The 2011 Asia Venture Challenge

Author: Sheetal Nanwani, MBA Student

The Asia Venture Challenge [formerly known as Asian Moot Competition] was a thoroughly enjoyable experience this year, and my team and I are proud to have been part of such an event! Bangkok, Thailand is such a lovely place.

While we were not able to bring home any awards from the event, presenting to venture capitalists (VCs) and senior executive judges within a competition setting was an invaluable experience.

We are aware of the things we’ve gained through this ordeal – experience, networking opportunities and contacts from an international pool of talents, many from the top-ranked schools in Asia.

We spent a lot of time preparing for these three-days and to me, it’s definitely worth the time and effort. On our first day, we had fun setting up a booth to advertise our business venture.

After setting up the booth, we launched into The Rocket Pitch competition, which is a minute-long pitch to potential investors. Last year, Nanyang’s Philip Buchan won the equivalent elevator pitch. Vincent Teo, Malaysian,  took the reigns on this one, and though he didn’t win the pitch, he found that he learned a lot from the experience.

The second day was the busiest. We had four activities planned: The Divisional Round, Group Lunch, Playoff Round, and Cocktail Reception. During the Divisional Round, we were to pitch our business idea as a team, and though we ran a little short on time during the actual presentation, we did handle ourselves well during the Q&A session. We also watched other teams’ presentations and were impressed by some of the ones we saw.

Relaxation came after. The cocktail reception was great!

During the reception, we mingled with the other participants. In particular, the team spent a lot of time mingling with members of HKU and HKUST, and it’s a joy to know them.

The final day came fast! We participated in the Challenge Round, which was such a thrill, I must say. Our presentation went smoothly, and was a unique experience given the format is different than the typical MBA presentation of a 100% scripted presentation followed by questions.

The teams presenting in the finals impressed us, and we learned from them as well. The day flew by and before we knew it, it was already time for the Closing Ceremony. It was our final chance to network and to have fun with the others. It really was a nice end to such an exciting week.

I was really fortunate to work with the team, and it was a great opportunity I’m glad we took together.

Nanyang, a worthy exchange: starting with a glance, but leaving with amazing perspectives ; exchange students from New Zealand and Israel share their experiences.

Authors: Chung Nee Ping Stephanie, Victoria University of Wellington and Rafael Mazuz
Tel Aviv University.

Choosing where to go is one big step for those considering going on an exchange programme. It’s imperative to think carefully while choosing because it’s going to be a few months worth of experiences.

I thought about it and in the end, I chose Singapore for my student exchange because it is located in the very heart of Southeast Asia and it is a known financial hub. I’m really glad with the decision.

The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is reputed for being one of the top schools in Southeast Asia as well as Asia- the MBA students are from different backgrounds and approximately from 30 countries, I had the opportunity to meet people with diversified cultures and experiences. The courses offered at Nanyang are challenging and practical. The lecturers are knowledgeable, and they offer invaluable information and real life examples in class.

Apart from the studies, I also find Singapore a lively city with lots of things to do such as shopping and entertainment. Even the nights are lovely there. Public transportation is very convenient, everything is accessible and food is quite cheap. I am very proud to be a part of them. A rock star chose Nanyang!

Rafael Mazuz, Tel Aviv University

Due to its unique position as an economic, cultural, and geographic gateway to Asia-Pacific, I chose to study in Singapore for my semester exchange. After doing research on the different universities, it was clear that NTU offered the best Asian business perspective, with courses like Chinese Language, Chinese Classics Applications for Business, as well as International Business Law courses with an emphasis on Asia-Pacific issues. As the semester draws to a close, I am happy to report that all of my expectations were exceeded.

Exchange students at NTU are allowed and even encouraged to utilize the wide range of networking events and extracurricular activities available on campus. I joined the water polo and biathlon teams and trained with them during the semester. In addition to being a great workout, this was an opportunity to make many friends even outside of the business school.

My home university has a very international MBA class, with 21 countries represented. I was very pleased to find that NTU has 27 countries represented, and most of those are from Asian countries, which gave me a chance to expand my understanding and network even more. Additionally, being in the region made it very convenient to travel to countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, which is definitely an advantage of studying in this part of the world.

My experience this past semester was priceless, both personally and professionally. I strongly encourage others to consider NTU as a worthwhile option for taking a semester abroad.

The first Singapore MBA Olympics for a cause- an experience to remember and treasure

Authors: Jaiganesh Pasupathy, Snigdha Nandan Co-Chairpersons, The Nanyang MBA CSR Club, Mandar Gori, VP Sustainability, The Nanyang  MBA Student EXCO

From its inception to the final handing over of the cheque to The Cambodia Trust, the first MBA Olympics among Singapore MBA students has been a journey involving fun, teamwork and positive spirit. We’re so glad to announce that the event was a success!

As the event was inaugural or the first of its kind, we had a lot to plan and organise. We’re truly thankful to those who made this happen, our classmates from The Nanyang MBA for volunteering their services and also to our sponsors, especially the major sponsor,  City Development Limited (CDL) , and the other sponsors  (CDC, SPH, GNC, DHL, MacDonald’s and Frolick)  that understood the impact this event can bring.

There were five business schools involved: INSEAD, SMU, NUS, S.P. Jain and Nanyang itself. There were over 90 participants, and though the competition were intense, there were good sportsmanship demonstrated throughout the day, and we all had a lot of fun! We competed in four sports, namely Basketball, Badminton, Futsal and Table Tennis.

