Rarely do we have the luxury to be able to dabble in entrepreneurship while pursuing an education. SMU Snapshots had a chat with Gong Meng Yu, vice-president of SMU Real Business (SMURB), to find out what starting a business really entails. 

When Meng Yu attended her first SMU Vivace CCA fair, she felt overwhelmed and at a loss about what CCA to join. A love for travel led her to sign up for SMURB, where there was promise of overseas activities within the club.

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Team SMU at the Asian Students’ Venture Forum 2016

Soon enough, Meng Yu was invited to participate in a Business Plan competition at the Asian Student Venture Forum 2016, to be held in Seoul. Needless to say, she gladly took up the offer to travel with her teammates. During their time there, the SMURB team developed and presented their proposal of a clinic scheduling application that enabled appointments to be made virtually. They emerged with a Gold award.

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The team in Seoul

The reality of owning a business

Before joining the club, Meng Yu had little knowledge about entrepreneurship and did not know what to expect. One year of competitions, seminars and sharing sessions later, she is now more aware of the rigours of setting up a business. Meng Yu is also thankful for the opportunities she has had, to delve deeper into entrepreneurship and experience start-up life first-hand.

“Before experiencing the different phases of a start-up company, I had been attracted by the rosy picture that had been painted of building a start-up business – flexibility and freedom to do as you wish. But now, I realise it involves heavy responsibility. Aside from your own business, you are also responsible for people’s livelihood.”

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SMU Real Business

Real-world lessons

SMURB members often have the chance to meet home-grown entrepreneurs face to face and listen to their personal stories. Meng Yu recalls a personal sharing session by Rachel of Love, Bonito, which inspired her to join her first start-up.

“Being an entrepreneur means that you are working for something that you feel passionate about. I imagine that, the feeling of accomplishment from achieving your goal is unlike anything you will encounter while working in a large organisation.”

Growing SMURB, witnessing her seniors go abroad for internship, and hearing anecdotes about working life from the alumni has broadened Meng Yu’s thinking.

“It’s eye-opening how different people have extremely varied experiences. In SMURB, I have the chance to discover and explore the options available to me, and learn about the past experiences of my seniors and entrepreneurs. The sharing sessions are very useful in helping me to understand what can and cannot be done. Being in SMURB has showed me that the university is a place where you can have endless possibilities, if you keep an open mind.”

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For Meng Yu, she is excited about the uncertainty of what the future holds, and wants to take the opportunity to explore and try things that she’s never done before. Realising there are many others who, like her, are not certain of what they want out of school and life, Meng Yu adds after a long pause: “Follow your heart, stay open to trying new things, and be comfortable with who you are. Life is a constant journey waiting to be explored.”