The NTU Masters’ Prog Ladies FINALLY Get It? Or… Maybe Not

Interesting how my blogpost about the interview request email I received got me an assortment of comments – mostly offering their own similar experiences.

Anyway… the NTU Masters’ Prog ladies DID send me a reply (I wasn’t quite expecting it so kudos to them)…

Their Email:

Dear Grace

Thank you for your reply.
We appreciate your comments, and would like to apologise for rushing you on an interview request.
On hindsight, we should have explained our project more to our interviewees.
This has certainly been a valuable learning experience for the team.
Thank you once again.
Priyanka, Elizabeth, Rachael and Truda
  1. Theirs is indeed a polite email, offering not just an apology but also thanks. (Though they did not reply to my follow-up email)
  2. I do think they didn’t quite get my point – it’s not the “rushing” me for an interview bit that I wanted to communicate to them. It’s the lack of sincerity bit (the ‘not caring whether an hour of my time is precious to me or not’ bit).
  3. And no, I certainly do not think they should have “explained [their] project more to [their] interviewees”. What’s that saying again? People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care. I don’t want to know every single detail about your project. I want to know whether you care about me as a blogger, whether you care about how precious an hour of MY TIME is. If you care about me and what I do, I’d certainly WANT TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR PROJECT!
  4. If I come across as being overly harsh in my response, it is because I am appalled at receiving such an email from MASTERS’ PROGRAMME Candidates at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information! I had expected better-crafted emails. And it is also because I am brutally honest, sometimes.

To the people who posted comments expressing their indignation at my response:

  1. KAM: “Grace means doing something and expecting nothing in return”. Er… ok! Why don’t you give these ladies one hour of your time for nothing in return? And how does my name have anything to do with this? LOL! So a lady named “Rose” has to smell floral/good all the time? Please post something sensible, or don’t post anything at all. Thank you. 🙂 
  2. Nicky: You say that you are my “1st and never again reader”. Ok, goodbye!
  3. Anne: Again, the name argument, like KAM’s. Alright, how about I change my name to ‘Fierce’ then? Would it make better sense to you?

I DO admit that I can be BRUTALLY honest at times, I dislike receiving template emails, and I certainly cannot stand the way some people behave as if I OWE THEM SOMETHING WHEN I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT!

What might have happened if I had been “graceful” enough to reply to their email with my answers to their interview questions:

Here’s what a fellow blogger shared with me. He received the SAME email from the PERT ladies, and he actually spent half an hour crafting a reply to them. He is also one of Singapore’s top food bloggers:

 “Just to let u know. I replied them, by email. Only becos they are from my same school. I got a reply… These are not the answers we want because we have more questions but thanks. Somewhere along that line. Regretted wasting 30 min of my life typing a reply.”

I do not regret what I did, simply because the ladies DO NOT APPRECIATE our time.

And I will try to blog about them gracefully, if possible.

Another friend who saw the comment by the blogger who wasted 30 minutes of his life typing a reply to PERT, has this to say:

Especially of late, I’m receiving a couple of requests for meet-ups or phone interviews from the universities students. Hardly any one of the emails shared how the interview can benefit me in a tangible manner. It’s not that I’m stingy with time but I value my time than to give it off in a frivolous manner. I mean even if you 1) can’t offer anything tangible or 2) don’t know what’s tangible to me, at least 1) make intelligent guesses or 2) make an offer to find out how they can help me in my work. Cheesy as it sounds, it’s the small things that matter. None of the students did that and they just expect a standard copy-paste email template will get them the responses they need, when they need and how they need.

I think they have to learn it younger la. If not, when they go to the workplace, then they see our Western or other counterparts who are more adept at social intelligence and this kinda basic stuff. Then they get jealous and say, “hey, why i work so hard but i don’t get recognized but the (put in the nationality) knows how to (put in acts of social intelligence) get all the credit and opportunities”.

If you get it now, great. If not, too bad.


17 thoughts on “The NTU Masters’ Prog Ladies FINALLY Get It? Or… Maybe Not

  1. Grace, I’m agree with you. But I admire that you can write a blogpost in this way to guide them. It may cause such a number of opposition.

    • Xueen, well, I guess as bloggers, we get used to this. There will ALWAYS be opposition. There’s no pleasing everybody, so I just do what I think feels right to me. 😉

  2. Pingback: Why I Turned Down An Interview By NTU Masters’ Programme Candidates | Working With Grace

  3. i think this was a necessary post, and i’m glad to have chanced upon this as it will help me with my future communication with individuals i’m trying to get favours from. thanks for blogging about this!

