NTU Master in Industrial Engineering | Graduate to Full-time Professional in Taiwan

Rachel Valentina

Master :

National Taiwan University (臺灣大學) – Master in Industrial Engineering

Bachelor :

Binus University – Industrial Engineering

Current Job :

One of the biggest international semiconductor company in Taiwan – Project Manager

Undergraduate Journey – Before Coming to Taiwan

Study conditions before studying in Taiwan – undergraduate life

I studied for my bachelor’s degree at Binus University, located in Jakarta which is my hometown. I chose to pursue a major in industrial engineering. During my studies, the industrial engineering program was divided into three departments in the fourth semester. It was at this point that I decided to specialize and focus more on the field of supply chain.

Why did you want to study abroad for your master’s degree?

Studying for a master’s degree has been my lifelong goal, ever since my high school days. In my opinion, pursuing a master’s degree not only allows me to acquire a deeper level of knowledge but also enhances the prospects of having higher-paying job opportunities.

The reason why I want to study abroad is that I want to step out of my comfort zone. Having completed my bachelor’s degree in my hometown of Jakarta, I really want something different with my master’s degree to be filled with exciting new experiences. As a person with a keen interest in diverse cultures, I believe that studying abroad is an excellent choice. At that time I thought, I didn’t want my university years to pass by without embarking on new and exciting adventure experiences. 

Master’s Degree Journey – Discovering Taiwan

The Rationale behind Selecting Taiwan and NTU (National Taiwan University)

Originally, my plan was to pursue my studies in Japan, as I really love everything about Japan, particularly its rich culture. However, while researching potential universities, I recalled that my cousin was studying his second year of his bachelor’s degree at NTU in Taiwan. He highly encouraged me to study in NTU as it is the best university in Taiwan. 

Intrigued by his suggestion, I decided to apply for admission to NTU. The tuition fee was remarkably reasonable, and the admission process was very simple with the acceptance news came out very soon after. What’s more, I was awarded an international student scholarship that included a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend.

Given these favorable circumstances, I made the decision not to apply to universities in Japan. Another factor that influenced my choice was it was hard to obtain a scholarship in Japan due to my limited proficiency in the Japanese language. However, at NTU, despite my not-so-good Chinese language skills, I was still able to secure admission and receive a scholarship.

Why did you really choose to study Industrial Engineering?

I made the decision to continue studying the same major, industrial engineering, which I had chosen during my bachelor’s degree. Personally, I believe that focusing on one major throughout my academic journey is more beneficial than pursuing different master’s degrees with my bachelor’s degree. Another reason why I chose industrial engineering was because I have a genuine passion for the subject, and I have always found the related subjects to be enjoyable and never burdensome.

The Unforgettable NTU Class that Will Leave You Speechless!

One of the most memorable experiences during my master’s degree was studying dynamic programming. This subject delved into the application of stochastic dynamic optimization methods in both theory and practice. What made this experience even more remarkable was the fact that the professor who taught this subject also served as my thesis supervisor.

I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions I had with him during class. He presented every material combining theory and practical aspects in a well-structured manner. His explanations were clear and concise, ensuring that the concepts were easily comprehensible. Furthermore, his instruction was conducted in English, enabling me to fully grasp and understand everything he taught.

Looking back, I realized that there wasn’t a specific course during my time at NTU that directly relates to my current career. However, the education I received at NTU has greatly influenced my professional development. It formed me to have a strong sense of discipline and a systematic approach to problem-solving. These qualities have proven to be invaluable in my job, allowing me to effectively manage tasks and achieve successful outcomes.

What were the most challenging/frustrating things you encountered when you first started studying in Taiwan?

When I initially arrived in Taiwan, my proficiency in Chinese was not good. I hadn’t had many opportunities to study the language while I was in Indonesia because I was primarily focused on my thesis. Communicating in daily life was quite challenging at first. However, as months and years passed, I gradually improved my Chinese skills. Fortunately, the majority the master’s subjects in NTU were taught in English, which greatly facilitated my study.

In my department, I faced a particular challenge when it came to studying programming. During my industrial engineering studies in Indonesia, we primarily focused on database-related topics. Therefore, I was taken aback when the professors here introduced advanced programming concepts, as Taiwanese students had already been exposed to programming since their bachelor’s degree. Therefore, I took the initiative to study basic programming provided by YouTube by myself and asked my classmates when I encountered any difficulties in it. When I found any difficulties in doing the homework, I usually tried to find the Teacher Assistance who always provide with assistance.

Life sharing during studying in Taiwan, leisure and entertainment arranged outside of studying, travel experiences in Taiwan, Asia, etc. 

While studying in Taiwan, I came to the realization that I didn’t want to limit my experiences to only academics matter but to also explore exciting destinations in Taiwan by engaging in leisure activities. I had the opportunity to visit various cities, including Taichung, Hsinchu, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Hualien, and now Taoyuan, where my company is located. Among these, Hualien left a lasting impression on me.

