Get Set For A One-week Immersion In Global Business

One Week Immersion In Global Business

Once you enrol in the Nanyang Fellows MBA programme, you’ll need to start packing your bags and getting yourself into adventure mode. While the course will begin at our Singapore campus, midway through the programme, you will get the opportunity to travel abroad for a week-long eye-opening experience known as the Overseas Business Study Mission. 

Here’s why the Overseas Business Study Mission (BSM) is a valuable component of the Fellows journey.

  • Introduction to New Dynamics

Even though NBS faculty come from all over the world and every key industry, there’s a big difference between what you learn in the classroom and what you learn when you are thrown out of your regular comfort zone. The objective of being a part of the Fellows MBA is to gain a broad knowledge of both Asian and global business practices. On your BSM, you will get to apply whatever you’ve learnt to a foreign business scenario. Exposure to a new culture, society, politics and business dynamics will help you pack your dissertation with unique real-world knowledge.

  • An Intensive Case Study

Before you head off to your BSM, you and your faculty advisors will decide on a specific topic or issue to cover in your selected location. It will certainly be a subject that interests you and pertains to your career goals. When you reach your destination, you’ll study the relevant segments of business and industry there, including corporate and government entities. Topics for the case studies sometimes involve investigating and reporting on a potential new business or geographical area. The best way to gain insights is to let your critical thinking, understanding and appreciation of the fresh environment combine with what you’ve learnt from your coursework.

  • Previous Locations

Fellows candidates in the past have travelled to the Silicon Valley, New York, London, San Francisco, Athens, Toronto, Tokyo, Bangalore, Dublin, Brussels, Munich, Cambridge, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Sydney, Berlin and Copenhagen.

  • The Outcome

The BSM encourages independent research with an open mind and the analytical skills that you have acquired over the years at work and at NBS. You’ll need to spend your month wisely and speak to consumers, suppliers, company executives and others to get your data. Prior to completing the BSM programme, you will also be expected to present a written report to the company that you’d be working with there.

If you take a look at the Nanyang Fellows website, it will be clear that the course modules are challenging and go deep into every possible area that future business leaders should excel at. Still, we believe in giving our students an extra edge – hence, the carefully tailored BSM.

Challenge your current understanding of the world. Aim for greater insight into cultures, technology, people and global economics. Look at every aspect holistically. That’s what true leaders do!

Business Study Mission to Myanmar – The Last Asian Economy Frontier

So we went to Myanmar for our Business Study Mission (BMS). Considering the other exotic places that previous cohorts visited (cue: Tokyo, Berlin, Copenhagen, etc), Myanmar does not exactly fit into the kind of exotic country that most of us had in mind. Nevertheless, we were looking forward to visit this Asian last frontier economy and see what it can offer.

Networking Dinner at Myanmar

I shall not bore you with the details of our trips. I mean you can expect the usual company visits, cultural site visits and networking lunches and dinners. And some of us ate the fried crickets over dinner as part of immersion.

But what really strikes me is the warmth and optimism of its people. Almost everyone we met believes their country has turned the corner and things will start to improve from now. There is the young banker who abandons his promising banking career in U.S. to join a Myanmar bank. There is the Singapore-born Australian who is happy that his decision more than 10 years ago to bring his business to Myanmar is starting to pay off and he has proved his early detractors wrong.

Well, after the BSM, I can certainly understand their optimism. Unlike Singapore, Myanmar today is essentially a SME-centric economy. While its economy remains highly fragmented and largely inward-looking, perhaps a consequence of the military junta’s rule previously, it is a cornucopia of exciting opportunities and inadequacies. Almost every business sector you can imagine offers growth or business potential even though the business eco-system is still lacking and resources are struggling to handle the spike in capital influx.

If I am to invest in Myanmar today, I will consider a hospitality training school. As tourism booms and more hotels are built to cater to demand, there will be a growing need for skilled labor in this area. The business can contract with hotels to provide them with the skilled labor or assist them to train their new employees. It can also run open recruitment to train students who are keen to pursue career in hospitality. I think this is a safe investment with relatively low capital and low risk. So call me if you are keen to talk more.

