Tag Archives: Living in Singapore

Impatient Singapore pushes the boundaries

by Laura Melina Loeven, posted on Financial Times MBA blog

I cannot count how many times I have read the word “moor noissucsid” over the past few weeks. It sounds like a mystic secret language from The Lord of the Ringsdoesn’t it? But it is just plain English for discussion room. Sadly, I spend so much time inside the study rooms that I often find myself reading the label on the glass door backwards when I happen to stare at the one door that separates me from the outside world.

I had two days to go until the Christmas break and to my despair the list of assignments to finish was much longer than my shopping list.

Most days the two best friends of any MBA student, laptop and extra large coffee mug, share the peaceful quiet of the discussion room with me. From time to time, the door opens and the head of one of my fellow students appears. We are all in this together, and the many sharing sessions or quick bouncing back and forth of ideas between doors were worth the long hours spent in a dimly lit study hall.

Joining an MBA programme and relocating to Singapore has changed my life. Back home in Germany, I grouchily complained about the penetrating cold outside and lamented the ruthless heating of indoor facilities. Now, I start sweating as soon as I step outside but shock-freeze when I enter a building. The temperatures across campus are adjusted to facilitate optimal brain activity. It turns out that my body and brain have very different requirements in terms of climate, and while my head is working at high speed, the rest of me goes into shock mode.

Not only have my MBA studies affected the way I dress (I wear long pants and a scarf at 30C outdoor temperature), but I also changed my sleeping patterns, eating habits and exercise schedule.

The challenges of juggling classwork, assignments, workshops, career talks, a symposium here and a lecture there will quickly transform even the most efficient of all multitaskers into a restless jitterbug. Singapore is a great place for the ambitious, the disciplined and the determined. The vibe of the city will teach you to always keep an eye on the goal and to keep an eye on the competition while walking towards that goal. In a city where everything works, public transport runs smoothly, no escalator ever breaks, and even the pizza delivery company keeps its “30 minute” promise when ordering to a remote university campus, you cannot but drop your jar and decide to work harder yourself. The pizza man just shrugs his shoulders, utterly unimpressed.

German by birth, I strive for efficiency, value speed and reliability, and I definitely appreciate punctuality. Now I share a city with textbook workaholics, and I wonder if I ever even properly understood the definition of punctuality. For the first time, it is possible that I am last to show up for an appointment. My homework might receive a “nice, but more thorough analysis required”. And I am still baffled that I have not ever waited for a delayed train.

What bewildered me at first, makes total sense to me these days. Singapore is impatient. An austere yet friendly nation that is poised for further growth. Uniting tradition and modernity, Singapore demands an increasing share of the world’s attention.

In the middle of this place that looks like Disneyland but works like the “good elves”: my business school. A school that might cool down the body, but successfully heats up a student’s mind. A school that will go above and beyond to prepare its graduates to wander on the path of growth, personally and professionally. Even if that means they live in the moor noissucsid.

Having reached the halfway mark of my MBA journey, I have already discovered that it will not be enough to just be prepared to reach my goals. Here in Singapore, goals are stretched and limits pushed.


published on: Financial Times – FT.com


5 Ways to Live Like a Local in Singapore

A metropolitan city-state known for its towering skyscrapers and cosmopolitan culture, Singapore is an amazing place to live and explore. Ranked as Asia’s most liveable city and the world’s third best, it is one of the safest in the world. Being a global financial centre, with a consistently stable government, and a burgeoning technology hub, the city is a much sought after educational destination for international students.

If you are a student living in Singapore, or someone who is considering the idea of pursuing your studies there, then here are a few ways that you can soak in the Singaporean lifestyle and experience the city like a local.

Local in Singapore

Ride the MRT

You haven’t lived the true Singaporean life, if you haven’t been on a commute in the city’s popular subway, also known as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Spanning 152.9 kilometres and connecting more than 113 stations, the Singapore MRT is the fastest, easiest and the safest way to get around the city. While there are always taxis to cater to your travel needs, a ride in the MRT is something that lets you feel the pulse of the city and experience the breath-taking views of Singapore’s major landmarks. MRT stations are also known for their remarkable architecture and art installations. The fact that ticketing is done via contactless stored value smartcards, known as the EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay cards, also makes commuting in MRT quite convenient for students, professionals and other regular commuters.

