Tag Archives: Guest Speaker

Preparing to be a consultant – a Management and Consulting Club Event

by Vida Zhou Dan, VP for Communications, Chinese, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011

Consulting as a profession is among the most popular choice by MBA students. While everyone is enthusiastic in pursuing this career, a lot of anxieties or worries about being able to snare a job assignment in this industry prevail, despite the numerous case studies we already did at Nanyang. To address these concerns, the Management Consulting Club organised an event earlier this year to help us, club members, to understand more the intricacies of becoming a management consultant and prepare ourselves to be one. Preparedness they say is the key!

Nanyang MBA Alumnus, Italian Angelo Polimeno from Delta Partners
Angelo Polimeno, Nanyang MBA Alumnus, generously shared his experience and knowledge in consulting during the Management & Consulting Club Event

We invited one of our own as our guest speaker, an alumnus who now works as a consultant of Delta Partners, a leading consulting firm, after completing his Nanyang MBA in 2010. We were glad to welcome Italian Mr Angelo Polimeno, formerly based in Italy and is now based in Singapore, yet he travels extensively across continents for consulting assignments.

“As a Nanyang MBA alumnus, I completely understand what you are all going through as I have been in your shoes.  Do feel free to ask me questions on these cases we are going to discuss. I will do my best to help as much as I can to show you how to handle the various ‘challenges’ that these cases pose” were Angelo’s opening lines. His introduction made us feel more comfortable to really dig into knowing more about this industry from a practitioner’s point of view.

During the session, Angelo also demonstrated two case studies and coached us on how to deal with these different situations. We eagerly took part in the interactive discussion – from practice details to structural thinking methods, and more. It was a lively session worth doing as Angelo gamely and generously shared his experience and knowledge with us.

After the event, some 20 of us who attended, felt that we should continue to cultivate more of our skills by ‘doing’ more and more case studies, to prepare us to tackle the challenges posed by real life scenarios which consultants must face. Preparedness is key – and this is more emphasized after the event. We were further enlightened and inspired to pursue our aspirations to become a consultant one day.

‘Get to the Point’ – speaking in style in public

By Ramya Krishna, Indian, Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA, Intake 2011

Don’t we all want to be good speakers?

We all want to impress, influence and motivate our teams, clients, each and every person we meet. How, then, do we get there? How do we train and practice?

Like everybody else, I had a plethora of the similar never ending questions.

‘Get- to- the- Point’ is a public speaking workshop by Eric Feng, a well-known public speaking coach for CEO’s in Asia. The workshop was organised by The NANYANG MBA Women In Business Club (WIB) and it was a perfect venue for us to learn some great tips. The event was conducted right after our mid-trimester holidays at Nanyang’s other campus, NTU One-North Campus in Buona Vista, so it was a refreshing start for most of us.

Contrary to what you might expect in sessions like these, we had lots of fun.  Yes, absolute fun.

Now, you all wonder why all the learning in the world isn’t the same… Below are a series of photographs captured during the various activities, showcasing on how interactive, and ‘fun’ the workshop was for all of us – we learnt about our capabilities and how to maximize these, with Eric coaching us on how to become effective public speakers.

Eric Feng
Eric Feng in action

Continue reading ‘Get to the Point’ – speaking in style in public

Social Ventures – improving lives of the less fortunate in a sustainable manner –a new career path for MBAs?

By Nyan Kyaw, Myanmar, Nanyang MBA Intake 2011

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.

The NANYANG MBA Students with Ms Thilma Komaling Banyuputro (1st row, 5th from left) - (left to right, 1st row) Myanmar Nyan Kyaw, American Samir Mowla, Indonesian Wahyu Widianti, Chinese Zhou Dan, Ms Thilma, MBA Office Management Grace Wee and Charlotte Kong; (left to right, 2nd row) Indonesian Djoko Tanto Wijoyo, and Vietnamese Vu Manh Tran Hung.

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.

Over the next 2 years, Thilma spent her life juggling between career and volunteering for charities and social ventures. Finally, she took the plunge and devoted her life solely on social ventures. Currently, she is working for Rumah, a low cost mobile phone carrier in Indonesia. The aim of the venture is to provide poor families in the rural areas of Indonesia with access to mobile phones and also create jobs. Continue reading Social Ventures – improving lives of the less fortunate in a sustainable manner –a new career path for MBAs?

One-on-one coaching with veteran Career Coach on banking & finance careers

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.

