By Bui Vinh Nguyen (William), Vietnamese, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011
Last February, we had a gathering at a beautiful condominium in the western part of Singapore, Bukit Batok, to celebrate the Chinese New Year or CNY, the most important event for among the Chinese. Daniel Ho, a Chinese Singaporean, opened his wonderful home to us, non-Chinese MBA classmates, to learn more about CNY. My classmates were very excited about it because they all wanted to experience a new and different culture. Our ever affable host, Daniel, shared his impressive knowledge about Chinese snacks, served during CNY.
By: Steven Quimby, American, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011
Right from the very beginning when we first entered the Nanyang campus, we were told about the business plan competition opportunities ahead of us. Well, the preparation and the expectations began when Prof Vijay Sethi, told us about the various competitions NBS participates in. Impressed and enthusiastic, a lot of us took the New Venture Practicum course, which ran across a couple of terms and which Prof Sethi teaches. Then the preparations start, teams were formed, expectations set and preparations were underway. As John Molson MBA International Case Competition was the first competition to be available for the cohort to participate in and one of the most established and prestigious competition of its kind – four of us, Kishan and Parul from India, Janine from Germany and yours truly, from USA, rose up to the challenge and formed The NANYANG MBA team that would compete in this competition.
The road to the competition was extremely challenging, yet, fulfilling – we were subjected to the intensity and rigor of case preparation – a lot of preparation, feedback and practice with different cases to prepare us to compete against other b-schools.
There were a total of 5 business cases, one of which is a live case presentation by a major company about a real-life business challenge that the company is facing. The 36 teams were divided into different divisions, and Nanyang was in Bombardier Division competing against b-schools from Germany, Canada, USA and Singapore. We put our heads together and set our sights to win every case. But we were also in the midst of like-minded individuals as we lost two out of five cases. Despite this, we still felt like winners – we pushed the envelope and showcased our capabilities and expertise. Of course, this would not be possible, if not for the expert guidance of our mentor and coach, Prof Vijay Sethi.
When we look at the traditional career path and aspiration of an MBA holder, it is to move into high paying lucrative careers such as consulting, banking and finance, marketing and so on. But lately, there has been a rising interest in another industry, a relatively new industry and that is, social ventures or enterprises.
Unlike charities, the focus of social ventures is not to provide hand outs, but with a combination of business acumen, social consciousness and some creativity. Social ventures seek to improve the lives of the less fortunate in a sustainable manner.
With that in mind, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Club of The NANYANG MBA invited Ms Thilma Komaling Banyuputro, a social enterprise development consultant who has given up her successful career in petroleum industry to pursue her life calling – to share some of her experiences working for a social venture. The event was an intimate setting for an exchange of life-changing experiences and ideas among 10 like-minded peers.
What I have noticed is most people working in the social venture do not set out planning to work for a social venture, but they are moved by a certain event in their lives which compels them to do so. For Thilma, the turning point was the series of earthquakes in Aceh. After seeing the disasters and the tragedies on the news, she realized it is her life’s calling to help the less fortunate in any manner that she could.
As one of our fellow Nanyang MBA peer, Indonesian Wahyu Widianti shared her realization from the talk: “Follow your heart and your passion. The energy coming from the passion is very powerful for you to do many great things for the community.” And this was what Thilma actually did – being moved by her passion to help those who are less fortunate and in need.
J+ Plus magazine, a Japanese Magazine distributed in Singapore, interviewed two (2) Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA students – Hideaki Mukai from Japan and Sharon Ng from Singapore. They were featured as part of the magazine’s showcase of reputable qualifications or degrees earned here in Singapore. Hideaki and Sharon, were asked about their objectives in pursuing this unique double MBA degree programme, their impressions and the challenges encountered. Below are some excerpts of the interview made by the publication.
Hideaki Mukai, Japanese (image on the left) Previous Occupation: Manager, Sales Engineering Duration of living in Singapore: 6 months
J+ : Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
Hideaki Mukai (HM): I was an engineer, but I started to feel MBA is essential to be engaged in managerial jobs. Also, I believed that MBA must be beneficial to do business in this highly globalized world. Singapore is a growing country, which uses English as a primary language for business and education. This is why I chose to study here.
J+: What is your opinion about this programme?
HM: Although I studied English in overseas for a while, dealing with a huge amount of reading is a challenging thing for me. On the other hand, this programme provides me with a great environment to create future business network because of the diverse faculty and classmates.
Sharon NG, Singaporean (see image on the right) Previous Occupation: Marketing Executive, IT firm
J+: Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
Sharon Ng (SN): Although I worked for the IT and mass communications industry, I am planning to enter the finance industry. Also, in order to be a manager, I felt that the ability to solve problems due to the complex business environment must be necessary.
J+: What challenges do you have from the course?
SN: As this course provides high-level lectures, substantial amount of effort is essential if you do not have business background and knowledge. At the same time, since we need to attend a number of lectures, time management skills and the ability to enhance efficiency are vital. When it comes to a group work, cooperative attitude is very important.
By: Akhil Mehta, Indian, Nanyang MBA participant, Intake 2011
As an active club, we regularly organize events for our members and this time, we wanted to get into the groove and prepare for the next stage of our lives – post MBA careers. Thus, our Banking and Finance Club invited veteran recruitment consultant and career coach, Ms Anita Sim, Executive Director at Euro Group – a leading top tier organization providing services in the property development, marketing and search business areas, to give club members a deeper insight of the various career tracks in the said domain. Dubbed as an interactive “Career Coaching” session, the club members actively posed questions to Ms Sim who willingly engaged us and provided deeper insights into different career streams in the banking and finance sector. Ms Sim presented a wide perspective on the emerging trends in the economy and recruitment space for aspiring banking and finance professionals like us.
After the talk, each club member and attendee had the opportunity to have a brief yet intense one-on-one discussion with coach Anita, where she provided individual feedback in terms of the suggested career path based on prior work experience, education background and areas of interest. This ‘one on one coaching’ was the highlight of the event. All the attendees gained new perspectives and insights on their career paths, and advise on how to improve on strengths, and work on weaknesses. A couple of the attendees mentioned that it was a meaningful session as we have understood clearly the future career path we wish to pursue, and the challenges we are about to face as we move along after completing the MBA programme.