Cindy Adriaan is one of our Alumni Ambassadors in South East Asia and was recently the joint recipient of the Outstanding Support of Student Recruitment Award at our inaugural The Bridge Alumni Awards. Cindy has supported our student recruitment efforts, from participating in the Singapore Alumni Fireside Chat with applicants and offer holders to providing personal testimonies about her experience at Dundee. Find out more in our Q&A with Cindy, who graduated in 2015 in Business Economics and Marketing.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Dundee?
There were many reasons why I chose University of Dundee. It happened to have all the criteria I was looking for in a University. I wanted to go to a University in Scotland. I love nature, I love whisky, I love history, and I love cold climates (but not too freezing) – what better place to go?
The University of Dundee was one of the few universities that had the degree that I wanted to take. I enrolled for MA International Business with Marketing, although I later switched some modules and ended up graduating with BSc Business Economics with Marketing.
I wanted a campus university where all (most) of our buildings are in one place, versus a University where the buildings are spread across the city (of course with the exception of Ninewells Hospital and some other specialised degrees).
The student experience was also high on the list of importance for me. The University of Dundee ranked #1 in Student Experience for many years straight in a row back when I first enrolled and remained so unill I graduated.
The cost of living was also one of my key considerations, and Dundee has an affordable cost of living as a city. I also wanted to be living in a single en-suite dorm room that is on campus for my first year at least – and the University of Dundee has plenty of choices for that. I stayed in Heathfield accommodation in my first year of studies. It was perfect.
What was your favourite thing about your course?
It was flexible. I was able to choose the modules that I wanted. Even though I had to change the degree I graduated with – I really wanted to graduate with a Scottish MA because I thought it was cool, but I figured the desire to stick to the MA was more for vanity reasons rather than the modules that would suit me, hence I was ok with changing the title in my second year. I’m glad the University of Dundee was flexible enough to allow me to make the changes.
My module lecturers were very helpful too. I remember having a few group projects where working with my teammates was not working – and not due to me not wanting to work with my teammates, my teammates just had some personal challenges, and the lecturers were understanding enough to allow us to work on the projects as and how we could. I had shown that I’m a team player in our Final Year Project where my team won the best presentation and were rewarded with Graduation Ball tickets. I was very thankful for this as the lecturers trusted us with our decisions, and it turned out to be very productive for all parties involved.
Did you join any clubs/societies when you were here? What extracurriculars did you do?
Yes, I started the Dundee University Boardgames Society (which still exists today) and University of Dundee British Red Cross Society. I was also active in the Latin Dance Society.
I did try plenty of other Societies and Sports Clubs as well. I’m very grateful that the University and Societies allow such flexibility for try-outs. I’ve tried Fencing, Archery, Boxing and Trampoline to name a few, and others.
I was also very happy that we have a gym on campus, and other local gyms very close-by.
What is your favourite thing about Dundee?
I love how friendly and safe the city is, and everything is within walking distance. The furthest I’ve stayed is around Seagate, which was only about 30 mins – 45 mins walk.
Alternatively, there are many options close-by to campus or on campus.
There are also enough options for entertainment – DUSA (Dundee University Students’ Association), Underground and pubs and restaurants all around. It was also very easy to purchase groceries – from Tesco to Lidl, and even to the affordable shopping in the Wellgate and Overgate shopping centres.
Scotland and Dundee truly feel like a second (or third) home to me.
What has your post-graduation journey been like?
The period immediately post-graduation was tough. I did not want to leave Scotland, and I faced reverse culture shock going back to Singapore.
But it all went well. Of course, “all good things must come to an end” – not my relationship with Scotland or Dundee, but being a student as an undergraduate in the University of Dundee in 2015. At the end of the day, I knew that I had to move on. Because what made the place amazing, was not just the place, but also the friends I’ve made – many of whom I’ve kept in touch with today.
I’ve always been very ambitious. So as much as I would be very happy in Scotland, I knew that I wanted to catch the economic waves in Asia, and likewise, I knew that my friends would be successful across the globe.
I have been successful in the tech industry. Starting out as a Sales Development Representative in Salesforce fresh out of graduation (www.salesforce.com), and being the youngest hired in the company. Now, I’m an Account Director in Gartner (www.gartner.com), being one of the youngest and one of the leads for Gartner’s expansion in the Indonesian market.
Overall, it has been a roller coaster journey emotionally, and a skyrocket journey career-wise.
What did winning the Alumni Award mean to you?
I’m very honoured and thankful for the award. I’m happy to know that my journey could be useful and helpful for others. Of course, it’s all thanks to our alumni officers and coordinators who have made keeping in touch with Dundee, the University of Dundee and Scotland possible.
I’m also very happy to see that the University of Dundee is really making its mark in the world. Recently, there were some discussions about the University’s partnership with Indonesian entities as well (labs or schools). I’m extremely happy to work with the University to build relationships in Indonesia and Singapore.
Alumni Relations: Do you have any future plans?
Of course! The question is: which plan?
The world is our oyster. I do hope that the world would be a safer, kinder and more sustainable place. Having been in Indonesia, Singapore and Scotland, I’ve seen how amazingly rich cultures can get, like Indonesia; how efficient people and organisations can get, like Singapore; and how eco-friendly and free a country can be, like Scotland. If only we can learn from one another and lift one another up. The possibilities are endless.