Establishing the Originally US Future Information Technology Leader Award at Singapore Management University. - Originally US
Establishing the Originally US Future Information Technology Leader Award at Singapore Management University.

We have just established our second student award with Singapore Management University’s School of Computing & Information Systems (SMU SCIS). 

The Originally US Future Information Technology Leader Award serves to identify and inspire individuals who portrays Originally US’s founding principles of Innovation, Craftsmanship and Trust.

This award will run for 3 years from 2023 to 2025.

You can find more details on SMU SCIS’s website here.

Our Managing Director, Calixto Tay, has a few words to say regarding the establishment of this new award.

I didn’t come from a rich family. 

My school fees were borrowed off my mother’s CPF savings (CPF Education Scheme). 

While my parents work hard to provide me with what I need so that I didn’t have to look for a part time job when I was schooling, I felt bad asking them for an expensive laptop for my studies so I asked my dad to buy me a $800 netbook. 

Compiling codes took more than twice the time compared to my peer’s laptop, but I was fine with that. The real killer was trying to draw ER diagrams and Database diagrams on a 10 inch screen.

In Year 2, I benefited from the SMU Merit Award and I was able to use that money to purchase a better laptop for my studies. I treasured that laptop and it is still in working condition even today, 13 years later.

The SMU Merit Award also partially funded by technoprenurship study mission to Beijing, which really opened my eyes to the world of global entrepreneurship.

I also sold the textbook marketplace which I founded in Year 1, using the proceed to fund my Korea Summer Exchange and pocket money for the rest of my time in SMU.

Upon graduation, I was conferred the Future Information Technology Leader Award, in recognition of my academic and non-academic achievements while I was in SMU. 

I used to joke that this was the best award available – the cash prize component of this award is even bigger than that of the Valedictorian Award – and I didn’t even have to make a speech during the graduation cermony.

I eventually used this prize money to kick start Originally US.

When I received the Future Information Technology Leader Award, it gave me the confidence and affirmation that I have what I takes to be a leader in Information Technology space – and it served as my guidepost for my life after graduation.

That was 10 years ago. The Future Information Technology Leader Award no longer exists.

Until today.

Now things have come full circle.

My company, Originally US, has now brought back this award for all graduating School of Computing and Information Systems students for the next 3 years. 

We hope to identify, encourage and inspire individuals who exhibits the 3 Originally US founding values of Craftsmanship, Innovation and Trust.

This is not our first award or donation. Earlier, we established the Originally US Top Third Year Student award which ran 3 years from 2020 to 2022.

We hope that with our contributions, the recipients of our awards would also come back to SMU to contribute and inspire the next batch of students.