May Tay

Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Environmental Studies

Class of 2017, Singapore
Business Trainee at H&M (based in Sweden)

May Tay joined H&M’s Business Trainee programme after graduating and is now based in Stockholm, Sweden. As a Business Trainee, May is on an 18-month rotation programme across H&M’s buying, sales and production functions. Presently, she is a Business Controller Trainee for the Ladies Small Accessories section in H&M’s global head office. In her current role, she manages the budget for her section, leads buyers and buyer assistants to optimise the section’s buying strategy, and contributes to strategic analyses aimed at optimising sales.

In her final year as an Environmental Studies major, May was looking for roles in companies with a good environmental and social reputation, and found in H&M a good match in terms of career aspirations and values. H&M was looking for candidates with entrepreneurial qualities and international experiences, among other qualities, and May feels that her college education has put her in good stead – she was part of the pioneer class at Yale-NUS and had several opportunities to go abroad for field trips, summer school and student exchange.

May shares that her main challenges in working in Sweden are language and cultural differences, as well as climate. It was very challenging for May at the start because she did not speak Swedish and her working style was sometimes very different from her Swedish colleagues. May feels that while nothing quite prepared her for the big life transition, the international community at Yale-NUS cultivated in her a deep interest in foreign cultures and made her more positive about the adaptation process. To help with her transition, May also joined events hosted by the Yale Club of Sweden and met Yale alumni based in Stockholm.


“Yale-NUS brought out the entrepreneur and ‘do-er’ in me as students had to be extra proactive about our college experience, ranging from the kind of student clubs we wanted to join (we had to create every one of them), to the type of student government we wanted to have, and the various kinds of precedents we wanted to set. At Yale-NUS, I had the chance to found clubs, lead teams, and expand my horizon in every possible way through rigorous classes with professors and peers, the very diverse campus community and opportunities to spend time abroad on experiential learning.”