One Half of My Double Masters Programme at University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Author: Aung L.M, Myanmar

I arrived at St.Gallen on a snowy night in February. The University of St.Gallen (UniSG) is one of the best European management schools. Memories of group works, student parties and travelling were some highlights of my stay there. I met and worked with many high caliber students from Europe as well as all over the world. The professors were well-known academics and practitioners in their various fields and could therefore, share from both academic and industry perspectives. There were also many industry-linked workshops and events where top executives from well-known private and public organizations were invited to share their knowledge and experiences.

One trademark of UniSG (HSG) and especially the SIM programme was the intensive interaction among student peers. At any one given semester, a SIM student could be doing seven to eight group projects with different course mates. While managing meetings for all the groups was a challenge, the opportunity to meet and work with them outweighed the
hassle of scheduling. I also had opportunities to mingle with students from other programmes. The traditional SIM Regulars’ Table (RT), wine tasting events and house parties were activities that enhanced my student life in St.Gallen.

I also gained cultural knowledge while travelling across Europe and visiting countries such as Hungary, Spain, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg), and Italy. I am amazed by the rich historical and cultural background. Overall, my decision to pursue this double master programme is one of the best decisions I have made in my life as I have been tremendously enriched by the programme and the time spent in St.Gallen, Switzerland.

A 3-day Getaway to Phuket!

Author: Adeline T., Singapore

Just a short 1 hour and 45 minutes’ flight away from Singapore, is Phuket, and island south of Thailand which is favoured by many beach bums like myself.

Cotton candy clouds en-route to Phuket

If you have 3 days to spare, do what I did!

I bought an air ticket from Jetstar Asia, 1 of the 3 budget carriers we have in Singapore (The other two are Tiger Airways and Air Asia). All 3 of them have regular promotions, so check often to get yourself a good deal!) And simply with a passport in a hand, and a small bag of clothes and necessities in another, I was off to a weekend of sun, sand and the sea!

Phuket is not like its metropolitan sister cities, neither is it steeped in rich history. But it has one of the nicest beaches I’ve ever seen, and unfortunately, even more beautiful, after the killer 2004 Tsunami that killed over 230,000 people in the region (recorded as one of history’s worst natural catastrophes) ravaged the great mass of low lands on the island. For a whole year, Phuket was hard at work, grieving and rebuilding everything that it lost, back to its former glory.

I checked myself into the Dusit Thani, Thailand’s premier hotel chain. I was showed to my cozy deluxe room with a balcony that overlooks the Indian Ocean, by the Bangtao Beach (a less rowdy part of Phuket as compared to the Patong Beach which is peppered with many pubs and bars and other joints not suitable for mention in this blog).

The calm, blue and alluring sea just steps away from my room

The river that links the Dusit Thani to the other hotels in the same Bangtao stretch

I hired a guide cum driver, who brought me to some really good spas in Phuket. Getting a simple massage in Phuket doesn’t come cheap, but because of how hospitable and skillful the Thai masseuses are, it is well worth the money.

This spa sits on the river bank.

Check out the amazing mountainous view!

In between spa-ing and vegetating under the sun all 3 days, I managed to squeeze in an hour of ATV Quad Biking near a swamp on an uneven terrain which proved to be the most daring activity I have ever attempted at. Steep inclines, sudden drops, into a mud pool, getting a wheel stuck in sand, both legs encrusted in mud stains…beats shopping any day if you asked me.

On the final night of my stay in Phuket, I did what every tourist in Phuket would do – I went to the Simon Cabaret! Performed by only ladyboys (transvestites), the show consisted of only lip-syncs to the latest pop songs in a few regional languages amidst elaborate and grandeur setting. The ladyboys were modelesque and had beautiful features (not without the help of a good plastic surgeon actually) but they did charm the pants off the male audiences (no pun intended). They all gather at the exit after the show, so that the audiences can take photos with them for a fee.

She looks gorgeous! I was truly mesmerised…

Check out her elaborate headgear with intricate details. Wow!

Three days was all I needed for a quick rejuvenation and it was a very well-deserving holiday for all the hard work I have put in for the past 2 trimesters!

Back to my studies for now!

Bala’s Day Out

Author: Balaji R., India

It has been 8 months since I packed my bags and set sail from the land of the vikings and landed in the ‘Lion-city’ Singapore. And phew… what eventful months have they been!

So let me introduce myself: I am Balaji Raghavan (bala, henceforth) an engineer in my previous life and now, as you might have already guessed a participant of The Nanyang MBA. I have traveled widely and lived in different countries over the last 10 years… I have seen the sakura blossom in Japan in Spring, auroras snake their way across the sky in the depths of snow-covered winter and the sun set over the British empire along the coasts of England, to mention a few. Ok enough said… There will be time for an autobiography later—when I am more closer to senility, that is.

I will attempt, over a series of posts, to introduce life as part of the MBA program and at times even beyond it! Yes, even poor sods laboring their way through intensive B-school courses do have time to party and bring the roof down once in a while! I will endeavor to capture in the blog the highs and the lows of the program, the events
that occurred, the classes that we enjoyed, the wonderful memories of the times we spent together, the many laughs we shared and the unforgettable friendships and relationships forged with fellow students, faculty, and the people of Singapore. So buckle up, sit tight and enjoy the ride!

