated lecturers.

    Once, when he was swamped by work and forgot the submission deadline for an assignment, his lecturer gave him a personal reminder to submit it.

    That reminder meant a great deal, said Mr Neo, as submitting an assignment late would have earned him a pass or fail grade - instead of a letter grade - which would have affected his overall results.

    "As working students juggling work and studies, we really appreciate that the lecturers go the extra mile," he said. "To me, they are not lecturers but friends, too."

    Informatics also allows part-time students like him to catch up on missed night lectures, through day lectures or the school's online portal.

    In the light of Mr Neo's positive learning experience, it is no surprise that his wife, Ms Melissa Teo, 41, has taken the leap, too. She is currently pursuing the same degree.

    The credit-risk manager, who works in a petroleum company, said getting a degree has always been her dream, but family commitments had held her back.

    Now that their two daughters are in their teens, Ms Teo thought it was the right time to return to school. And doing that has had positive effects on their children, too.

    "When they see us working hard on our assignments, it motivates them to do the same," she said.

    While it has been 17 years since she was last a student, Ms Teo finds her new learning experience far from daunting, thanks to the approachable lecturers at Informatics.

    "If I encounter any difficulties, I can just call them. There isn't any barrier," she said.

    But the best support comes from her husband, who takes pride in being her "private tutor".

    "If she hits a roadblock in her schoolwork, my phone will ring. If I can't answer her questions, then I will ring the lecturers," Mr Neo said with a laugh.

    Why choose Informatics?

    Brian: Informatics is very thorough in briefing us about course requirements and challenges we might encounter. It helps us to be mentally prepared for what we want to do.

    Melissa: It is conveniently situated in the heart of the city, which is also very close to my office.

    How has your education at Informatics helped in your work?

    Brian: I'm more aware of differences in working cultures across countries, which is very important for me as a regional sales manager.

    Melissa: I have become more well-versed in my understanding of what goes on at the front end of businesses, such as the lingo.

    What do you like about your classes at Informatics?

    Brian: They are interactive and the lecturers use real-life examples to explain the business theories, which makes lessons interesting.

    Melissa: The lecturers are open to questions and discussions, and are very passionate in imparting their knowledge.

    For more information on the courses offered at Informatics Academy, visit www.informatics.edu.sg