For me, the BSM was a success. It has achieved its objectives to enrich the fellows’ broad knowledge of global development and expose us to the cultural, social, political and business dynamics that form part of the larger regional platform. More importantly, it has inspired us to consider the vast potential in Myanmar.

Will I do it again? Yes, of course. And don’t say you hear it from me; the next batch is probably going to South America.

My National Day Parade Experience in Singapore

I had joined the Fellows MBA at the NTU on 02 Jul 2013, and after a week’s orientation and two days team building stint at OBS Singapore, was craving to dig into and learn about the culture of Singapore. The God sent opportunity was provided by my co-fellow Yi Chuen, when he announced that he had managed to arrange few tickets for the full dress rehearsal of the National Day Parade (marking 48years of Independence) and was gracious enough to even accompany us with his wife to the venue.


So, with great enthusiasm and expectations, our group, all dressed in red T- shirts, reached the venue at 0530 pm. (In the background, you can see the logo for the NDP- circles of different sizes and colors come together to form the shape of Singapore. The circles symbolize many stories- at the personal, community and national levels, which have shaped the common history of Singapore and represent the experiences the citizens have gone through together as a country and their values and aspirations that make them who they are.) I was impressed by the way the volunteers, mostly young college/ school students, guided us towards our stands. Each of us was handed over a goodies bag and ushered to our seats.


On the stage were the anchors of the programme : Gurmit Singh( pleased to see an Indian origin guy), Siti Kaligah, Vernetta Lopez and Sebastian Tan. The theme song of the parade was ‘Many Stories… One Singapore.’ True to the theme, the programme began with the children from different schools presenting dances in very colorful dresses. This was followed by the sky divers, free-falling, holding each other’s hands- conveying the message of unity, and landing on the stage right in front of us.   The most impressive was the jump of the first ever female sky diver who did a free fall in the NDP – hats off to her. This was followed by the spectacular display of Apache helicopters, tanks, anti-mine vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, artillery guns, multiple barrel rocket launchers, enactment of neutralization of terrorists by the police and display of their skills by the firemen.


Thereafter, followed the military contingents of the Singapore Armed Forces (close to my heart, being an ex-Army man), marching smartly in their spic and span dresses, to the tune of the bands accompanying them. Seeing the crowds’ reaction, it was apparent that they had stolen their hearts. Following this, the Singapore flag (first unveiled at the City Hall on 03 Dec 1959) was flown across in all its majestic glory by the Chinooks.


Then followed by the roaring F16’sm crisscrossing each other’s path, leading to skipping of heart beats of many.


When it is Singapore’s birthday, can the Carnival be far behind? We were entertained by stories, paying tribute to all the communities of Singapore and telling us how their shared dreams, aspirations and perspectives brought them together into “One Singapore.”


As the last light descended, we were greeted by cyclists (with colored lights on their wheels) and acrobats, transmitting their tremendous energy to the audience, through their power-packed display. By now, the torch lights were out from our goodie-bags and waving them to the tunes and chorus of the singers was an exhilarating experience.

The use of technology in creating the basketball court, etc. on the stage using laser beams was spectacular. The wheel-chair basketballers,   not to be left behind, gave us the impression that everyone  had contributed in his/her own unique way towards the building of this spectacular nation, in such a short time. Even the “Merlion,” from our right, swam across the waters and came on stage to entertain us. The accompanying fireworks display added color spark and brightness, to the ongoing performances. The spectacle ended with all the participants converging onto the stage, to bid us goodbye.


In the end, the crowd bid adieu to the Education Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat, who was the Reviewing officer for the parade.  I have no qualms in saying that the truly amazing and spectacular display of talent and technology will forever remain etched in my memory!!


Business Leadership Seminar Series

A key part of the Nanyang Fellows MBA Programme was exposure to the thought processes of established industry and government leaders as they shared their considerable experiences in keynote seminars throughout the year. This year, fellows were privileged to have three such leaders take the time to interact and share non-public aspects of their achievements.

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