Tag Archives: Life at Nanyang

A rainbow connection – Celebrating Holi and Songkran the colorful and fun way!

Author: Sujata Sawai and Tai Yossiree, Class of 2011

On a bright Saturday afternoon, some thirty of us gathered together at Graduate Hall grounds to celebrate the advent of spring and celebrate two of Asia’s widely celebrated festivities – Songkran from Thailand and Holi, from India, last 16th of April.   In fact Holi has been celebrated at Nanyang by the MBA students for the last 3 years, while this is the first Songkran event celebration at Nanyang. And celebrating this together is a first too, we believe!

Songkran day is the celebration of Thai New Year, which falls in the middle of April of each year, and it is celebrated all over Thailand. With a long history people gather on the streets with water containers, water guns and white powder and splash or throw them on friends or passerby. However, on a serious note, the main purpose of Songkran day is to pay a visit to family or elders, and also to go to temple for Buddhist activities as Thais look forward to a better year.

Coming from Thailand (yes, that’s me – Tai), I feel that my classmates should not only experience Songkran the way how it is celebrated, but also to create a sense of unity as a family – doing activities outside of academic life like having fun together. Like what Songkran festival is all about – together, we will ‘wash away’ the sadness, tiredness and stress from our studies, and be ready for the new year to come!

Holi, on the other hand, is the spring religious festival celebrated by Hindus and dates back many centuries ago. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and countries with large Indic diaspora populations, such as Suriname, Malaysia, and Guyana, among others. Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), which, for this year, fell on 20th of March. Like Songkran, Holi is celebrated by throwing colored powder (dye powder) and colored water at each other. Traditionally, playful throwing of colored powder and water has medicinal significance, especially during the onset of spring which normally brings viral fever and cold due to change of weather (reference: Wikipedia.com). 

Finding clothes to discard was easy. We had to since we wanted to have fun throwing colored water and colored powder at our classmates- we knew that our clothes will be soiled and will be thrown away after the celebrations. We had a fantastic time splashing one another with colored water!

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Three stooges all soiled up – me (Tai) in the middle with Snigdha (left) and Reynold (right)

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We ran across the huge vacant field beside our graduate residence hall, and no one escaped the flurry of powder and water.

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Esmond’s makeshift shower but making a mess out of Alejandra (left) and Flora (right), while lonesome Scott pretends to be a Red Indian.

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Zos is trying to be serious out here, while Claudia playfully poses to the camera (Thank you both for the awesome photos!)

Everyone was ecstatic with joy as we messed our clothes – some went stumbling down on the ground laughing, diving into a mixture of mud and colored water, while others  chased madly those who have not been messed up with buckets of it (yes, buckets!) and ensured that they are messed up as well. Here at Nanyang, we ‘hit a lot ’ with this joint celebration – we gathered as  family, we cooled ourselves from the hot and humid weather of Singapore during this time and  cooled down  from the stress from studies, as well! Just like how I experienced it in India (Sujata), the day was filled with the spirit of joy, naughtiness, passion and enthusiasm. Even one of our classmates, Claudia, wished that there were celebrations like this in her home country – Germany! As Claudia puts it, “I really enjoyed celebrating Holi & Songkran with my fellow students. It was the first time for me to get to know these celebrations and helped me in understanding and experiencing Thai and Hindu culture. While we were throwing colours and water at each other, everybody was cheering, laughing.  In the end, I was completely covered in all kinds of colours… it was just a lot of fun! I wish we had a Holi and Songkran celebration in Germany, too! The cross-cultural festivals at NBS, like Mid-Autumn festival, Diwali and Holi & Songkran celebration, make my MBA in Singapore a memorable and unique experience for me. I’m looking forward to more of these!”

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Our classmates are having a fantastic time (topmost photo); We still look good despite being so ‘colorful’ – (from left to right) Mandar, Me (Sujata), Sameer and Vidushi.

And to end this day of fun, we had good food to nourish our near-aching bodies [from all those running and stumbling, and getting hit by throwing water]. We feasted on an awesome assortment of Thai and Indian food like Veg Pakoda, pineapple fried rice, Thai fish cake, and Thai banana in coconut milk (Prof Siri, you are fantastic in preparing this for us!). Nothing beats a hungry stomach, so we emptied everything on the table!