Work and Lounge in Cafes

Whether it’s hanging out with friends in the evening, grabbing your breakfast in the morning or completing your class assignments during the day, Singapore has a slew of cafes that not only offer lively ambience and mouth-watering snacks and beverages, but also provide free Wifi, making them a go-to place for students and professionals to work and relax. Afterglow on Keong Saik Road, Habitat Coffee on Upper Thomson Road, Group Therapy Cafe on Duxton Road, Club Street Social on Gemmill Lane, and Bridge Cafe on Seah Street – these are some of the Singaporean cafes offering free Wifi.

Dance Away the Blues

What makes Singapore such an attractive destination for students and young professionals? It’s got to be the city’s scintillating nightlife. Singapore’s bars, pubs and clubs let you unwind and party hard after a busy day at work. Clarke Quay, Orchard Road, Zouk Club, Chijmes, and Boat Quay – there are endless places to indulge your inner party animal in Singapore.

Go on a Shopping Spree

Think of Singapore and the word ‘shopping’ comes to your mind. From shopping malls to outlet stores, international brands to local products, Singapore has something for every kind of shopper, something for every purse size. Apart from the glitzy malls featuring a wide range of international brands on Orchard Road and Marina Bay Sands, there are also the Mustafa Centre, Bugis Junction and Far East Plaza where you can shop till you drop, without making a big dent in your wallet. Don’t skip the neighbourhood malls like Jurong Point, Bishan Junction 8 and West Mall.

Get Adventurous

Singaporeans love to participate in sports and adventure activities. As a sports enthusiast and thrill-seeker, you’ll have myriad places to get your adrenaline fix. Being an island destination, Singapore is well known for its wide range of water sports such sailing, snorkelling, kayaking and water-skiing. Reverse bungee jumping, indoor skydiving and Formula One racing are a few other unique outdoor experiences worth having in Singapore.

These are just a few of the things that you can do to explore Singapore’s vibrant culture. Share this post with your friends and help them make the most of their stay in the Lion City.

Taking on Singapore’s famous chilli & black pepper crabs – an experience to remember!


by Teo Eng Soon, Singaporean, Intake Class of 2012

One weekend evening in August, students from the Nanyang MBA made their way to Red House Seafood Restaurant at East Coast Park, one of Singapore’s popular places for a great feast. For some, it was the first time trying Singaporean style seafood. For the rest, it was a time for the class to catch up with one another in spite of our busy schedule.









That’s me in the photo, ready to start with a pair of chopsticks.

The set dinner consisted of several dishes such as drunken prawn (yes!), sweet and sour fish fillet and more. But the highlight of the night was the chilli and black pepper crabs- Singapore is famous for these 2 ways of preparing crabs (the crabs are from Sri Lanka). Some of our classmates find it spicy , but very tasty- some really have to adjust their taste buds, but no one gave up on this ‘exotic’ dish! You cannot say you have been in Singapore and have not tasted this wonderfully delicious dish.

The tricky part of eating crabs was to open the shell. Getting our hands ‘dirty’ with the gravy sauce, was inevitable. The reward was the tender and full flavour of crab meat that lies within the solid, hard shell.

An important precaution to note is when you break open the shells, is to be wary of the other people sitting on other tables around us. The gravy (chilli sauce) can splash far enough to “hit” the clothes of the rest, making them “casualties” in the process. But that’s the fun part of it.











Chilli crabs with fried buns. Love it.                                                 Thumbs up!

The dinner ended with a much healthier choice- a platter of tropical fruits. Special thanks to our classmate Singaporean Josephine, for hosting the dinner and the rest who have helped in one way or another to welcome our international friends!

Burp- Nothing like a good meal in the eastern side of Singapore!

Our initial weeks at Nanyang, improving English skills with new friends – what a great start!

By Nguyen Truong, Vietnamese and Yeh Ming-min, Taiwanese, with contributions from the rest of the Intensive English Class participants.

