Tag Archives: Nanyang Waseda

Farewell to Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA Students

The eight participants of the Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA Program take their first two trimesters on the NTU campus together with the  full-time Nanyang batch.  Upon completing trimester two, the Waseda students head off to complete the third trimester in Tokyo, Japan, at Waseda University while the rest of the full-time cohort will complete their coursework at Nanyang.

This year, Double MBA participants come from a number of countries including Japan, South Korea, America, the Philippines, and Singapore. Many Double MBA students wanted to return home to see their families before the start of the Waseda coursework, so an early farewell party was set for February 17th.

As an exhausting Ultimate frisbee game has been a staple of stress relief for many, everyone started off the day with a quick match in the intense Singapore heat.

In the evening, a huge barbecue with plenty of drinks and food to go around was hosted on the ground floor just outside of the Graduate Hall buildings. Most of the MBA students and staff were in attendance and spent time reminiscing over the past eight months. After everyone had plenty of food, Professor Nilanjan Sen, the Associate Dean of Nanyang Business School, and Sancho Causay, a member of the Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA cohort, gave speeches and cut the various farewell cakes to close out the night.

Many chose to stay around for an afterparty, the last chance to be together as a single student body before the Double MBAs begin to head off for Tokyo.

Having made enough memories to last a lifetime in just the past eight months, it’s safe to say that the Double MBA students will be missed. The cohort has become like family through fun  times, the academic rigor and stress, and the mere time spent together, so everyone is sure to meet again in the future.

group photo

students at the farewell party

Big in Japan: doing business in the Land of the Rising Sun

By Laura Melina Loeven, Nanyang Business School

At the prospect of spending one week on a business study mission in Tokyo, I felt slightly nervous about offending senior Japanese managers. Being European, the manifold unwritten rules of Japanese business culture were still a mystery to me.

Thankfully, prior to my departure for my first MBA study trip I got to attend a crash course on Japanese business culture and the ‘dos and don´ts’ of socialising, hosted by my fellow Japanese class mates.

For one evening, I was fully drawn into the Japanese lifestyle while enjoying sushi and sake, admiring a traditional Japanese dance, learning bowing ceremonies, practising the correct exchange of business cards and eventually pondering the acquisition of Jim Beam whisky by a Japanese beverage company.

After I learned never to decline an invitation to socialise, I glanced at the tremendous amounts of sake that businessmen consume and quickly became concerned about the bowing ceremonies that I had been introduced to previously. The trip to Japan promised to be exciting.

Thinking about the city life in Tokyo, I dreamed of sky-high office towers, large and flashy advertisement screens and hordes of Hello Kittys. Crowds of business people in black suits, glued to their smartphones, appeared in front of my inner eye.

Yet, finally arriving in Tokyo, the city presented a very different image of itself. While some parts of metropolitan Tokyo felt like travelling back to the 60s, others were truly modern and impressed with trendy, simplistic and cutting-edge architecture. The streets of the hip districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku were indeed glitzy, but did not provoke the sensory overload that I anticipated.

Before heading to Tokyo, my classmates had warned me that most Japanese tend to seek harmony at all cost. Meetings run without friction and most people shy away from challenging authority by whatever means. I expected somewhat dull sessions on non-debatable company facts and figures and was prepared to sit through long, presentations from high-ranked executives.

What I found was the exact opposite. The executives that entertained the challenging questions of this bunch of ambitious MBAs did not fear any confrontation but exhibited great vigor, flexibility and a solid sense of humour in presenting their work. Instead of counting the minutes during dusty standard presentations, I was deeply impressed with the creativity, resoluteness and sincerity of the hosts’ responses to even the trickiest interrogations.

I learnt about the various strategic plans, experienced different company cultures and discussed Japan´s growth plans from every angle during our trip. Never a dull moment on this business study mission!

Five days of back-to-back meetings with 12 Japan-based companies and their highly inspirational leaders allowed me to gain valuable insights into Japanese management styles and to develop a firm understanding for growth strategies and corporate development tactics.

Currently, many Japanese companies find themselves at an inflection point. As a result of “Abenomics”, structural and fiscal reforms introduced by prime minster Abe, the nominal GDP has grown by 2.2 per cent over the past year, the highest growth in 17 years. How well an organisation responds to the challenges that arise in periods of change will determine the share of the overall national growth that the company can enjoy in the future.

The most common issue pinpointed by all presenters, an aging society as well as an overall decreasing population, will significantly impact Japan´s competitiveness in global markets in the long run. Further, many Japanese do not have a professional command of English so that their employers are often confronted with major obstacles when doing business with overseas partners.

The programmes introduced to improve the command of English are a necessary investment to make Japanese firms more attractive for foreign investment as it will eventually facilitate collaboration across borders.

I was delighted to learn that Japanese companies attach ever more importance on people development and increasingly focus on hiring international talent. Many of the companies who hosted Q&A sessions with my MBA class emphasised that they experienced radical progress by selectively incentivising employees and revising their HR policies. Offering flexible work style solutions to attract more women to the corporate world, providing training and international exchange programmes as well as shaping an overall growth mindset, has proven effective to nurture business success.

All the leaders who welcomed me and my classmates to their office agreed in saying that heavy investments in research and development programmes are crucial to compete on an international scale. While attentively monitoring innovation cycles, the firms aim to stay on top of market trends and best tailor products to customer needs.

With limited talent pools and only little entrepreneurial spirit in their own country, Japanese businesses focus on expanding through investments beyond the saturated Japanese market by asset purchases, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions.

Nikkei Inc., publisher of the largest Japanese financial newspaper, has recently announced the acquisition of the Financial Times to strengthen its global and digital growth profile. Suntory, a Japanese beverage distribution company group, has taken over the American whiskey brand Jim Beam to enhance its footprint beyond Japanese markets.

Even though Japan was not on my list of most intriguing business environments, the insights gained from the visits to companies have definitely put Japanese businesses on my radar as future employers.


published on: Financial Times – FT. com


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.”

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

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

Just another case competition – just another rewarding experience

By: Steven Quimby, American, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011

Right from the very beginning when we first entered the Nanyang campus, we were told about the business plan competition opportunities ahead of us. Well, the preparation and the expectations began when Prof Vijay Sethi, told us about the various competitions NBS participates in. Impressed and enthusiastic, a lot of us took the New Venture Practicum course, which ran across a couple of terms and which Prof Sethi teaches. Then the preparations start, teams were formed, expectations set and preparations were underway. As John Molson MBA International Case Competition was the first competition to be available for the cohort to participate in and one of the most established and prestigious competition of its kind – four of us, Kishan and Parul from India, Janine from Germany and yours truly, from USA, rose up to the challenge and formed The NANYANG MBA team that would compete in this competition.

The NANYANG MBA team – Janine from Germany, Parul and Kishan from India, and yours truly Steven from USA

The road to the competition was extremely challenging, yet, fulfilling – we were subjected to the intensity and rigor of case preparation – a lot of preparation, feedback and practice with different cases to prepare us to compete against other b-schools.
There were a total of 5 business cases, one of which is a live case presentation by a major company about a real-life business challenge that the company is facing. The 36 teams were divided into different divisions, and Nanyang was in Bombardier Division competing against b-schools from Germany, Canada, USA and Singapore. We put our heads together and set our sights to win every case. But we were also in the midst of like-minded individuals as we lost two out of five cases. Despite this, we still felt like winners – we pushed the envelope and showcased our capabilities and expertise. Of course, this would not be possible, if not for the expert guidance of our mentor and coach, Prof Vijay Sethi.

Continue reading Just another case competition – just another rewarding experience

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?

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.