After a successful series of events, celebrations, competitions, trips and presentations, Student ExCo members & Club Co-Chairs of the Nanyang MBA Cohort 2015-16 came together to celebrate a great performance round the year!
On the bright noon of 18th May’16, in the last week of MBA for the Class of 2016, a bunch of student leaders met for lunch at the “Food for thought” restaurant in Singapore´s Botanical Garden.
The past year was certainly a roller coaster ride for all MBA students and the efforts put in by elected members of the student council deserved a grand celebration. Having successfully organised and hosted multiple school-internal and interscholastic events, the idea was to come together and appreciate each other as a team for one last time. The class mates celebrated their success and recalled beautiful memories that all individuals weaved during 2015-2016 MBA life.
Veronica (VP Finance, and full-time MBA student) brought all student leaders together and invited the group to Food For Thought, one of the best guarded secrets when it comes to restaurants in Singapore. After a splendid lunch, Veronica surprised all graduates with her artistic skills and presented beautifully designed “Thank You Note Cards”, on which the ExCo members could leave a message for their fellow students. When writing farewell notes, circulating the individual´s cards across the table, and conveying our appreciation and well wishes for future, the formerly excited crowd realized that the MBA journey was coming to an end – and a wave of nostalgia hit the group.
Post hogging on desserts, we all conveyed our regards and thank you to Veronica for making this team lunch such a memorable experience! Thereafter, Mr. President, Deep (Full-time MBA student in the Strategy & Innovation Track) and Vice President Aditya (Full-time MBA student in the Banking and Finance Track) gave touching speeches, thanking all the ExCo members of team for performing well and working beyond boundaries to deliver a great show throughout the year.
The lunch ended with a crazy picture of an amazing student council that has transformed into a group of close friends over the year. Now we are not just the Nanyang MBA cohort, of 2015-16 we are Nanyang MBA Family for ever!
A NBS alumni working for Lazada, South-East Asia´s number one e-commerce player, was invited to give a workshop on business analytics and advanced excel to the current batch of MBA students.
Sunny Jain (NBS MBA Class of 2013) has over 6 years of experience of working for technology companies as well as financial institutions. Over the last 2 years he has been working as a pricing manager with Lazada, who recently made it into news with regards to its acquisition by Alibaba.
Sunny provided thought-provoking insight into the ways of working of e-commerce firms, especially with regards to the key performance indicators and the challenges that various firms face to remain competitive. In the second half of the course, he offered an excel learning session wherein he gave sample case questions based on data populated in an excel file.
The current MBA students who signed up for the workshop learnt to build pivot tables and simple statistical data models that allowed them to understand e-commerce dynamics and generated insights pertaining to an annual sales report of a hypothetical company. The speaker proved that Excel is indeed a powerful tool and stated that learning to build complex data models catering to various business challenges is indispensable to be well prepared for the corporate world.
The 3-hours sharing session was very insightful and after multiple “aha”-moments, the participating students left the room with many valuable takeaways from the workshop. Eventually, the lecturer closed the day with the recommendation to spend 5% of earnings every year to upgrade one´s skills – an interesting tip that the MBA students, who are to graduate soon, will certainly take to heart!
“Do good work and enjoy the work that you do. Money will follow. Make sure that you don’t work for money alone (As the sole aim!).”
With these words, Professor Tan signed off the Derivatives and Risk Management course, the last elective module for the MBA students of 2016 who chose the Banking and Finance Track. Derivatives, much hyped and complex financial instruments, were created with the aim of risk management in finance. However, they are predominantly used for speculation and trading. Hence, Prof Tan asked the class to always wear two hats while analysing derivatives: Are you going to manage risk? Or are you going to trade?
The Derivatives classes were exclusively scheduled on weekends, but as the class size was small and the topic was interesting indeed, all sessions were quite engaging and nobody minded weekend work. The class participants discussed a wide variety of topics ranging from the creation of structure products, various risk mitigation strategies used by corporations, the fall of Lehman brothers and many more, and learnt from a variety of case studies discussed during lectures.
After the last class session, Prof Tan invited his students to a celebratory meal to Spruce at Bukit Timah, which was a fire station prior to it being renovated to a modern day bar/bistro. The trip to Spruce marked the closure of elective classes for the MBA class of 2015/16 and Spruce´s location in beautiful greenery, overlooking a mountain, served to be the ideal getaway to clear the mind after a whole day class . Tower beers were being emptied and a lively discussion on topics such as cultural diversity, returns of VC firms and even the Chinese preference of Tibetan Mastiff dogs ensued. It was time to celebrate.
