First American Enrolls in Dual Masters Program

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Historically, the Dual Masters program between Georgia Tech's Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) is generally populated by Asian students. In fact, of the eight classes of students so far, not one has been from the United States. Kevin Keene, BS ISyE 2006, broke the mold being not only the first American in the program, but the first Georgia Tech graduate too.

Keene's involvement is surely the first of a movement of Georgia Tech's students to get involved with this international program. "It demonstrates that U.S. college students, particularly those who attend Georgia Tech, have a global view and desire a graduate education experience with a strong international flavor,* said Harvey Donaldson, Director of the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute and Associate Chair for International Programs at ISyE.

When Keene graduates from the Dual Masters Program in December of 2009 he will acquire a Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from NUS and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from ISyE. "The Dual Masters program is one of many masters degree programs that seamlessly integrate a Georgia Tech degree with international study and travel opportunities,* said Donaldson.

On being the first American student to enroll, Keene says, "It's fun and an adventure*. I enjoy being a trailblazer.* Following the traditional course, Keene just completed his first semester in Singapore at NUS taking six classes. The rigorous education he received during his undergraduate tenure helped prepare him for the course load. However, one glaring difference between the educational systems of the two cultures is the importance of tests versus homework. Keene emphasizes that at NUS, the courses generally had one project and a final; this is in contrast to Georgia Tech, and the general consensus in many American studies, where grades depend on multiple tests, continuous homework, and projects throughout the semester.

In addition to the transition between educational styles, Keene has also had to adapt to cultural and geographic changes as well. Because of his study abroad in Hong Kong during undergraduate education, Keene felt prepared for the shift to Asian cultures. Also, Keene noted that Singapore is a westernized city where English is commonly spoken and public transportation is a cinch. He says, "They are so international with all the cultures that they have gotten used to accommodating non-natives.* One tough adjustment for Keene: the weather. While used to the temperate climate of Atlanta, Georgia, Keene struggled to get used to the consistently 90˚ weather with 90% humidity all year round. On the bright side, Keene says, "I got a little tired of sweating everyday, but I never had to look at a weather forecast.*

After a challenging spring semester (6 ISyE courses, seminars, projects, tours) and short summer term (two courses) at Georgia Tech, Keene will return to Singapore to participate in an internship, completing his Dual Masters degree in a year and a half in December. He is currently looking for that crucial internship, using contacts at NUS. Because the internship will be conducted in Singapore, Keene hopes it will open doors to the international supply chain industry. His sights are currently set on working with the Port Authority in Singapore. This internship will hopefully serve as a launching point for his career. Keene hopes that this internship abroad will provide him with a testing ground to see if he likes living and working in Asia. "The big opportunity of the [Dual Masters Program] is the internship,* raves Keene.

After living as a Singaporean and maintaining the excellence required by both academic institutions, several words come to mind to describe Keene: academic drive, professional excellence, international ambitions, and trailblazing mindset. The combination of these and other traits perfectly suited Keene to be the first American to enroll in the Dual Masters Program. Some lasting advice from Keene on the value of the program, "I don't know of any other program where you can get two masters in a year and a half. With only one year of classes; you get work experience, work experience in Asia, and an excuse to go and live in Singapore for a year. That's a 'win win win' for me!*

Since its inception in 1998, the Dual Masters Program has graduated students from Singapore, China, India, Pakistan, Norway and the ASEAN countries. After 8 intakes of students, the U.S. can now be added to that list. The Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering works in conjunction with The National University of Singapore's logistics department, The Logistics Institute-Asia Pacific,and the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute.

Drawing on the academic standing of both NUS and GT, the Dual Master Program (DMP) is tailored to train logistics professionals for strategic and management roles in their respective organizations. The DMP is a one-and-a-half-year (full-time) or two-year (part-time) program with a single intake commencing every August. Students spend the first semester at the National University of Singapore and proceed to full-time study for the Fall and Summer terms in Atlanta, U.S.A. from January to June, before returning to complete the program at the National University of Singapore.

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  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Created: 02/04/2009
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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