Banking and Finance club during the workshop.

Women in Business: An Entrepreneur's Story – "From Networking to Business Alliances"

Blog by: Kwa Hwee Lay, Clarie & Filda Citra Yusgiantoro, Singaporean and Indonesian, respectively; Nanyang MBA participants, Intake 2011

The NANYANG MBA Women in Business (WIB) Club held a talk cum workshop “An Entrepreneur’s Story”. We had the honor of welcoming one of Indonesia’s distinguished female entrepreneurs, founder and CEO of Mobiliari Media Group, Ms Millie Stephanie. Mobiliari (PT Mobiliari Stephindo) is a media company that counts Indonesia Tatler and Forbes Indonesia among its many publications. Ms Millie fostered a lively discussion of her experiences as an entrepreneur with a group 10 WIB club members, and the only thorn among the roses, our German colleague, Justus Kaiser (in picture below, 5th from left).


Continue reading Women in Business: An Entrepreneur's Story – "From Networking to Business Alliances"

Waseda Business Students visit Nanyang and Singapore – Learning new perspectives

By The Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA Coordinator’s Office

In September last year, The NANYANG MBA had the opportunity to welcome students and faculty from the Waseda Business School for the latter’s annual Waseda Seminar Tour, choosing Singapore as their destination. It was an experience for us here in The NANYANG MBA, as our Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA students were able to interact with their Waseda counterparts and faculty members from Japan, making great connections for life.

Professor Takeshi Moriguchi, one of the esteemed faculty members in the Faculty of Commerce in Waseda University and Shuichi Mitsuhashi-san, one of the Waseda students participating in the seminar tour, share their perspectives and experiences, respectively, of what the tour is all about, why they chose Singapore as their destination, their impressions of the city-state and their experiences in meeting our Nanyang-Waseda students.

What is the purpose of the Waseda Seminar Tour?

Prof Moriguchi (Prof M): Waseda Seminar Tour is organized to give our (Waseda) students the opportunity to interact with relevant business people and have an interactive discussion on marketing topics, and this time we decided to go to Singapore. It also gives our students the chance to meet their counterparts in Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA and discuss the same. As a bonus, the trip also served as our way of relieving stress of everyday life and we enjoyed a relaxing time in between.

Professor Moriguchi in class, speaking to both Waseda and Nanyang-Waseda students during the Summer Tour in September 2011.

Mitsuhashi-san (M-san):  The globalization of business has rapidly advanced. Therefore, we decided to go outside Japan for our seminar tour. We target to visit some international organizations and enterprises that have developed their businesses internationally, and get into a discussion about global marketing strategy with key industry professionals and leaders.

Moreover, for this trip, we aim to communicate and network with our overseas MBA peers and recognize the differences between Japanese and non-Japanese MBA students, and learn from these differences that could help us become successful in careers, post-MBA.

Why did you choose Singapore as your destination for your seminar tour?

Prof M: Singapore is very accessible from Japan. Most of the students participating in the study tour were business people and have very limited time to spare, and it was difficult for them to join a long trip. As Singapore is not so far away from Tokyo, the distance and travel time worked out well for all, therefore, we chose it as a destination.

More importantly, we knew Singapore is one of the international business location leaders in the Asia region. Thus, we hoped (which we did have) for an intellectually stimulating experience in Singapore, and we made valuable connections, too.

M-san: Singapore is recognized as the “Hub” in Asia Pacific, and takes on an important role in the international business arena. Being exposed to the country will definitely be a great experience for us, not only personally, but professionally.

Moreover, the academic level of Singapore is very high (against the global average), therefore, we expect thighly of our counterparts – MBA students in Singapore and learn from our differences and similarities in perspectives, and orientation in the business world.

What are your impressions of Singapore?

Prof M:  This is the third time I have visited Singapore. Several years back, I felt that Singapore was one of the small countries in South East Asia. However, this time, even if it still remains small in size, I regarded Singapore as huge in economic progress, and a very active and vibrant country. My impression of Singapore has, indeed, changed drastically for the better.

M-san: I felt that Singapore was a very lively and vibrant place, a well-disciplined and clean country. If there is an opportunity later on, I would like to experience Singapore i.e. live in this city-state for a couple of years.  Overall, the country is very attractive to professionals like me, as it is an easy & convenient place to live in.

Share with us your interaction with our Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA Students.