  4. Hi Grace,

    I’m a new reader to your blog. Fantastic effort on the interviewees so kudos to that. 🙂 You were brutally honest about your standpoint as a potential interviewee, but it does hold weight. I guess many aren’t familiar with the nuances of how to ASK for help. No one is entitled to receive help and in this case, I did felt a tinge of entitlement in the ladies’ email. It also lacked the desire of wanting a genuine connection with you as a real person. It’s really not about getting something in return, but showing sincerity and empathy, since they are asking for help.

    Personally, I have emailed and called CEOs & business leaders for an interview and what you said about putting yourself in the interviewee’s shoes, is extremely useful.

    “Mr/Miss X, I understand you’re very busy and I respect your time” actually works pretty well. The bottom-line, if you’re asking for help, you had better put yourself in the other person’s shoes. No one is entitled to anything.

    P.S I have not read your book, but I’m going to get a copy. 😉


    • Hi Nathaddeus,

      YES! I’m GLAD you see my point! 😀

      Thanks for sharing about what you do to get interviews. 🙂

      I hope you’ll enjoy reading ‘Blogging For A Living’! See you around.

  5. I couldn’t stopped laughing when I read how these group of students wrote their email asking for what they want from you. They have yet to learn how to think from the customer’s point of view.

    ‘Give customers what they want, not what we want to give them’

    You gave them a good lesson, Grace. 😎

    • Hey Terence,

      I delivered the lesson. It is now up to them to learn something from it. 🙂

      Hopefully, they are not like the handful of goondus who leave comments about how I’m named Grace and should give away my time or help whenever people ask for it. *rolls eyes*

  6. “Hopefully, they are not like the handful of goondus who leave comments about how I’m named Grace and should give away my time or help whenever people ask for it. *rolls eyes*”

    ^ People like Kam and Anne are those whom I’ll classify under ‘oxygen thieves’.

    Seriously, if they’re judging people on how they should behave based on their names, then may God have mercy on those unfortunate souls with names like ‘Charity’. And then people called ‘Joy’ MUST be joyful all the time lest they get condemned by the likes of Kam and Anne. (woah, watch out for these two badasses!!)

    Since both of them believe that our names suggests who we are/should be, then I think that it’s only reasonable for us to gather that the name ‘Kam’ stands for ‘being an ignorant, judgmental and blabbering fool’. 🙂

  7. Hm. The usual critique of Singaporean grads applies here – super-exam smart and street-dumb. Unfortunately, I realised I could easily be guilty of this, too! There is a certain mechanistic, efficiency-is-productivity-is-value factory mentality we live and breathe that’s all around us here, about working as fast as possible to produce as much (whatever) as possible, and never mind how or why. What’s the fastest way to write this email and state everything we want? Ok, write, send! Without thinking about the recipient’s point of view or bothering to craft the communication.

    All in all, I think Grace is right. If we want an education system that produces good workers for the workplace as we purport to, a ‘learning outcome’ should be that students are able to convince other people ‘what’s in it for them’. Grace’s response probably taught them more about the real world than a few weeks’ of lecture. (Then again, my guess is that this project was also aimed at helping the students get their feet wet, so it seems to be serving its purpose!)

    I see this all the time. But I can’t really blame them, since our whole lives we’ve been taught to learn to the exam syllabus, rather than to ‘use your BLAIN, LAH!’ Certain young people today seem to feel rather entitled to royalty treatment (as if the world owed them a living) and beholden to no one, and I totally agree that they need to learn to fend for themselves before they go out to work and end up all jealous and feeling victimized because they don’t have those soft skills. Thanks for the sobering reminder.

    • You’re welcome, Lina. 🙂 Street-dumb? First time I’m hearing this. Nice! 😀

      Hopefully they learn. Or at the very least, they learn not to email bloggers anymore. LOL! I wouldn’t DARE send a PERT-style email to Xiaxue and have her respond. *shudder*

  8. I think I’m more interested to find out what is the reaction of their module /thesis lecturer/Prof when he/she has read your posts.
    Should be REALLY interesting. HA!

  9. I’m glad you blogged about this interview request….Being a university student, I think I may very well commit some of the same mistakes for the sake of “appearing professional” in my email requests for interviews! Thank you so much for sharing this =)

  10. This is a little late, but I received the same cut and paste email from the same ladies as well – except that I wasn’t even offered an email interview option. I didn’t reply them as well because frankly, by the time I got to reading their mail – I realized that that I was supposed to reply them a day ago.

    Anyway I’m glad I didn’t especially after reading your post above or I would have wasted my time as well.

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