University Open Day! 🎉 and now… back to Dissertation Work! 💻📚🤓

Hi everyone,

It’s been a rather busy past few days last week will all that happened over the University Open Days on Friday and Saturday. I also headed to London on Saturday after my morning shift at the Open Day because a long-time friend had just come down from Ireland for a holiday so I had to meet him.

Let’s start with the University Open Days first. Unfortunately, I was running around all day and didn’t even have time to take a photo of it at all! 😢 I still had a fun day bringing prospective students and their parents to Surrey Business School for a tour.

I think the last time I spoke so much in a day was the last day in my teaching job. It’s that weird feeling where you perpetually have a very dry mouth and you keep drinking bottles and bottles of water. It did remind me a little bit of the tiring days of teaching, which isn’t as fun because you spend time raising your voice telling your students to behave! I probably shouldn’t have told my tour groups that I was a Masters student though, because the prospective students seemed to “back away” after that and it was the parents who asked me lots of stuff instead. Or maybe the prospective students were just really shy. Couldn’t stop thinking that they were all at least a full 10 years younger than I am, just like my final batch of students. Guess I’m really not that young anymore. Managed to have some very insightful conversations with the parents that again reminded me of my Parent-Teacher conferences back at my old job.

It’s just about under a year since I left my job teaching in a secondary school and to be honest, I don’t really miss it that much. Time has just gone by so quickly, I’m actually pretty sad that my Masters study is coming to an end because I’ve enjoyed the last 10 months of it. So as I’m working to finish up my dissertation, it also feels like I’m working towards leaving too. Let’s leave this at that for now.

I’ll now take you all the way to London where I met my long-time friend who took leave from his R&D job in Ireland to come down South to visit London. It was a rather strange day because it kept flipping between Sunny and Gloomy. Here’s the Tower Bridge when it was gloomy:

Given how gloomy it was, I had to tune up the colour a little bit when we took a photo together.

I’ve known Terence for around 15 years and we go way back to primary school (we were in the same primary school but I only got to know him when we both became classmates in secondary school) so you can probably imagine how old we are now…

Soon enough, the sun was back out and it was a good time for us to head to Trafalgar Square where the Canada Day celebrations were being held:

Look how the evening 7pm sun was bringing in that beautiful glow!

We’d both been away from Singapore for quite a while now so we needed to go somewhere that served legit Singapore food that wasn’t too far away and we eventually ended up at Gold Mine Restaurant near Bayswater and Queensway. The Roast Duck was really awesome because that “roast” taste is not easily found anywhere. I really do miss Singapore food because that local flavour is just so hard to replicate when you’re miles away from home. Next time, I’m going to try to head up to North London to where Singapore Garden is. Fellow Singaporeans say that there is where you really get a taste of Singapore!

Anyway, after all of that, it’s now time for me to get back to my Dissertation research again. Here’s a quick introduction to what it’s about since I’ve been saying that I’ll share something about it but haven’t come round to doing it.

As part of our MSc Business Analytics course, we’re required to do an Applied Dissertation that typically involves us taking on a real-world business problem and then using the analytics technical skills we’ve acquired (as well as as our prior knowledge in our work experience) to help solve that problem. Mine is the Bus Network Optimisation problem we have in Surrey County, i.e. beyond Guildford. I work with Surrey County Council using the bus data they have collected over the last year to develop a solution to encourage greater use of public transport (buses) across the County.

We’ve found that there are multiple factors that result in people choosing to NOT use the buses such as the lack of frequency, the price of the commute and the timeliness of the buses among other reasons. I’ve also realised on my observation rides aboard the buses that the payment method of using cash, in particular, coins tends to be a problem. Especially since many retail stores have favoured cashless payments these days, people generally tend to carry less coins now.

My Dissertation research revolves around how Contactless can change all that. We can learn from the prior successes of other implementations and hopefully deliver an improvement to the current public transport network in the near future. Unfortunately, there’s not much more I can disclose right now but hopefully, there will be more that I am allowed to share by the end of it.

That’s it for now I guess, nothing really exciting and fun when I’m not travelling all around. Just getting back into the rhythm of dissertation work again. Getting past that initial stage where there’s so much inertia dragging you back is really tough. I feel like right now, I’ve just got past that stage so I need to continuously be at it to keep the momentum going so that I’ll have a continuous flow of useful things to write over July.

Hopefully, I’ll have something interesting to share about soon, or if I’m going into my full focus mode on my dissertation, I’ll be back when I’ve got some photos to share. Until then, take care and God bless you!