Our team did our best in the CDL MBA Olympics and Nanyang eventually emerged victorious for both Futsal and Basketball!

Through this event, we managed to raise a total of $5,342 for The Cambodia Trust. The cheque was officially handed over to Michael Scott, the Country Director of The Cambodia Trust. It wasn’t his first time being around Nanyang MBA students here in Singapore, and we do hope it won’t be his last.

After the ceremony, Michael told us more about the various initiatives taken on by The Cambodia Trust. The new information only intrigued us further in the cause and in fact, we’re continuing to support The Cambodia Trust. This June, we’re geared up for more action. The CSR Club is exploring time to visit Cambodia! It’s only a few months away, and we cannot wait.

At the end of the sporting events, we had a short gathering to celebrate the various obstacles we’d overcome and the victories that were achieved.

It’s truly been a challenge but an extremely worthwhile experience for all of us, a journey we’re not likely to forget. The three of us were really honoured to work with such a capable group of people and for such a worthy cause. This heralds a new beginning for Nanyang Business School’s CSR club and we are sure it will continue to create awareness about CSR and make a difference in the society we live in.

The VCIC – surviving the intensity of the competition and investing time in a simulated investment environment

Author: Kelvin Tey, Singapore, Nanyang MBA Student

The exams at Nanyang had just ended and here we were ready to hop onto the next big thing: preparations for the regional Venture capital Investment Competition or VCIC in short [investments] held in Hyderabad!

When we arrived in Hyderabad, we were greeted by our host, Ashutosh Singh, a representative from the Indian School of Business (ISB). Both teams set off to the beautiful ISB campus, located just about half an hour from the airport. We were definitely looking forward to our two-day stay there since we met with such a dynamic campus upon first glance.

It was past midnight when we arrived but the campus was vibrant with life and loud music! Ashutosh explained that since the students would be graduating in May, and they were just enjoying the time they had left in the school.

We had only five hours of rest before the team met at 8am for our authentic Indian breakfast. The canteen and scenery was great, and the spread was mouth-watering. If you’re a fan of vegetarian Indian food, you definitely should try the food at ISB! Here’s a peak of the campus:

Following the extremely satisfying breakfast, we headed to Irfan’s room for a discussion.

We had an intense group discussion, with questions, answers and rebuttals all thrown in the open. We drilled each other on the merits and weaknesses of the different companies. We really had to push ourselves since we were only to be given 15 minutes to decide on the actual day. Time completely flew by and it was suddenly already 7pm, time to go for the scheduled cocktail.

It was a great experience, interacting with the hosts and other participants. We understood more about the different nationalities, as well as experiences and campus life in ISB. It’s too bad I’m already in my final year, otherwise I definitely wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to apply for an exchange program at ISB!

After the cocktail, we proceeded to the dining hall. We had several rounds of beer and then we were served the “Hyderabad Nasi Briyani”. Our host had mentioned that a stay in Hyderabad wouldn’t be complete without tasting this most famous local dish, and it truly was scrumptious!

The next thing should naturally be to wash up and head to bed but no, the team headed back to the library to solidify our analyses and arguments. Fortunately, none of us is tipsy so we managed a four-hour intensive discussion on our cases once more. Coffee was a constant drink  for all of us, and finally at 4am, we finally headed back to our rooms. I told myself, “Kelvin, you better get some sleep.” I was still so anxious about the competition!

“The Big Event” day came, and this time, breakfast was much too quick. We gathered at the competition venue and met with the venture capitalists, the four start-up entrepreneurs.

We were tasked to make the choice to invest in only one company, and we were to choose between Sacona, United Mobile Apps, Quantama and Nuru.

During their presentations, you can really feel the dedication and determination of the entrepreneurs. It was so exciting to watch!

After the presentations, our belief in choosing to invest in Nuru, a start-up company that provides low power energy solutions to households in rural areas, was reaffirmed. During those intense ninety minutes, we were shuttling between different seminar rooms, as we posed our questions to the entrepreneurs, seeking to either clarify our doubts or strengthen our investment thesis. There was never a dull moment!

Subsequently, we ‘locked’ ourselves in a room to prepare our final investment thesis and to make our final investment decision. Our conclusion was still to go with Nuru, so we moved onto discussing our strategy and approach to the investment process.

We were too engrossed with our work that we completely forgot about lunch! Fortunately, and thankfully, our gracious host brought us some food.

By 3.30pm, we were led to a lecture theatre, where we were to propose our investment thesis to the panel of venture capitalists, as well as the entrepreneurs from Nuru.

Immediately after the presentation, we were given feedback on our approach and investment decisions. Receiving advise from a panel of seasoned venture capitalists was such a privilege as well as an honour. Personally, that was the biggest takeaway from the entire trip. Their advise and comments were highly insightful and gave us many more options to explore. It made us view our work in different angles, and it definitely broadened my scope of thought.

We were able to relax only when it was time to wait for the results. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, and it was sad that we didn’t manage to bring glory back to the Nanyang Business School. However, I don’t think there was any loss at all. The trip was memorable and the experience is irreplaceable.

Regardless of the outcome, the hard work was worth it. I strongly encourage the incoming students to participate in the VCIC competition. It was such a rewarding journey, especially if they desire to get into the investment field.