A shout out of thanks to our Student ExCo and the rest of our classmates for making this double celebration more fun and exciting! Who says that MBA students are no fun at all?

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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 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.

John Molson Experience – getting a feel of a global business competition

Written by                      The NANYANG MBA 2011 Team to John Molson

Alexander Pflock (Full time / Germany),Joseph Arollado (Full time / Philippines)

Irfan Khan (Full time / USA)

Manu Muraleedharan (Full time Double Degree Waseda / India)

Marcus Yan (Full time Double Degree Waseda / Singapore)

For the 3rd straight year, Nanyang is sending a team for the 30th John Molson Case Competition in Canada, held from 3 to 8 Jan 2011. Our team is representing the Nanyang Business School, after beating a few teams at Nanyang. he selection process for the NBS team was an in-class case competition  among aspiring teams, during the New Venture Practicum course. We were really excited when we heard about our being chosen as the team  and were proud to represent NTU at the competition.

On the first day, the committee organized a city chase in the morning to familiarize the participants with the city and the neighborhood. After going through administrative procedures in the afternoon, we had the opportunity to meet the other 35 competing schools at the cocktail lounge.

Our Team, comprised of Irfan , Alex , Marcus  ,Manu and Joseph newly arrived at the competition center.

On the second day, all the participants had their game faces on as they eagerly waited for the actual competition to start.  The schedule and mechanics of the competition were straight forward.  The entire competition lasts for a total of five days.  Three and a half days were allocated for elimination, half a day for semi-finals and the last day for the finals. 36 competing teams were segregated into 6 divisions.  The elimination round was a head-to-head, round-robin system where we would have to compete against the other 5 teams in our division.  The scoring system was a bit complicated.  Judges would have to split a total of 11 points between the competitors.  The gap between the winner and loser can be as wide as 11 – 0, or as close as 6 – 5.  The actual mechanic for the case analysis and presentation was again pretty simple.  Groups were brought in to isolated rooms wherein they were given three hours to analyze a case.  After three hours, teams would have to proceed to the presentation room where they were given 25 minutes to present, and 15 minutes to answer questions from the judges. The exceptions were the “live” case in which a team is given only 2 hours to prepare and a “short” case wherein a team had only 15 minutes to present. The analysis was all written down in transparencies and presented using an over-head projector.

Our Team, sitting relaxed in the presentation board room, while waiting for the competition.

The competition was very tough as most of the schools came in well prepared. Just like our school, many schools had a special course designed specifically to prepare students for this competition.  Though the strategies or analysis were quite similar across the teams, the presentation styles were clearly different.  Some teams were really polished, in the sense that they already had a certain routine prepared.  They were even trained on using the transparencies which was evident with creation of on the fly templates on transparency.

Given the amount of lead time between selection and the competition and the number of relevant courses our team members have done, we performed really well. We believe that some aspects of the competition, specifically presentation, can be learned and further improved. On the other hand, we felt really proud of ourselves, knowing that our ideas and creativity gave us an edge over our competitors.  In fact, we were able to beat Queen’s School of Business who were the runner-up at the end.  All-in-all, the competition gave our team valuable insights about our strengths, weaknesses and team dynamics.  One lesson we learned is that our team excelled in thinking out of the box. Furthermore, our team members complimented each other in terms of knowledge and contributions. On the other hand, we realized that presenting collectively is a skill that we had taken for granted. In addition, we understood the importance of composure in such competitions.

On the lighter side, the organizing committee made sure all the 36 schools got enough time to interact with each other. To achieve this, they organized a networking event every evening – cocktail night, ball dance, hockey night. They even had a learning session for ball dance. We also attended informal networking sessions every night at the hotel, where we discussed the proceedings of the day and also discussed on the strategy changes the next day. The best part about this competition was that not only we got to meet peers from schools all around the world, but also the coaches of those schools were open to sharing where they thought our team was going wrong and what should we focus on. So, the competitors during the day time became your friends and teachers in the evening.

Our team, spending some light moments, trying out the cold outdoors, with some of the competing students,