by Clarie Kwa, Singaporean, Co-chair of WIB club and Current Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011
Last September, The NANYANG MBA Women in Business (WIB) club was launched at the Nanyang Business School’s One-North campus in Buona Vista, located near the town area. Twenty (20) women – MBA students and friends, attended the inauguration of this first women-centric club with the theme centered on ‘Carpe Diem’, a popular Latin phrase translated as ‘to seize the day’.
Being the founding members, we were extremely privileged to have the support of not just the school, but also our networks. Dr Siri Chutikamoltham, Senior Teaching Fellow and Director for Banking and Finance of Nanyang Business School, gave us the honor of giving the welcome speech. Our keynote speakers were corporate executives: Ms Cheong Pik May, Group Director of Integrated Healthcare Information Systems, and Mr. Soon Loo, CEO and President for Elevation Group and Director for Indiabulls Property Management Trustee Pte Ltd (IPIT).
As the event progressed, the speakers made it clear that a support system would be vital. As Dr Siri put it very aptly, the WIB club is a forum for sharing and support. Girlfriends can always be relied on. Pik May recommended having a good team throughout one’s career. She continued to propose the importance of family and marriage. In fact, marriage can be a source of stability for one working in a competitive working environment. Pik May made a clear distinction between balancing both roles equally and juggling these roles and responsibilities. Many mistook a work-life balance as an equilibrium in which both aspects are in equal proportions. However, it is really a juggling act where neither aspect should be allowed to fall through.
It was a very fruitful evening for everyone. We learned about the challenges and joys of being a woman- balancing studies and personal/family life. As Minyu, one of our Singaporean classmates, reflects, “I think the common challenge is time management. It is sometimes tiring to juggle between studies and work, and also leaving some time for our family and friends. Personally, I think it is important to get some ‘alone’ time so that we take time off to reflect and refocus and prioritize items which are important and close to our hearts. Of course, there is also the warmth and help from family, friends and company that makes these challenges less taunting and more manageable.” Apart from discoveries and reflections that Minyu took away that night, she also made meaningful network among her classmates and the speakers, “The WIB inauguration was a great start for the first women club in The NANYANG MBA! During this event, I got to meet more female students who are keen to make a difference to their own lives and others. The speakers also shared very interesting self experiences and how they have made it thus far. It definitely motivated me to be an inspiration to another one day. In short, it was a very fulfilling night!”
The event concluded with a toast in the splendor of “Yum Seng” (a Chinese tradition of toasting). New friendships were formed. Contacts were exchanged. Most importantly, everyone went home, with something close to their heart to muse.