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UA Alumni: Ng Yi Ming

Yi Ming was the Global Winner in Politics & Relations in 2021

I’m Yi Ming, an organizational sociologist studying the modern evolution of corporate capitalism. I’m presently a Research Assistant in Sociology at the Singapore Management University (SMU), and an incoming PhD student in Business & Sociology at Northwestern University. I graduated from Yale-NUS College in 2021 with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics & Economics, and received a master’s in urban studies from the Singapore University of Technology and Design in 2022.

What are you doing now, and what has happened since the award?

At SMU, I’m working on projects studying corporations that combine profit and purpose in Singapore, including social enterprises, certified B Corporations, and co-operatives. I basically interview CEOs of these unique corporations on their everyday activities, as well as analyze the impact data reported by these companies.

I received the Thomas Clarkson Gold Medal in 2021 for my undergraduate thesis on the driving factors of parliamentary representation of women and minorities in Singapore’s parliament. Since then, I’ve journeyed across five universities in Singapore as a master’s student and research assistant, exploring diverse fields from urban studies, public policy, and arts education, before settling on my upcoming doctoral field of sociology and organizational studies.

Where do your interests lie?

My research interests bridge the academic and economic worlds, and are the result of the cross-sectoral work experiences I’ve had. Before entering academia, I’ve had work experiences as diverse as assembly line worker of an air-con factory, automobile mechanic in the Singapore army, and venture capitalist at Southeast Asia’s first student-run venture fund.

Outside of work, I enjoy reading and exploring cities.

Has receiving an award for your hard work helped?

Receiving the Thomas Clarkson Gold Medal was a valued validation of my aptitude for academic research, which came at the time when I was just starting to seriously consider an academic career. I enjoyed sharing my research with global peers at the GUA Summit, which affirmed that this is the kind of work I like to do. The award also strengthened my PhD applications through demonstrating my research excellence, contributing to my admittance to top graduate programs in sociology and business.

What are your plans/dreams for the future?

I can’t wait to start life at Northwestern and Chicago, environments that strongly resonate with my academic interests and personal spirit. Beyond that, I hope to contribute to the ongoing shift in the global market from a profit-centric shareholder economy to an impact-centric stakeholder ecosystem. I believe that Asia will be a driver of this progressive market movement, and hope to return to Asia to further my research and contribute to local communities after my studies.

Why should students submit their work?

Because it’s fun! With the multiple categories, there’s a good chance that your work will be recognised. I find it a pity that so much good research by undergraduates does not see the light of day beyond their grading, so the Global Undergraduate Awards is a critical resource to publish and disseminate outstanding undergraduate work.