Monday, January 6, 2014

Christopher Choo, SDM '14: From the Singapore Grand Prix to MIT

Christopher Choo,
SDM '14
By Lois Slavin, MIT SDM Communications Director

It's been said that the best achievement is striving to surpass yourself, and that's something SDM '14 Christopher Choo knows a lot about. After several successful years working for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, the "next big thing" for Choo involves moving from the Far East to Cambridge, MA, then back to Singapore to earn two master's degrees in about two years.

Choo arrived in the United States in January 2014 to matriculate into the MIT–Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) Dual Masters' Program. The program offers outstanding individuals the chance to maximize their potential in the fields of technology and design. Successful applicants receive a range of benefits, including a full tuition scholarship to both the SDM and SUTD programs, a monthly stipend, round-trip airfare between the United States and Singapore, and more.

Choo will first spend one year at SDM completing the requirements for an MIT master's degree in engineering and management, followed by one year at SUTD to earn a master's of engineering degree in research.

Why would someone who already holds one advanced degree (a master's in computing from the National University of Singapore) want to pursue two more—especially when he already has such a fulfilling and exciting career?

Choo summed it up in three words: "acquiring new knowledge." He then elaborated: "SDM is ideal for someone like me who has varied interests across both engineering and management disciplines. Being plugged into the rigor of a full-time program in MIT's world-class university environment and an SDM cohort whose members have worked in different industries, in various engineering and technical positions, will be a great way to absorb cutting-edge knowledge fast."

Speed is one of Choo's specialties, thanks to four years spent working with the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix. There he was responsible for race circuit infrastructure, track lighting, civil works, telecommunications, site electrical, on-site broadcasting, and logistics services. He worked with technical consultants to develop client requirements, review project specifications, and procure equipment and services. He also developed plans with government agencies regarding infrastructure, traffic management, radio frequency allocation, and aerial filming operations. Previously, Choo worked with the Singapore Tourism Board, which laid the groundwork for his Formula One foray. In total, he's been involved in various capacities in six Singapore Grand Prix races.

Choo in the Grand Prix control room
SDM '14 Chris Choo in the control room of the Singapore Grand Prix
Upon completing the dual degree program Choo said he may return to the Grand Prix or he may decide—after researching and writing two theses in two years—that he wants to switch gears and try something new. "I believe that both degrees will help me develop a broader foundation in engineering and management that will lead to exciting prospects in future," said Choo.

Whatever he decides, one thing's for sure—Choo will be looking to surpass himself once again.

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