From Home to Abroad, and Back Home Again

By Saniya More

February 7, 2018
A photo of Kelvin Ang '08
Kelvin Ang '08

When Kelvin Ang ‘08 first moved from Singapore to Syracuse, the warmest piece of clothing he carried with him was a fleece jacket. Being at the Newhouse School has done more than just show him how to survive in frigid temperatures. Now back in Singapore working in corporate communications at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, the second-largest bank in Southeast Asia, Ang made some time to talk to the Newhouse School about his university experiences and his current job in public relations.

Saniya More (SM): What was it like to be an international student at Newhouse?

Kelvin Ang (KA): The biggest adjustment for me was outside the classroom. It was the first time I had lived away from home. The first winter was obviously a shock for me. I remember temperatures were just above freezing right as the fall semester ended, and suddenly one day, I woke up and it was five degrees. That was one eventful morning, indeed.

My Newhouse major was newspaper journalism. When I graduated from college 10 years ago as an aspiring sports writer, financial PR was nowhere on my radar, so it’s fascinating where life takes you.                  

SM: What do you do now?             

KA: My bread and butter is media relations. Because of how the industry is evolving, I have also spent an increasing amount of time developing content for social media and other digital platforms. Other major projects that I handle include branding, crisis communications and the production of our annual report.                                    

SM: Tell us about your professional path.

KA: I shipped off from Singapore with what I suppose was a rather naïve dream of becoming a sports writer. I started by covering a variety of news and sports beats for The Daily Orange, after which I spent a summer interning at a daily paper in Pennsylvania. Having that experience on my résumé helped me secure an internship covering the Milwaukee Brewers for [the] Major League Baseball website. I also interned at The (Syracuse) Post-Standard.

I was hopeful I had set myself up to land a job soon after I graduated, but as luck would have it, the economy decided to tank right as I was about to graduate. Combine this with the structural changes in the newspaper industry, and you can understand why major metro dailies simply weren’t hiring at the time.

I chanced upon a sports writer opening at a newspaper in a little town called Pocatello, Idaho. I sent in my clips, got a call from them a few days later and found myself driving four and a half days across America to Idaho, where I spent the next two and a half years. However, the newspaper industry was in the midst of some pretty scary changes at the time, and I decided to take my career in a different direction and enrolled in the University of Central Florida’s MBA and sport business management graduate program. At the end of the program, I spent a semester interning at ESPN’s headquarters in Connecticut before heading home to Singapore.                                              

SM: Why did you choose to return to Singapore?

KA: I’m not sure I could name  one single factor. It was a difficult decision and a big change to uproot myself once again, but something about it just felt right. I had been away from home for eight years, and at that point, I think I was ready to move on to the next stage of my life.

SM: What advice do you have for international students at Newhouse?

KA: Don’t worry about things that are outside your control, and focus on taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Things won’t be handed to you, so you’ll have to be active in seeking out internships, jobs and other opportunities that will get you closer to your goal.

I also honestly believe that no effort is ever really wasted. Even though I ended up leaving journalism, every one of the stops along my sports writing journey taught me lessons that I still carry with me today. They’ve made me a better person both professionally and in my personal life.

I can attest to the fact that there are opportunities waiting for you everywhere in life. They might not be what you had in mind originally, and they might not be where you thought you’d find them. But work hard, and you’ll ultimately find yourself in a good place.

Saniya More is a junior broadcast and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.