Let me begin, with the story of a trip we made to Pulau Ubin– a small island located north-east of Singapore– during the beginning of the program. This trip packaged under the guise of team-building and orientation, seemed pretty innocuous at first; It even began well with a scenic boat ride to the islet and relatively simple and fun
activities involving hula hoops and an alphabet counting game. As we were just beginning to have fun, we were thrown a seemingly insurmountable organizational challenge. We had to coordinate a class of close to 150 members in concurrent tasks of varying difficulty to earn $$ for building a real boat, more of a raft actually. One of the tasks even involved scaling a wicked climb. Now as we got down to business we realized that it was a difficult challenge that required coordination, courage, motivation and above all dealing with a whole ambiguity under time pressure. In the end, some astonishing acts of team work and individual brilliance got us to the target and we were able to buy enough raw materials to build the raft in time!

However, hold on! there was yet another twist in the tale, as we had to use the raft to navigate the seas around Pulau Ubin to plant a flag on a nearby islet. We had a raft ready but no way of knowing whether it was seaworthy. Some brave souls volunteered to take the raft out for a spin and their courage got us to the target on time! In retrospect, the orientation was a resounding success: it got us together working as a team, introduced us to the challenges faced in management, and gave us a whole day of fun and a heapload of memories that we will cherish! And if you are one to believe in good beginnings, the raft that did not sink might bode well for the class of 2009!

Sun Beams Aplenty!

Author: Cynthea Lam (Marketing Manager, The NANYANG MBA)

Last Saturday (6 March 2010) was a very special day for me, my friends and
colleagues, as we trooped down to Sunbeam Place armed with bags and bags of
groceries for the kids.

Sunbeam Place is a home set up by the Children’s Society of Singapore,
to shelter and protect children between the ages of 2 to 18, who have
abusive parents or parents who can no longer look after them because they’re both
incarcerated or have no financial means to.

The wonderful Director of the home, Dr. Siew, brought us around the home, and
introduced us to her staff, who take care of the children, each with a different role to
ensure they are eating right, studying well in school, and that they have good sports,
arts and music activities to partake in, caring for their every need.

It is a very difficult journey for some children, having been brought up in environments
that have scarred them mentally. They are sensitive souls who yearn security and
love, just like any other ordinary child.

I have earlier on gathered some donations from friends and family, and my friends and
their families have also come forth to donate. The spirit of giving is a very touching
one, and brings together strangers who have no connections to each other. That
day’s visit, was a reflection of how we can all join forces to make bigger things
happen, as long as our hearts’ intentions are aligned!

Second Place, in Mobie-ODAI Competition!

Recently, Hitachi and A-star developed a Mobile Application Platform called “Plog-in” to
collect and record activities done by users on the mobile phone. Mobie-ODAI Idea
generation required contestants to come up with ideas that utilized this platform
effectively. The contest started in October 2009 with initial submission of a 1-page
write-up detailing our ideas.

Subsequently, the short-listed teams were expected to make a presentation and a
business plan based on the idea that we had already submitted. 3 teams amongst the
shortlisted teams were then chosen to present at the finals of the competition held in
Fusionpolis. I was the only team with a single person in the Idea generation category.

I participated in this competition because it required an understanding of the technology
underlying the Plog-in platform and then develop ideas which could effectively utilize
the platform and at the same time made business sense to be developed. The
competition helped me in going through the nuances of developing a business plan
based on an application platform developed by a 3rd party. Since the competition
required me to setup a booth, I also made a short video explaining my idea.

I am proud to announce, I came in 2nd!

Check out my video here:

Check out the results website here:

Author: Girish Muzumdar

New Kid On The Block in Sentosa!

We are all very excited…that Singapore has just become even more exciting, with its very first integrated resort, featuring a CASINO, the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS theme park and GRAND hotels and the largest OCEANARIUM in the world, within a mammoth area of 49 hectares of land!

Opened on Valentine’s Day this year, which is coincidentally the first day of the Lunar New Year, Resorts World is situated off the southern part of Singapore, in a conjoined island called SENTOSA.

We Singaporeans grew up with only Sentosa to escape to during the school holidays. (Remember, Singapore is land-scarce before the land reclaiming projects started!) Back then, the island was not well-developed with hotels or other forms of entertainment. So, apart from a fast food outlet and some historic sites to visit on a monorail that runs through the island, and ok, a musical fountain, there really weren’t much sights to devour like a tourist should.

So, Singapore has truly come a long way, to become a top tourist destination today. *beams with pride*

With the exams behind us now (they just ended last week), I am planning to visit Sentosa again! (Note to Victoria Secret’s fans: VS has opened its first Asian store here in Resorts World!!! *Ballistic with anticipation*)

Looking forward to the rides, the shopping, the dining, the blackjack table, the spas. I think I should just check myself in to Hard Rock Hotel for a 3 day staycation! WOOOHOOOO!!

Updates soon!

P/S: Meanwhile, I leave you with some pictures of Resorts World I’ve seen from other friends’ blogs. I can’t wait!

Hard Rock Hotel facade: I’ve always wanted to stay in one of these but never had the chance to

Entrance to the Casino, our very first!

The Crockfords Tower Hotel entrance. WOW.

I am never going on this thing. But it looks scary enough to excite some of my roller coaster fanatic friends.

Jesters on stilts on its opening day. Charming.

Now this is charming but where’s the floor vent?!?