During the summer break, my aunt visited Taiwan, and we decided to go on a travelling. That’s when I discovered Klook, a website that allows users to discover and book attractions, tours, and transportation. It was through Klook that we stumbled upon a one-day mini-tour to Hualien. Without hesitation, we booked the tickets, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to explore Hualien with my family.

Hualien boasts breathtaking scenery that left me mesmerized. The hills there look like those found in Europe. In my perspective, the unique thing about Hualien is that the atmosphere is different from the other cities in Taiwan. It is very peaceful and unique. I really had an amazing experience travelling Hualien and I would strongly recommend anyone to visit the city for recreation.

Cost of studying in Taiwan

The tuition fee for international students pursuing a master’s degree is approximately 60,000 NTD per semester. However, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship that covers my tuition expenses entirely, along with a monthly stipend of up to 6,000 NTD. The dormitory fee for a two-bedroom shared room is approximately 15,000 NTD per semester.

Considering my monthly expenses, which amount to around 12,000 NTD, I usually use 6,000 NTD from my own funds since I receive a stipend of the same amount.

Guidance for Indonesian Students Planning to Study in Taiwan

If you could provide guidance to Indonesian students who have approximately 1-2 years remaining before their intended studies in Taiwan, what advice would you offer?

If you are considering pursuing a master’s degree in Taiwan with the intention of returning to Indonesia for your future career, it is enough to have a basic understanding of the Chinese language. Most of the subjects in master’s degree programs are conducted in English. However, if you have plans to work in Taiwan after completing your degree, I strongly recommend investing time and effort into improving your Chinese language skills. Proficiency in Chinese becomes crucial for the workplace and significantly enhances your job prospects in Taiwan. It enables easier communication and opens up more opportunities for job search within the country.

After Graduation Journey – From Expo to Employment

How did you find a full-time job during your university studies?

In NTU, we have an annual job expo where companies gather, providing an excellent opportunity for students to explore job prospects. On the day of the expo, I came prepared with 15 copies of my resume, which I distributed to companies that caught my interest, particularly those in the semiconductor industry. After handing out my resumes, I would inquire if they were available for interviews on the same day.

Prior to the job expo, NTU typically shares a map and list of participating companies. However, since the names of the companies are in Chinese, which might be unfamiliar to international students, I took the initiative to translate the names of manufacturing companies. For me, it was important to find a company with an international-friendly environment. This aspect is more important than specific position or salary. I feared that even if I worked for the best company, if the primary language used was Chinese, I might struggle to adapt. Hence, I focused on identifying companies with headquarters outside Taiwan, as they often have a more international work atmosphere.

From my perspective, searching for job opportunities through university job expos is more advantageous compared to online platforms like 104 or Cake Resume. The admission process is typically simpler, and there is often no need to go through human resources (HR) departments. After the interviews at the expo, it is common for companies to announce the results promptly, allowing us to know if we have been admitted or not.

Full-Time Job Opportunity: Project Manager at semiconductor company

I am currently employed at semiconductor company in the role of a project manager. In my position, I primarily focus on managing projects related to training. One of my key responsibilities involves overseeing the training programs for newly hired employees as well as senior engineers. These programs include various tests with minimum passing scores. Upon successfully meeting the requirements, individuals are awarded certifications that validate their skills and knowledge.

However, in cases where someone does not achieve the minimum passing score, we provide special attention under the guidance of the respective managers to help them progress and improve their performance.

Current job – daily work sharing

During my bachelor’s degree in Indonesia, I had the opportunity to complete two internships. The first was with Astra Daihatsu Motor as a purchasing intern, and the second was with Telkom Indonesia as a business analyst intern. Comparing the working atmosphere in semiconductor company, Taiwan, I noticed several differences.

One notable difference is that Taiwanese professionals tend to have a stronger work ethic. In Indonesia, when it is time to finish work, most people simply head home. However, in Taiwan, even when it’s time to leave, many colleagues choose to stay a little longer to complete their tasks. While my designated working hours are until 5 pm, it is common for my Taiwanese coworkers to stay until around 7 pm to ensure their work is completed.

Moreover, I observed differences in the attitudes of Indonesian and Taiwanese employees. Taiwanese employees generally display a more positive attitude toward their work. In Indonesia, it often appears that employees are not fully engaged or enjoying their work, whereas in Taiwan, there is a noticeable passion for work. I believe this may be influenced by the disparity in salary ranges between Indonesia and Taiwan. In Indonesia, the salary range is typically lower, which may lead employees to have higher effort compared to the compensation they receive.

Working at semiconductor company has been a truly enjoyable experience, characterized by a positive, international-friendly environment, and motivated workplace atmosphere.

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