Prof M: Diversity is one of the many significant characteristics of the Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA. There was a great mix people and cultures. I believe that diversity produces positive educational effects in the strength of the  cohort which brings out the best in people. Diversity trains people well, , in dealing with people from various cultures and backgrounds. This is important once they finish the program and out into the business world.

Nanyang MBA student Harutaka-san (in white shirt) discussing with his counterparts from Nanyang-Waseda and Waseda during the Summer Tour

Sharon Ng (standing) one of the Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA students in a discussion with her Waseda and Nanyang-Waseda peers.

M-san:  Everyone in the Nanyang-Waseda program was a go-getter, friendly and appealing. In the short time that I have interacted with them, they are all outspoken, but at the same time they acknowledge other people’s opinions. They are also very results-oriented. If given the chance to earn an MBA abroad, I would like to be part of the Nanyang-Waseda program as the students left me an immense positive impression.

A group photo to remember the Summer Tour.

We have spoken to one of our students in Nanyang-Waseda, who had the opportunity to interact with their Waseda counterparts during the tour. Yodahvee, our student from Thailand who previously worked  as an analyst in Thailand with one of the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company, said , “It was a great opportunity for us in the Nanyang-Waseda program to meet our counterparts from Waseda. It was a rare and valuable chance to share our views about Japan business practices from an outsider’s perspective. It was not only useful for them, but it was also helpful for us to know Japan’s working culture and way of thinking in contrast to our own views. The exchange among us students coming from various backgrounds and experience was priceless. This, among many other advantages of the Nanyang-Waseda programme, makes our program a great value-add to our professional life, post-MBA.”


My thoughts on spending time with Japanese MBA students during their Waseda Summer Intensive Program

By Sharon NG, Singaporean, NANYANG-WASEDA Double MBA Program Participant

My NANYANG-WASEDA classmates and I had the opportunity to join our Waseda peers from Tokyo during their  Summer Intensive Program. The program is created with the goal to expose Waseda students to how Japanese companies are operating in a global environment. It is conducted entirely in English to expose students in an English and foreign environment, which sets the tone of the Program to come.

The intensive program spanned over five full days during the first week of August,  and  it even included the Singapore National Day holiday on the 9th of August, the day when Singapore became an independent republic*. Now that’s what I call intensive. There were a total of 25 students, including us from the NANYANG-WASEDA program,, and it was helmed by “Zemi-Cho” (Group Leader) Taniguchi Tatsuro-san and led by Professor Reiji  Ohtaki, Director of the Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA Program.  They were assisted by three very hardworking Waseda staff members: Tamada Masaki-san, Saitoh Kaz-san and Yajima Tomoko-san.

As I was doing the Nanyang-Waseda courses, I did not get to attend the first day of this Summer program because I had a full day of classes that day. On the 2nd day which I managed to attend , it was the Singapore National Day, and the group first discussed about organizational issues for Japanese companies. The session touched on how overseas branches have to deal with a consistent message on objectives and goals to align their activities with the Headquarters. A key take-away was that the Waseda students should aspire to become Global Business Leaders (GBL). This included teaching overseas branches how to fish, instead of spoon-feeding them or worse, force-feeding them.  Another key issue was remuneration and promotion of local staff to senior positions. This could help manage local staff better and also motivate them to perform better with the prospect of promotion.

Next was a session by Mr. Takayanagi who leads SBI Venture Capital, the venture capital/private equity firm of the SBI Group, a listed financial services group in Japan. Mr. Takayanagi has very impressive credentials, having degrees from Oxford’s Said and Harvard’s Kennedy School. He talked about how his company operates in Singapore as a parallel to the HQ in Japan, and enjoys a high degree of independence of decision-making. He also touched on how Singapore is ideal as a business location. As a transportation hub, many people stop by Singapore en route to other destinations, and hence, it is easy to meet people. The small size of the island also makes it easy for people to get introduced to one another, as each person probably only enjoys “two degrees of separation”.

On the third day of the week-long program, we were visited by the Managing Director of Yamato Transport Singapore, Mr. Toda Naoki (Yamato Transport is Japan’s No. 1 transportation service that offers same-day service, house-to-house delivery or Ta-Q-Bin). Mr. Toda spoke in Japanese, but had an interpreter who has a distinctive Singapore-English or we what we call as ‘Singlish’ accent! Kuroneko, the delivery service of Yamato, is a well-known household name in Japan that requires no introduction. However, Mr. Toda lamented about how tough it is for the company in Singapore in the first year of operations. SingPost is a formidable competitor with well-established locations and customers, and the concept of house-to-house delivery (Ta-Q-Bin) may not be well-understood by the local market. Training and high turn-over also proves to be a problem, as it is difficult to provide good quality service without competent Service Delivery staff.