Our first impression about this course must be the friendliness of our classmates, professor, and MBA Office staff. Everyone smiles to welcome new students and considers others as close friends at the very beginning. Although below is our very first picture before the class (there were 18 of us, coming from 10 countries), we seem to know each other for a very long time.

Intensive English Class 2012 - Nanyang MBA

After that, Ms. Catherine, our professor, walked with us around Nanyang Business School (NBS), to introduce the school and for us to get familiar with the location. It was a long walk, going through many doors and stairs. The Nanyang campus is huge – we were told that the campus has a land area of 200 hectares and lots of greeneries!  With every door we go through, our classmates were waiting and kept doors open for others. It was so great for the first day!

Ms. Catherine is probably one of the nicest professors we have ever known. She prepared the course carefully that all we needed to do was just to relax and enjoy the class. Homework was really fun, too! We watched “Mind your language!” to learn about the possible dangers when  English is not used properly! Besides the reading and media assisting self-learning, the case studies were excellent chances for us to work together and understand our classmates.

Moreover, each week, we were given one case study to strengthen our analytical capabilities and business presentation skills. We believe that this was a great opportunity for all of us to brush up our English language skills as well as get to know each other before the real journey begins. Honestly, we learned a lot from this class!

Intensive English Class 2012
Taking a break while doing a case study with teammates from (left to right) Rita from China, Nguyen-that’s me! (Vietnam), Eric from Taiwan and Iwai from Japan
Another case study group - peers from China and Thailand
Another case study group - peers from China and Thailand

After our class, it was certainly a great time for sharing interests.

On weekends, the class would often meet for entertainment…
On weekends, the class would often meet for entertainment…


…at the Sky Lounge of the now famous Marina Bay Sands, Singapore (Me - Mimi or Ming-Min, in black, middle row,  3rd from left!)
…at the Sky Lounge of the famous Marina Bay Sands, Singapore (Me - Mimi or Ming-Min, in black, middle row, 3rd from left!)


…going to the bar to chill out…
…going to the bar to chill out…
…enjoying life with family…
…enjoying life with family…
…hanging around together with new friends…
…hanging around together with new friends…


…and doing what most gentlemen do…
…and doing what most gentlemen do…

Zhang Rui, Chinese, reminisces the experience. “Three weeks’ time is just like a blink of an eye. I have not been able to go around the whole campus even once, but I will say goodbye to our dearest Catherine, our intensive English class lecturer this coming Friday. I still remembered the first day I met our guys (the incoming cohort attending this preparatory English language class) in front of the MBA Office. I saw so many fresh faces, each with great joy and excitement for the coming new life in this beautiful green campus. I also remembered the first big smile from Catherine, a smile which melted all the strangeness between us. From that day on, we guys spent so many unforgettable moments together. We learnt how to do a professional presentation, we discussed for hours, how to do an analysis of a business case- we made progress every time we accepted a new challenge and we cheered for everyone’s improvement. Most happily, we received such precious friendship from each other. We also left our footprint on the Marina Bay Sands, that famous new integrated resort in SIngapore which is presently a main tourist attraction. Together, we enjoyed cuisine from around the world- yes in this food paradise called Singapore.”

Now, it is the last week of this course. Time passes so fast, especially when we are happy. Each of us actually gained many experiences and improved significantly in these two weeks. Waiting ahead is not only another  learning week or the assessment but also the last day of this program , and everything here become sweet memories about our first days at Nanyang… Zhang further adds, “when I look back to all I experienced, all I did and all I got in the past three weeks, I want to say “thank you” to our MBA programme, to Ms Catherine Cheng and to all our guys (my MBA peers). Thanks for the special arrangement of the MBA programme, I have this opportunity to come one month earlier to join the Intensive English Course. Thanks to Catherine, I have learnt so much from her well-designed course and her well-prepared learning materials. Thanks to our guys, with you, I feel so great now and raring to start my MBA journey at Nanyang next week.”