Before leaving the event, all students cheered Prof Tan for his upcoming Gobi Desert Challenge wherein he and his EMBA team will represent the Nanyang Business School in a daunting desert challenge over the course of 4 days, and everyone promised to take the message from Professor Tan to heart: Make sure to give back to society.
Just in time for the first episode of the 6th season of the popular show “Game of Thrones” on April 25, the most passionate fans of the medieval fantasy epic came together in a Nanyang Business School seminar room to watch how the story of knights, queens, kings of the Game of Thrones saga unfolds.
Equipped with chips, soft drinks and the most tasty popcorn available, the class transformed their preferred lecture room into a full fledged movie theatre and anxiously awaited the beginning of the show. A sense of joy, mixed with tense expectation filled the room and the spectators were notably relieved when the first scene´s actors appeared on the screen. To match the atmosphere in the room with the show´s arctic winter scenery, the NBS seminar room was bone-chilling cold and the air conditioner did the best it could to let winter come to Singapore, too.
As per the event rules there was utter silence in the room while the show was running, but great agitation started as soon as the final credits appeared on the screen.
All students thoroughly enjoyed the Game of Thrones event and as the post-show discussions to unravel the happenings of the first episode intensified, the class agreed to meet again in the next week to jointly watch the upcoming episodes. What is going to happen next? What will happen to John Snow. It remains exciting.
After successfully planning and executing two case competitions on NBS campus in March and April of 2016, the MBA Student Exco VP Case Competition Prashant Sharma invited the case competition committee members, the NBS teams who competed in the Venture Capital Investment Challenge and Amalgamation Challenge and two hands full of volunteer helpers for a relaxed afterparty to jointly recap the hectic yet extremely rewarding job of organising two full day events, an to simply celebrate the success of the events.
Having organised two full day events with MBA participants from all over Asia, the NBS team not only widened their network across the region but also intensified their knowledge on the challenges of event management and cross-cultural engagement.
To acknowledge great teamwork, the impressive feedback on the smooth and professional execution of the events, and the many hours that went into event preparation, the volunteers and organisers of the case competitions at Nanyang came together at the house of one of the Singaporean students and enjoyed the hospitality in a Singaporean home. After discovering the great cooking skills of the MBA batch of 2016, and enjoying a delicious barbecue as well as a wide variety of snacks and side dishes, the party moved inside the karaoke room, that was opened for the class as a courtesy of the host, and an impressive concert featuring the MBA all starts began.
After hours of furious singing and dancing, the party ended with a round of card games, and a photo shoot to not only remember the outstanding party, but also the case competition events and the friendships formed while working together.
After staying very close to amazing greenery for almost six months on NTU campus, it was time to actually explore the abundance of nature right outside the university campus.
Despite being busy with group meetings, assignments and internships, it was time to give rest to the mind and have some physical workout. Hence, an adventure trek to Mac Ritchie Reservoir park was organized and many of the students participated enthusiastically.
The target set was to complete a 10 kms stretch around the park. The group of MBAs, determined to master this exercise, looked like an army batallion on a mission – and accepted yet another challenge.
Sounds of humming birds welcomed us throughout the trek. The chosen stretch had many different terrains – rocky/muddy, wooden planks over muddy ground and concrete floors. Short conversations on plenty of MBA issues and matters with fellow batch mates shortened the 10 kms trek. Also, monkeys were very eager to find out what we had for them and gave us company in many of the pictures. Luckily, the weather showed sympathy for our sweating bodies and remained normal throughout.
The highlight of the trek was the TreeTop Walk, a 250mlong freestanding suspension bridge between the two highest points in the park and the first of its kind in Singapore. From the suspension bridge, the MBAs had a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy and tried to spot different wildlife in their natural habitat. The group could also enjoy panoramic views of the verdant greenery of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and the placid waters of the Upper Peirce Reservoir. As the group overheard the firing drills happening in the nearby park, the Singaporean batchmates enlightened us with their army firing experiences to calm the agitated minds of some frightened graduate students.
Finally, the hiking mission was accomplished and our stomach was starving for fuel. The entire MBA group was invited by one of their native Singaporean batch mates to a nearby golf club to relax in the pool and fill our starving stomach with food.
