Welcome to the latest installment of our new series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone and have recently graduated from their university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassadors program, and what they’re up to now.
Today we’re featuring Pei Seng Tan who graduated last summer from Universiti Sains Malaysia with a master’s degree in Data Science and Analytics.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you joined the program 3 years ago, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, and did you achieve them through the program?
At that time, I wanted to improve my cloud computing skills because I didn’t have many opportunities to acquire them due to my bachelor’s degree being in Mechatronic Engineering. For me, cloud computing skills are very important, as they can differentiate me from others. Especially when you have the name of “Microsoft” on your resume, that’s really good because as a fresh graduate, you don’t have many things to show other people, so if you’ve got some experience that other people don't have…become a Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador.
Before I joined this program, I was not really a good public speaker. I remember that I was very nervous when I did my first presentation in front of others. I wasn’t able to talk properly and share my ideas accurately. So how I improved was to join the program, which I think was quite helpful to me. Secondly, I joined competitions and practiced a lot, so that’s why I can share this fluently with you now--at least better than at that time because of this program. I don't know why the world is not designed for introverts, but it’s designed for extroverts--you need to know how to present yourself. Even though it is OK we don't have much technical skills, but you will not be OK if you don't have speaking skills. Generally speaking, this program improved both my technical and soft skills.
What have you been doing since graduation?
I managed to get my full-time job. I play a role as a Data Scientist and Full Stack Generalist with ViTrox Corporation Berhad. What I’m doing is more related to machine learning stuff and also a little bit of software development. I think you can also call me either a Software Developer or Machine Learning Engineer. So far I’m enjoying it. I also chose to pursue my part-time Ph.D. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Petronas.
In the Student Ambassador program, what accomplishments are you the proudest of and why?
For the past three years, I have successfully organized or co-organized around 30-35 technical workshops and sharing sessions. This is a very big achievement because the standard set for Student Ambassadors is one offline contribution per year, but I did more than that.
I was invited to speak in an orientation program to computer science first-year students with other Student Ambassadors at Universiti Sains Malaysia. I gave a 2 hour talk; the title was “How Microsoft transforms your undergraduate life”. The reason I wanted to talk about this was that most of the time, first year students don’t know what is their privilege. The school might subscribe to Office 365 or students could get Azure Student credit (Editor’s note: one of the benefits of joining the program), but students don’t know about it. This is what they should know. That’s why I took the initiative to talk about these to help them so they can fully use them to have a good start.
Another community event was when I was invited by a lecturer actually to talk about how to use the Azure machine learning studio for all the master degree students. Most of the time, the lecturers know a lot of fundamental theories, but in terms of technology, they are not up to date, so I was invited as a guest lecturer.
Is there anything you would have done differently while in the program?
I wish I had joined earlier, not during the final year of my undergraduate study so I can stay longer.
If you were to describe the Student Ambassadors program to a student who is interested in joining, what would you say to them?
The most powerful benefit is free Azure credit. It’s attractive. It’s a lot, which is equivalent to my food expenses for the whole month. You also get to know a group a people who are really passionate about tech. There are also additional rewards are like going to the Student Ambassador Summit.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
I will ask them to do it themselves first instead of waiting for assistance from others. Most of the time, if I want to organize an activity, I will try to get the resources by myself first. I organized activities not only limited to my own institution or university; I did go to other universities. Sometimes I will simply try to get a lecturer’s email from other universities and ask “Hey, I want to organize this event. Can you help me get all the resources like the venue?”
Some of the Student Ambassadors think that they are not qualified to speak or teach. My way is that instead of inviting an expert to chat, I’d rather train myself to be a speaker because then I can teach anything I want. You need to volunteer to be the speaker yourself.
Do you have a motto, a guiding principle that you live life by?
No. <laughs>Follow your heart.
Good luck to you, Pei Seng, in your future endeavors! If you'd like to get involved in the community, apply to join the Student Ambassadors program now.