Almost seven in 10 Nanyang Technological University (NTU) graduates from this year's cohort secured jobs before graduation, according to a university survey carried out at the end of last month.

Double-degree students reading accountancy and business did especially well, with nearly nine in 10 finding jobs prior to graduation.

For the top 10 per cent in this group, the average starting salary was $8,254 a month.

Many of the fresh graduates attributed their job-hunting success to their internship experience during their university years.

Such was the case for engineering graduate Lim Zhen Long, who joined Procter & Gamble's (P&G) Prestige business unit here in May after a two-month internship at the firm last year.

"In fact, the promise of a job after that internship was the main draw," said the 25-year-old. "It's well known among students that companies hire back a large percentage of interns."

Although he received an overseas job offer to work for energy company Halliburton in the United States, he turned it down for the post of demand planner at consumer products company P&G because he enjoyed his stint there.

"It was important to me that I was going back to somewhere familiar, where I knew I would sit well," he said.

Speaking at the first of the university's graduation ceremonies yesterday, NTU president Bertil Andersson announced that a record 87.19 per cent of this year's graduates contributed to the university, raising more than $120,600.

"Each year, it warms my heart when I see the graduating class making a class gift to help their juniors - even before they have drawn their pay cheque," he said at the event, which was attended by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

Among this year's crop of fresh graduates is the pioneer batch from NTU's sport science and management programme, several of whom are national athletes.

One of them is national sailor Jovina Choo, who runs her own social enterprise, Dream+, which aims to build rapport with young people and instil values through the medium of sports.

Having more time on her hands as a fresh graduate, Ms Choo has "kicked up a few notches" where Dream+ is concerned and plans to reach out to young people at risk.

"We want to engage them so they can be in an environment where people can support them," said the 23-year-old.

Honorary degrees were also presented to three illustrious recipients, including PUB chairman Tan Gee Paw, at yesterday's ceremony