On Tuesday, April 12, Nanyang Business school invited to the third session of the quarterly ”CEO Breakfast Series” at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore to explore challenges and opportunities when doing business India. Panelists, current NBS students, alumni and faculty engaged in a lively sharing session of the benefits of investing in India, discussed obstacles that individual and institutional investors face when entering the Indian market, and outlined the rewards of a long term foothold in the fastest growing economy of today.
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Nanyang Business School, Professor Nilanjan Sen, introduced the crisp 90-minutes sharing session on the opportunities and challenges when doing business in India by addressing the current macro- and microeconomic context of the largest Commonwealth country. India is not only affected by the slowing demand of the superpower China, a shrinking export market, and more conservative investment policy of the west but also fights against typical internal challenges of an emerging market. Touching on the 3 dimensions of future growth, Prime Minister Modi´s 3 D, demand growth, demography, and democracy, Professor Sen opened the stage for five expert speakers of Indian descent to present their views on the Indian market, and the prospects for foreign investments.
The majority of panelists who joined the early morning event to elaborate on their experiences with doing business in India has significant professional experience in banking and investment management, or held senior positions with large multinational corporations, so that the audience large benefitted from a pool of real live experiences and insider insights.
Even though India allegedly is the fastest growing economy with a 6-7% average annual growth rate, the seemingly attractive percentage by itself represents a far smaller absolute economic growth in India than a 6-7% growth rate in China. Also, the challenges that institutional investors and multinational corporations face in when expanding into booming markets with large one digit to double digit growth rates are fairly similar. Despite significant differences in the root causes of obstacles, doing business is not less challenging than doing business in other emerging markets.
India scores low on “ease of doing business” due to unusually frequent elections in the different states of its large territory, and political power struggles in the fragmented republic prevent a much needed consistency in decision-making and harms sustainable infrastructure investments. Hence, panelist advise to find a local partner to enter the fragmented and culturally diverse Indian market. Bringing a global brand to India, it is recommended to redesign one´s value proposition for the local market, as for example providing small quantities for daily demand to the the bottom of the pyramid and customise one´s offering for the Indian market to match cultural expectations. When looking for best practices on how to approach, and sustainably attach the Indian consumer in the long run, newcomers to can learn from successful MNCs, as global brands such as Czech “bata” and American “Colgate” are exceptionally well established in India, considering that the brands are commonly recognised for their “Indian” heritage by the local costumers.
When contemplating about gambling on India´s growing economy, panelist recommend to prioritise the prospering logistics industry which significantly benefits from the rise of Indian e-commerce. Further, investments into infrastructure and transportation are especially rewarding as they support the filling of institutional voids, and lay the ground for the country´s road to unparalleled commercial success.
Still, India´s current competitiveness is suffering from a below standard road network and the country is severely disadvantaged by its complex regulatory, taxation and public administration system. MNCs seeking to cater for the needs of the upscaling middle class of Indians, face a series of appointments appointments when knocking on the doors of governmental offices to beg for the necessary approvals needed to start a business, or even wait up to 13 months to simply cut a tree. Panelist report that they have seen peaks of 100 plus approvals needed to get going on an investment project and Foreigners and Indians alike criticise the artificially erected bureaucratic hurdles and missing dynamics of the Indian market, prompted by an unnecessary complexity that foreign investors encounter when dealing with Indian authorities.
Although the challenges highlighted during the 2016 panel discussion have been present for over one decade, they have not been properly addressed so far. Yet, India still promises 7.7% annual growth due to the the peoples’ entrepreneurial spirit and the prevailing start-up culture that builds the backbone of India´s competitiveness and promotes technical innovation and unique solutions to global challenges. In addition, public and private sector joined forces to spot the gap in global manufacturing capabilities and aim to position India in an untapped niche as a specialised manufacturing service provider that might translate to a distinct competitive advantage which will allow India beat other emerging economies in the race for FDI.
Supporters of crisis-prone, but inventive India highlight the public sector´s increasing investments in infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities, and predict a stable upward trend for Indian society and the standards of living, eventually leading to improvements in the ease of doing business. Yet, despite all promising prospects, there are different viewpoints on doing business in India. Experts cast a critical eye on India´s demographics, its sluggish reform progress, and suggest carefulness in dealing with authorities. The tax bureau might have announced taxation reforms and committed to creating more investor-friendly business environment already a few years back, but is actually just about to pass the GST and tax reform bill. While the US Fed hikes interest rates, US foreign investment streams dry up, liquidity flows out of India and tells the uprising country to combat corruption and social unease in its the multi-religious and multicultural Indian society before the money comes back. A nation that is publicly characterised by the lavish lifestyle of its billionaires and their excessive spending rather than a conservative savings policy, struggles to attract investments in the light of previously disappointing foreign engagements.