As Mr. Toda took his leave, the program continued on the theme of talent management. Prof Ohtaki (left photo) quoted a survey done by JobStreet.com (which he is a consultant for, one of Singapore’s major online job search portals ) on the issues of speed of promotions, job-hopping, work-life balance, career aspirations and expectations, and also the keen interest of Singaporeans to be their own boss one day. This is in contrast with the Japanese concept of employment, which places an emphasis on loyalty, slow promotion, a more equitable rate of compensation, and also the desire to work for a big company. Noting these differences, Prof Ohtaki urged the Waseda students to think about such issues when managing local staff, so that both the company’s expectations and staff expectations can be aligned and met. Continue reading My thoughts on spending time with Japanese MBA students during their Waseda Summer Intensive Program

Networking beyond Singapore – MBA Class 2011 visits IFW in Batam

Author: Charlotte Kong, MBA Office

Having one of our alumni, Mr Greg Chiu, working as a senior executive in Infinite Frameworks Studio provided us the excellent opportunity of extending our network to Indonesia through an overseas company visit earlier this year.

When we first arrived at IFW, we were really impressed by the wonderful environment of the company. Surrounded by lush greenery and located right next to a stylish swimming pool complete with palm trees decorating the vicinity – it felt like a relaxation haven!

The NANYANG MBA Class 2011 Trip to IFW, Batam, Indonesia

After we got accustomed, the company visit commenced. It began with the introduction of IFW’s development and its major projects.

MBA Class 2011 Visits IFW in Batam, Indonesia

We learned about the operation, marketing and HR matters of IRW. We were even shown some creative animation clippings.

MBA Class 2011 visits IFW in Batam, Indonesia

MBA Class 2011 Visits IFW in Batam, Indonesia

Mr Chiu elaborated on the different factors and how they affect the company’s business decisions as well as shape the course of their development. It was a great case study with first hand information coming straight from the company management.

Following our fruitful exchange, we were told that IFW would approach our students for help regarding their future projects! It was a truly advantageous experience and I believe our Nanyang MBA students certainly learned a lot, just like I did.

MBA Class 2011 visits IFW in Batam, Indonesia

The trip certainly ended on a high note with all of us networking and dining al fresco at a modern Indonesian restaurant and reminiscing about the great experience we had. It was really a really good way to just relax, and have fun with your peers, when the journey’s done!

Sustainability guru Prof Marc Epstein speaks on Sustainability and the Bottom Line

NBS was pleased to have leading sustainability guru, Professor Marc Epstein of the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University in Houston, Texas, speak in the recently launched NBS Dean’s Seminar Series on Sustainable Development.

A Distinguished Research Professor of Management at the American business school, he has done extensive research, consulting and teaching in the sustainability area.

Prof Epstein’s talk on May 6th at NTU@one-north campus focused on Sustainability and the Bottom Line – a topic that is of interest to all in the business world as it is a significant challenge to concurrently measure and manage social and financial performance.

CEOs of global corporations and SMEs alike have recognised that managing stakeholder interests and the social, environmental and economic impact of corporate products, services, processes and other activities is critical for both financial and sustainability success, he said.

Based on his extensive research and advisory work with leading global companies like Nike, Proctor & Gamble, Shell and Nissan, Prof Epstein described how they had successfully integrated sustainability into their businesses and increased both financial and sustainability success.

The leadership challenge in corporations is the competing pressures to produce profits and to be a good corporate citizen. The good thing is that managers increasingly understand that these are linked. Already concepts like waste reduction – where you help to save the environment and “make money” by reducing wastage, and similarly improve product design to enhance efficiency, are well understood and practiced.

But increasingly tremendous thought was being given to integrating social and environmental risks with huge capital investment decisions. For instance, companies have to consider what would be the impact on their business if the consumers were to boycott their products if they were to use child labour or cause oil spills and the like.

Professor Epstein delivering his talk in the NBS Dean’s Seminar Series at NTU@one-north campus.

“When these events occur, companies and investors are typically both surprised and unprepared. And, such events are occurring more often,’’ Prof Epstein pointed out.

