Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat: What Jack Ma and Steve Jobs can teach us about competitive advantage

Curiosity is one of my research areas of interest and it’s a topic I teach and cover in my modules. You could call me the Professor of Curiosity! I’m inherently curious, reading at least one book a week.

In the course of living what I hope to be a life of curiosity and meaning, I have drawn inspiration from other inquisitive people around me. Through this blog post, I hope some of that spirit will rub off on you.

Jack Ma and his friends were once googling for beer when he realised how difficult it was to find Chinese beer on the internet. It prompted him to create a homepage in Chinese. Within five hours of posting the page, he received five emails from people across the world, including in the US and Germany. The power of the Internet surprised him – one which he harnessed towards building Alibaba, now a Chinese giant specialising in e-commerce, retail, Internet, AI and technology.

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How I conquered the active volcano – Mount Rinjani

The sound of my alarm woke me at 1am. I woke reluctantly, watching through bleary eyes as the guides went around the tents, checking that we were awake before passing us our breakfast of bread spread thickly with marmalade and steaming cups of ginger tea. We gratefully gulped down the homemade ginger tea as it was bitterly cold, even when we were clad in layers of our thickest clothing. They made really good makeshift heat packs. We were looking forward to the summit climb, but not how cold it will be.

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Furthering dreams: We built six classrooms for children in Laos

Over the past two years, 11 teams of NTU students had been hard at work during semester breaks constructing a school annex at the Hin Heup District in Laos, a three-hour drive from Vientiane, its capital.

Students from the NTU Welfare Services Club, hall of residence clubs and other school and student groups were part of the Nong Luang Village School Annex Project to transform the lives of the villagers.

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5 reasons to start wakeboarding

It’s newbie-friendly
There is a misconception that wakeboarding is a competitive sport and you need prior experience to join the NTU Wakeboarding Club. When they started their journey with us, most of our members were new to wakeboarding. Many of them brought their friends along for wakeboarding sessions after enjoying their first experience on the water, and our membership has grown.

You don’t need to join the club to learn from us as well. In fact, we love to introduce the sport to everyone, members as well as non-members. We’ll guide you all the way, from putting on the board to taking your first steps. Many first-time wakeboarders pick up the basics on their very first session!
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8 ways to jump-start your start-up at NTU

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Do entrepreneurs need a university education? After all, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of university. However, they spent much of their formative years in university, and, for some, made connections during this time that would be vital to their success. There is an even longer list of successful entrepreneurs, like Jack Ma, Elon Musk and Larry Page, who graduated from university with excellent grades, too.

I believe that university is useful for building skills and networks that will be helpful for building your future business. The good news is, there are plenty of opportunities in NTU that set you towards your goal.

Here are eight steps aspiring entrepreneurs in NTU can take to kickstart their dreams. Continue reading

My thoughts this National Day

2E3A8348I spoke at this year’s National Day Observance Ceremony on 15 August at NTU. It was a timely occasion for me to share my thoughts on what it means to be Singaporean and how NTU can contribute to Singapore’s future.

Punching above our weight
Last Saturday was a historic day for Singapore and the world as Singaporeans erupted in joy and pride when 21-year-old Joseph Schooling took home the nation’s first Olympic gold medal. It certainly felt like we had all won the gold ourselves! Continue reading

I went to TED and this is what happened

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Not the fluffy, cotton-wool, snoozy kind of dreams. Big dreams. Bold dreams. Beautiful dreams. Dreams that will change the world.”

This was how Chris Anderson, TED Curator, sparked our imagination as a prelude to the TED2016 Conference. For five days and evenings in February, TEDsters from all over the world converged on Vancouver for the now legendary annual conference often described as the ultimate “brain spa”. With over 80 speakers and performers and more than 1,200 participants, the week was bursting with inspiration, imagination and ignition, and it did not disappoint! Continue reading

My Marco Polo adventures

China has always been on my travel bucket list. So when an opportunity came up to go on exchange with a university there, I was definitely not going to let it pass. In a regular meeting with my professor one day, he asked if I would like to go for a short exchange programme to study at Hefei University of Technology. For a split second, I thought he was kidding, so I jokingly said “yes”. Little did I know he was serious and three weeks after that meeting, I found myself boarding a plane to China.

As a first-time traveller in China, I experienced many new things during my exchange and also ran into a few hiccups.

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I climbed up to the school’s rooftop and was rewarded with this beautiful view.

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What’s buzzing at The Hive?

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I am very proud of our new learning hub, The Hive, and at its official opening last week, I shared in a speech my thoughts on why it is not just an eye-catching building but will soon become an icon of the future of learning.

Not your regular modular building stacked up like Lego bricks, it redefines university buildings with its unusual shape and use of space for learning in the 21st century.

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Why critical thinking matters

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As an undergraduate at NTU, I have found that critical thinking is encouraged in classroom discussions. In theory, the goal of critical thinking can be said to make you a devil’s advocate. No opinion or argument is flawless; you can and will, seemingly for its own sake, find fault with anything a person says. Of course, this sounds like a surefire way to gain unpopularity.

However, by moulding you into an independent thinker, critical thinking brings benefits that far outweigh its initial drawbacks.

Here are three reasons why critical thinking matters: Continue reading