Going forward, investors are strongly advised to set the right expectations instead of hoping to reap short term profits from businesses in India. First, one has to obtain clarity on the target segments, and business goals, to find its sweet spot in the vast Indian market. Despite continuous progress on the reform and regulation front, India seems to be market that rewards investors to come to stay, and punishes those looking to reap short term benefits. Hence, the recipe for success in India involves a step by step approach that acknowledges the diversity of a country which is best compared to is culinary richness: analyse the customer, understand the recipe to success, select ingredients, cook a sample and then scale-up.
On April 11, the Cultural and Social Club together with the Beer, Wine and Liquor Appreciation Club celebrated Easter, the resurrection of Christ, which is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church.
On this occasion, the MBA batch of 2016 was invited to join an amazing race: a very competitive, but colourful egg hunt as per the tradition of celebrating Easter.
All participants did not wait long to run for the eggs, looking everywhere on campus to find the precious trophies. While some were extremely fast filling up their egg baskets, others could only find a few. But once the winner of the egg hunt was determined, all eggs were of course shared equally among all participating teams in order to start the egg coloring.
Back inside the event venue, everyone got very creative and came up with various egg designs from rainbow colour or striped egg, to drawing smileys and spider webs on simple unicolour eggs.
During this fun activity, traditional Easter snacks and drinks were provided, leaving the group with a stomach full of chocolate Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs and Haribo fruit gums.
It was a truly enjoyable event with lots of fun and a great opportunity to share some traditional Easter customs!
After the success of the MBA Olympics, here comes another event for our NBS soccer team: A prestigious soccer tournament organized by HKUST, where schools from all over Asia are competing for one common goal: the trophy!
The entire NBS team is very motivated to participate in this great tournament and every player is excited to represent Nanyang Business School once again in a interscholastic sporting event.
To get ready for Hong Kong, the sports club organises regular practice sessions, during which the team focuses on improving endurance, moves and skills. As part of the tournament preparation, the NBS MBA team played a friendly match against the RSIS batch.
The game was a great learning experience and enabled the players to apply some of the skills developed during practice. It was a fantastic match with a lot of fun on both sides, which will likely be repeated in near future.
Nanyang Business School, Singapore, was recently represented at The Negotiation Challenge (TNC) 2016, held in Vienna, Austria on 1st and 2nd April, 2016.
It was the first time that a team from Nanyang MBA, comprising of Laveesh Hassija, Shajitha Sinasamy and Akshaya Kumar, who decided to name themselves as ‘The Nanyang Negotiators’, participated in this prestigious competition.
The Negotiation Challenge is one of the only few international negotiation competitions in the world. The competition is aimed at gathering world’s best student negotiators, allowing them to compare their negotiation skills and preparing them for the complex negotiations they will face after graduation. This year, 16 universities from across the world participated in TNC.
TNC has been an extraordinary experience for the Nanyang team that worked hard under the guidance and support received from the NBS Negotiation Professors – Valerie and Kit Wye. The team participated in a total of five rounds, wherein they were evaluated on application of appropriate methods from the whole spectrum of their negotiation skills in different negotiation situations. In some of the rounds, the evaluation was based on the team’s ability to understand interests and identify issues, as well as their ability to create and claim value,while in other rounds the assessment was based on the instrumental and/or relational outcome of the negotiations.
Though the Nanyang Negotiators could not reach the final round, they were able to demonstrate their negotiation intelligence and recall TNC as the most eventful time of their MBA journey. The team enthusiastically remembers one of the rounds where they were asked to negotiate with another team in a moving Vienna tram. This round tested their ability of managing a negotiation without being influenced by external factors.
The Nanyang Negotiators in action
The competition venue in Vienna
The Nanyang MBA TNC team for 2016 – The Nanyang Negotiators is extremely proud to have exemplified Nanyang Business School at this highly admired competition that invites world’s top business and law schools. Their experience in the competition has instilled in them stronger confidence for business negotiations that they will be facing in their careers after their MBA. The Nanyang Negotiators not only got a chance to experience diverse ways of negotiation, but also to meet and network with students from various countries with different backgrounds and cultures. The learnings from the competition and the cherished memories they have from the beautiful city of Vienna are definitely going to last a life-time.