Planning For An Artificial Intelligence Start-Up At NUS

As P Srivatsa is already planning to launch a smart systems start-up, the bond-free NUS Scholarship is his best choice.

Why did you choose to pursue your course of study at NUS?
I believe in the ability of ­intelligent systems and how they can soon become an integral part of all our lives. They have the potential to transform the way we deal with world problems. I hope to implement a start-up that would actively seek new ways to utilise smart systems in ­making the world a better place.

I believe that NUS offers me a plethora of opportunities that would help me realise this dream. One of the key programmes that really attracted me to NUS is the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) Programme. As an aspiring entrepreneur, working in a start-up while studying provides the right environment for me to learn on the job. This ­notion of learning through experience is not only limited to the NOC programme but also extends to many programmes in NUS, ­including the Innovation and ­Design-Centric Programme (iDCP). Such an approach to learning is something that ­resonates strongly with me, making NUS my top choice.

Why did you accept the NUS Scholarship?
I was fortunate enough to have ­­been ­offered scholarships by multiple ­scholarship providers. It was a difficult decision to make because each scholarship offered had its own merits. Ultimately, I chose the NUS Scholarship because it offered the most flexibility in terms of internships and opportunities. Furthermore, as it is bond-free, I have the freedom to explore practically anything – be it starting a new company or developing technical skills in deep learning (a branch of machine learning).

What was the selection process like?
The selection process was very straightforward. After submitting the application, I was invited for an interview. The interview with two professors from my faculty was very casual. It was a very interesting ­conversation on trends in the field of ­Artificial Intelligence and my interest in pursuing computer engineering. In ­retrospect, the experience was more enjoyable than daunting.
Why do you think you were awarded the scholarship, and what are the qualities a scholar should possess?
These are the five words that describe me:
Exuberant – Yay!
Compassionate – People.
Innovative – What if…
Inquisitive – Why?
Resolute – Off-by-one-error (OBOE), you are going down.

I don’t believe that every scholar possesses the same qualities as me, as ­everyone is different. However, I do believe that many of these words or their manifestations do appear in describing others who have also received this scholarship or are aspiring to be a scholar.

What are the benefits of taking up an NUS Scholarship?
The scholarship is bond-free, giving me flexibility in the early stages of my career. It reduces the financial burden on my family, especially when I have two younger brothers who are still in school. It also gives me access to the NUS Scholar Enrichment Grant, which minimises financial concerns, allowing me to focus on excelling in the programmes I intend to participate in.

How has your NUS experience been, and what programmes and activities have you participated in so far?
Receiving the NUS Merit ­Scholarship has allowed me to stay in Cinnamon ­College and it has been a great experience so far. Interacting with so many different people in the college has really helped me to be comfortable and engaged, while still experimenting with new ideas, interests and goals.
Along with taking advantage of the numerous learning opportunities that are readily accessible to me, I am also able to get involved outside the classroom. My learning does not stop with the lectures and tutorials; it extends to the engaging over-dinner discussions with USP’s (University Scholars Programme) Residential Fellows. The best part about staying on campus is that I can learn by freely indulging in my hobbies and connecting with people from a spectrum of cultural backgrounds – virtually at my doorstep. Be it playing a game of frisbee, a game of floorball or participating in a hackathon, I always have something to look forward to. Simply put, no two days have been the same.

P Srivatsa
NUS Merit Scholarship
www.nus.edu.sg/oam/scholarships
Age: 21
Now: First-year doing Computer ­Engineering and the University ­Scholars Programme (USP)
From: National JC

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