Giving Students a Head Start

From struggling with finances when he was a student himself to now funding undergraduates across Singapore, Steven Lim (MSc (KM)’08) has always believed in life-long learning and giving back to society.

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Growing up, Steven Lim (MSc (KM)’08) had to take on multiple jobs to fund his tertiary education. He would wake up at dawn to distribute newspapers at HDB blocks, head to school right after and then tutor primary and secondary school students once his classes ended. He also worked in the McDonald’s closing crew and used what little free time he had to sell computers.

“My parents could not afford to send me to university so I had to settle it myself. Looking back now, I really don’t know how I did it,” said Lim. He added that his father, a fishmonger and the sole breadwinner of the family, often struggled to put food on the table.  

From humble beginnings, the CEO of IT solutions firm RSTN Consulting gifted $1 million to Nanyang Technological University on April 6 this year to kick-start the RSTN Scholarship and Bursary Fund for final-year students across all faculties. 

“I don't want kids these days to go through what I did. So, if I can give them a helping hand and a head start in their life, why not?” said the 54-year-old, who added that he has also donated to the Singapore Management University and will be donating to the National University of Singapore next year. 

He added: “If one day they reach a point in their lives where they can afford to pay it forward, I hope they will give back to society and help future generations.”

Lim co-founded his IT solutions firm in 1997 with three other partners. The company, which offers business process management and enterprise content management solutions, has since expanded its reach into over 30 countries with about 86 employees across Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

“I don't want kids these days to go through what I did. So, if I can give them a helping hand and a head start in their life, why not?”

STEVEN LIM (MSc (KM)’08)

After starting his business, he wanted to learn how to utilise the knowledge he had more effectively. He then decided to enrol into the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information to study Science in Knowledge Management in 2006. 

Lim recalls struggling to juggle between work and school assignments, sometimes reaching home at midnight after classes. Despite the challenges he faced, Lim graduated at the top of his cohort.

“I didn’t really care about the score, but I felt proud when my name was called a couple of times on stage,” said Lim. 

While it has been over a decade since Lim completed his Masters, his final goal in the pursuit of education is to get his PhD. With a personal interest in cybersecurity and warfare, he is looking to enrol at King’s College London where he will pursue research in War Studies.

As he grows older, Lim wants to start taking a back seat as an advisor. That way, he would be able to leverage his knowledge and connections to assist new leaders and also semi-retire into teaching one day.

He said: “I can go back to school to teach some part-time courses in WKWSCI, perhaps a free two-hour lecture on a whirlwind tour of the state of IT. I think it would be very interesting for everyone.”

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