‘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

German style BBQ to celebrate end of Trimester

By Bui Vinh Nguyen (William), Vietnamese, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011

With Trimester 2 exams completed, it signaled that we were half way through our MBA journey at Nanyang.  To celebrate this, we gathered at Tanglin View Condo, a centrally located, beautiful condominium near town area. Our gracious hosts were our classmates from Germany who prepared German style BBQ (we had Korean last time). It was an event too, to share stories, laughter and our plans in the near future after our MBA.

Our German hosts for the night - (Left to right) Justus, Florian, and Simon
Our German hosts for the night – (Left to right) Justus, Florian, and Simon

Continue reading German style BBQ to celebrate end of Trimester

Understanding more the Chinese New Year Celebration in Singapore

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.

Chinese New Year Goodies Pineapple Tarts
Apart from the pineapple tart (yellow-color pastry), we were also served local Singaporean goodies like peanut puff and pork floss rolls.

Continue reading Understanding more the Chinese New Year Celebration in Singapore

Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA Students featured in J+ Magazine

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 (in black), during a visit of fellow Waseda peers in Singapore (Waseda Summer Tour 2011)

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 (standing) engaged in a discussion with fellow Waseda peers during the latters’ visit in Singapore for the Waseda Summer Tour, 2011.



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.


A taste of Korea – BBQ, kimchi and happy faces…

The NANYANG MBA Ex-co organizes BBQ for the AY 2011/2012
By Charles Chua, Singaporean, Nanyang MBA participant intake 2011, VP for Socials Student Ex-Co

No matter where you come from, sharing a good meal in the midst of like-minded company is a great way to spend a weekend especially if it is after a rigorous week in school. It is not a hidden fact that having a delicious meal is one of the many things our cohort enjoys most. With a very diverse cohort that we have, we thought – why not have a BBQ, with an Asian twist? And so, the first BBQ was organized by the Student Ex-Co 2011/12 at one of our classmates abode (and gracious hosts for the night) in a condominium in the Western part of Singapore.

Continue reading A taste of Korea – BBQ, kimchi and happy faces…

Tiger Beer– Singapore’s very own world-class brew dazzles

By Simon Mathies, German, The NANYANG MBA Participant Intake 2011

To be considered to be the best, one has to put in the finest of all ingredients. Just like pursuing our aspirations to be the best in our chosen field after our studies, we chose to do The NANYANG MBA, considered to be one of the World’s Top MBA programmes. The same goes for Tiger Beer, which has come a long way since 1932.  “A lot goes into every bottle of Tiger. The finest malt, hops and yeast. Taste-testing over 10 samples of quality of water everyday. Over 200 quality checks. All part of a strict brewing process that takes over 500 hours.” This Singapore concoction has gone a long way – it has garnered over 40 international awards, winning drinkers in major cities all over the world. So how do they do that? And that is what we Nanyang MBA students found out in our visit to its headquarters in Singapore.

Organized by the Wine, Liqueur and Beer Appreciation Club, the trip to the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), maker of Tiger Beer, we (10 Nanyang MBA students) were warmly welcomed by APB staff and were introduced to the brewing process through an enjoyable multi-media presentation. Afterwards, we got to know the different ‘fine’ ingredients needed to make this award winning beer. After a short confidential advice to protect APB’s unique ‘art of brewing’, we entered the ‘sacred halls’ of the brewery. Inside, club members saw the highly sophisticated and automated process and the enormous polished kettles and pipe works. Even more impressing was the bottling/packaging plant. Though we may have some initial idea on how the preparations are done, but to see the actual process is simply amazing.

After the guided tour, is the part each and everyone is waiting for – to enjoy the various tastes of the different brands licensed by APB in their own Tavern located next to the factory. There is probably no better way to have a fresh tasteful Tiger right inside the brewery itself! Jane Wang, our Chinese peer, summed up our experience – “During the Tiger Brewery trip, we visited the factory and were briefed the process of producing draft beer, we took a nice group picture with the “tiger” statue in front of the factory, we were offered to drink 4 kinds of different draft beer as much as we can (drink all you can, that’s right!). We chatted and played games in the bar next to the factory while drinking the freshly-made beer.”

Enjoying the beer with friends –Jane, yours truly Simon, Ralph and Eric

Continue reading Tiger Beer– Singapore’s very own world-class brew dazzles