School Advisor Articles

Nicholas Goh: A Journey from Marlborough College Malaysia to Argus Media

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Jan 09, 2024

In the tapestry of education, some stories stand out as vibrant hues woven into the fabric of academic excellence and personal growth. The narrative of Nicholas Goh's journey through Marlborough College Malaysia is one such tale – a captivating odyssey of intellectual rigour, co-curricular brilliance, and the profound impact of an international school that goes beyond textbooks and classrooms.

As we delve into the chapters of Nicholas's academic sojourn, it becomes evident that Marlborough not only nurtured his intellectual prowess but also sculpted the contours of his character, propelling him toward a promising career in the dynamic realm of renewable energy.

“My experience at Marlborough was a colourful blur of classroom learning, sports matches, music and drama performances, dotted with random fun and celebrations that incorporated British and local Malaysian cultures,” Nicholas says.

After enduring three rounds of interviews, culminating in a challenging one-hour final case study, Nicholas secured a job at Argus Media.

Studying at Marlborough College Malaysia

 Nicholas fondly reminisces about the dynamic learning environment at Marlborough, where small class sizes allow for personalised attention, fostering an atmosphere conducive to intellectual exploration. “We had a nice setup at school for learning, with small classes of not more than 20 to help teachers focus on students,” he reflects. “Marlborough is also well equipped with high-quality facilities that can support the development of its students in non-academic endeavours, ranging from rugby/football pitches to music rooms and a well-fitted gym.”

The commitment to technology and well-equipped facilities added depth to the academic experience, offering ample spaces for study and state-of-the-art resources for non-academic pursuits.

Central to Nicholas's educational voyage was the robust system of pastoral support. Every student is paired with a dedicated tutor invested in both academic and non-academic facets of well-being. Nicholas acknowledges the profound impact of his tutor, who guided him and imparted invaluable life lessons. “I was lucky to have a tutor who was thoroughly invested in my well-being and shared numerous life lessons that I still apply to my daily life.”

Nicholas attributes a significant portion of his success to the enthusiasm of his teachers. Their passion for knowledge fueled his desire to learn and contributed significantly to his academic achievements. “The enthusiasm of my teachers allowed me to feed off their energy and kept me wanting to learn more.”

Participating in Model United Nations and IGCSE Drama significantly enhanced Nicholas’ (right) confidence in speaking and self-expression.

A Symphony of Co-Curricular Activities

Nicholas dived into a vibrant tapestry of activities, each thread weaving into the person he would become. Sports weren’t just a pastime; they were lessons in resilience. While a dalliance with rugby left its mark, basketball and tennis became his passions, requiring unwavering teamwork and the hard work ethic that still fuels him today.

Music, too, resonated with Nicholas. “I played violin for the school orchestra and the College string quartet. I would often be involved in any college event that required music, be it providing background music, college theatre production or performing at the end of year Prize Day.”

His participation in Model United Nations and IGCSE Drama also cultivated confidence and expressive skills. As the Co-chairman of the STEM Society, Nicholas delved into science and technology with friends, promoting curiosity and learning beyond the curriculum. He also served as a college prefect, honing his leadership and organisational skills and setting the stage for future responsibilities. “They each shaped me into who I am today.”

Choosing IB over A Levels: A Path of Growth and Exploration

Having spent three years immersed in the IGCSE curriculum under the same dedicated teachers, Nicholas felt deeply trusting and understanding of their methodology and expertise. He knew their passion for their subjects would continue to drive his learning. Beyond that, he craved a curriculum that nurtured his well-roundedness and pushed him beyond his familiar comfort zones.

“On top of taking the Higher Levels which I needed for studying chemical engineering at university, I was able to continue learning English Literature and Economics to a better standard while learning Spanish from scratch, and  this kept school life interesting and fun.”

All of these led him to choose the IB programme at Marlborough. Marlborough’s IB programme proved to be an eye-opening experience. The sheer volume of material compared to IGCSE was a shock, as did the relentless demands of university applications, internal assessments, the Extended Essay (EE), and CAS (creative, active, service) activities. Yet, the unwavering support of the teachers and school helped him navigate the pressures, ultimately transforming him into a catalyst for his time management skills.

“Some of my most fond memories in the classroom included attempting to make biodiesel out of used cooking oil for my EE, working out abstract mathematical concepts and having weekly Spanish conversational sessions outside class time,” Nicholas says. 

Beyond the academic rigour, the IB programme fostered self-discovery and exploration of future aspirations – something Marlborough excelled at. “They were great at supporting us by hosting university fairs, organising sessions where working professionals would come and share their experiences in their field and introducing career guidance-related online platforms to us.”

Marlborough’s Role in University Admission

Marlborough’s Higher Education team, which comprises teachers experienced with the university application process, became a crucial guide in Nicholas’s journey to Imperial College London. They provided strategic assistance in university selection, essay writing and interview preparation. “The team firstly helped me identify universities that would suit me, focusing on the US and the UK as they were my preferences.”

The team’s mentorship proved invaluable, ensuring Nicholas crafted a compelling personal statement and successfully navigated the complex admission process.

“The team also ensured that I had plenty of mock technical interviews to get me used to the process and as many resources as needed to prepare for any pre-admission tests.”

Nicholas graduated with a First Class Honours Master of Engineering (MEng) in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London.

Pursuing Passion at Imperial College London: A Dream Realized

Nicholas pursued his passion for renewable energy by studying MEng Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. “Renewable energy has intrigued me since I was a child, and I discovered that chemical engineering would likely be able to equip me with a broad set of knowledge such as in technical process design, economics, and problem-solving to guide me towards my dream of working in the energy space,” he says.

The skills and qualities Nicholas developed at Marlborough proved instrumental in his tertiary education and career. The rigorous academic preparation in IB translated seamlessly to university-level classes, and the emphasis on independence and time management became valuable assets in his post-school life.

“Post-school, it’s down to every one of us to motivate and organise ourselves to achieve what we want in life, so having this ingrained in me before going to university is a quality that I value.”

Today, Nicholas works at Argus Media, where he works on various energy-related projects, primarily in the biofuels and green hydrogen space.