All companies must better anticipate external consequences of their activities and need to better anticipate social consequences. While some social impacts turn into crises, thankfully most do not, he said.

Among the social and political issues businesses need to look out for are: child labour and poor working conditions, environmental emissions, nationalisation of industries, joint venture partner risks, unstable or corrupt governments, potentially dangerous products, nutrition and obesity, and interrupted or unsafe supply.

At the same time there can be opportunities to convert a risk into an opportunity. For instance due to the public focus on nutrition and obesity, PepsiCo is very concerned about nutritional issues impacting its business and “is having a lot of its people look into it and look for new ways of doing business by coming up with new products,’’ Prof Epstein said.

“It is no longer only about risk and compliance – it is also about innovation and opportunity to simultaneously achieve excellence in sustainability and financial performance.’’

This requires more innovation and entrepreneurship from sustainability leaders, start-ups and SMEs, and more sensitivity to sustainability issues by innovation and R&D leaders, and business unit and functional leaders, he added.

Driving social and financial improvements through sustainability requires strong and innovative leadership. This is because businesses need to be innovative in both products and processes, for which they need both technological innovation in products and business model innovation in processes.

Prof Epstein also stressed that investors and lenders should encourage companies to integrate environmental, social and governance issues into operational and capital investment decisions.

“Early consideration provides enormous opportunities for companies of all sizes to be creative, innovative and achieve entrepreneurial success,’’ he added.
The talk was followed by a lively question-and-answer session.

Singapore Exchange SVP & CFO Mr Seck Wai Kwong’s talk on Corporate Social Responsibility

Mr Seck Wai Kwong, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Singapore
Exchange Ltd (SGX), spoke on corporate social responsibility (CSR) on April 21, in the
school in the newly launched Dean’s Seminar Series on Sustainable Development.

He is also Chairman of the NBS Graduate Advisory Board.

Professor Gillian Yeo, Interim Dean, said in her welcome that the topic is particularly
important to us as we nurture future business leaders.

Mr Seck said CSR could be broadly defined as the proactive and deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision making, and voluntarily not engaging in
practices that could have a negative public impact.

“CSR is about achieving a “triple bottom line’ of People, Planet and Profit by doing the
right thing in the process,’’ he added.

The goals of CSR are not, and should not be counter to commercial interest, but can
complement each other, Mr Seck said. There were many eminent examples, one of
which is Toyota’s focus on green technology and its fuel-efficient Prius car.

Mr Seck’s talk covered SGX’s own CSR journey, why companies and organizations
should take CSR seriously and finally on what NBS can do to promote CSR.

For SGX, CSR takes on a special dimension as SGX is both the operator and regulator
of Singapore’s listing platform, as well as a listed company.

“This means we always have to play a balanced and multi-faceted role. Our
stakeholders include more than just shareholders and staff. It includes institutions
such as our members and their customers, listed companies and investors; vendors
and regulators, and to some extent, the society at large.”

Mr Seck highlighted SGX’s initiatives like the Bull Charge – a fun run for charity, and
sending out the annual report in a CD – with the number of requests for a hardcopy
annual report down to less than 2% out of a shareholder base o over 30,000, as some of the efforts to promote CSR.

As for why companies and organizations should take CSR seriously, he said among the reasons were that shareholders are interested in CSR, CSR companies give attractive
returns to shareholders, CSR is good for branding, it gives companies freedom to
operate, CSR can create new business opportunities and that it is the right thing to

Mr Seck said that for its part as a business school, NBS can do two big things.
First, it can be a CSR champion within the university community and beyond, even
nationally and internationally.

“Another local university has a Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting Centre.
I’m not aware of any university research centre established in Singapore to examine
the broader CSR/ESG issues. Would NBS take on this mantle and lead the way? This
whole area of CSR provides fertile grounds for academic research and application,’’ he

The second thing NBS can do could be even more impactful as it can impact the
thousands of students who come through its doors every year with a CSR
consciousness that lasts a lifetime.

“Think of the multiplier effect your CSR-conscious graduates will have on the
thousands of companies they join and the families they will have.

“In fact I believe many of our NBS students today are already very socially and
environmentally aware. Our job is to encourage that, reinforce that, and demonstrate
that CSR is something that is not faddish but applicable, relevant and necessary in
the real world of business,’’ Mr Seck added.

His talk was followed by a lively question-and-answer session.