Tag Archives: NTU

Part-Time Vs. Full-time MBA – An insight into their Differences

Are you a graduate or a working professional looking to move ahead in your career? Some graduates prefer gaining work experience before opting for a post-graduation course, whereas others may decide to take up a master’s degree immediately after graduation. Most working professionals will eventually start thinking about a postgraduate degree, such as the MBA, especially if they are looking at progressing in their careers.

There are various modes of pursuing an MBA – full-time, part-time professional, distance or even executive. The dilemma, most often, is having to choose between a part-time MBA and a full-time MBA.

A part-time MBA is a course that allows its candidates the flexibility of working alongside studying. Participants can continue to draw a steady flow of income without taking a break. On the other hand, in a full-time programme, the opportunity cost is that participants will have to leave their jobs or take a sabbatical. The primary objective of both programmes is to help participants gain varied experiences such as interacting with a diverse peer group, and honing leadership and strategic thinking skills which would prepare them for senior management roles.

Before deciding which type of MBA is suitable, it is worth one’s time to understand and appreciate the differences between the part-time and full-time modes of study. We have outlined the key differences between a part-time MBA and a full-time MBA, highlighting the benefits of a part-time professional MBA:


Profile of Participants

Full-time MBA programmes are predominantly taken up by the younger crowd, with less working experience. Participants are typically around 28 years of age with 6 years of work experience. The average participant of a part-time MBA, however, is 30 years old, with 8.5 years of work experience.

Minimal Downtime

Both part-time and full-time MBA programmes follow a similar curriculum. However, part-time courses offer more options, such as weekend classes, online classes and weekday classes. This makes it more schedule-friendly for working professionals.

The Nanyang Professional MBA (PMBA), for instance, is a part-time programme which incorporates a career-friendly 18-month timetable. It encompasses weekend modules, where classes are only held on two weekends per month. This eliminates the need for out-of-office days and leave, making it suitable for the demanding schedule of full-time working professionals. Term breaks also coincide with local school holidays. This is an added advantage if you are a parent – you can take vacations with your family without compromising your MBA journey!

Immediate Application of Concepts

Most part-time MBA participants are working professionals, and this allows them to apply classroom learning immediately in their jobs. The curriculum offered at Nanyang PMBA programme suits specific business contexts. With integrated learning and exploration as the key takeaways, the learning process in Nanyang Business School’s PMBA programme is categorised across three areas – Business Fundamentals, Strategic Insights and Experiential Learning.

These three key areas enable participants to understand businesses and their strategies, tackle and conquer complex issues and learn about business scenarios hands-on. Participants also get the opportunity to be coached and mentored by our faculty, which comprises leading C-level executives who bring their industry expertise into the learning curriculum.

Full-time MBA participants will have the opportunity to apply these concepts during simulations of corporate scenarios and upon returning to their careers post-MBA.

The minimal downtime and real-world applications of a part-time MBA programme makes it the ideal choice for a working professional. If you desire to strike a balance between family, career and a postgraduate degree, you can find out more about the benefits of our Nanyang PMBA programme here.

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

Stand and Deliver* – Public Speaking Club in Action

Author: John Spencer, Public Speaking Club, The NANYANG MBA student 2011.

In one of the events organized by our Public Speaking Club, a group of students passionate about speaking in public, we invited twenty of our peers to present for 10 to 15 minutes on any topic.  The only hard and fast rule: they must feel passionate about the subject matter!  Brazenly, six (6) stood up and took the challenge.

Greg extemporaneously speaking about 'customer service'.

Greg extemporaneously speaking about ‘customer service’.

First up was Greg, who hails from Canada and is our current Student ExCo President.  A person who undeniably loves to speak in public, Greg ‘educated’ an eager audience on customer service.  Among others, he elaborated on the important questions of ‘What is good customer service?’ and ‘How best to achieve good customer service?’

Xevi pasionately talks about his travel to Vietnam and Cambodia

Xevi passionately talks about his travel to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Next was Xevi, an outspoken fellow classmate from Catalan (in Spain!), who entertained with a slideshow about his favorite ever holiday: a journey through southern Vietnam which he took with a friend several years ago.  Landing in Ho Chi Minh City, it was followed by numerous adventures including a boat ride that took him across the border to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  Xevi promised to return at a later date and continue the story.

Rita getting animated about sharing what life is like at 49B Nanyang Valley

Rita getting animated about sharing what life is like at 49B Nanyang Valley.

Third was Shanghai native Rita, another candid speaker of the group, who amused the audience with revealing insights into what life is like at 49B Nanyang Valley – an on-campus residence where she shares with six of our classmates.  Rita delivered her talk under the watchful eye of one of her flat-mates, Sherrill, who listened intently and ready to ‘pounce’, in case she divulged more information than what was deemed acceptable. It was mirthful, yet well-delivered.

Reynold shares surprising information about Chinese entrepreneurs.

Reynold shares surprising information about Chinese entrepreneurs.

Reynold, our gregarious Student Exco EVP from Jingzhou, a famous cultural city in South China, then enlightened the room with a presentation showcasing several Chinese internet entrepreneurs (he himself is an aspiring entrepreneur!).  What these entrepreneurs have in common, we learned, is that they are relatively unknown outside of China, yet have achieved tremendous domestic success through seemingly quite simplistic business models, albeit executed at scale.

Vincent at the end of his presentation - 80 slides in less than 15 minutes!

Vincent at the end of his presentation – 80 slides in less than 15 minutes!

Fifth was sociable Malaysian Vincent, who commenced by promising to break all the conventions of good presentations in his account of a recent holiday to Cambodia and Vietnam.  He proceeded to do his presentation with brilliantly comic effect, and notably managed to successfully deliver more than 80 slides in less than 15 minutes.  All this, whilst perfectly synchronizing his spoken words to his graphics.

Mandar on his thought-provoking oratory on 'nothing'

Mandar in his thought-provoking oratory on ‘nothing’

To round off the event, Mandar from India, a student ExCo member, who also loves a good play of words, challenged the deep-thinkers in the room with a thought-provoking and entertaining oratory on ‘nothing’.  He touched on numerous perspectives of this abstract concept, starting with the grammatical, continuing with the philosophical – both east and west – and ending with the scientific – namely mathematics and physics.

And that concluded what proved to be an enjoyable event for all the attendees – of course, light snacks were served too!

The Public Speaking club aims to provide experiences to enable club members become more effective speakers.  It is composed of 30 like-minded individuals who are passionate of the craft, or just want to become more effective and better speakers. Our classmates join the club in activities that will challenge the mind, push themselves beyond the boundaries of confidence in speaking in public, and engage an eager audience into an entertaining yet filled with learning play of words.

*Title is borrowed from a movie in the late 1980’s, bearing the same title. 

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!

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!

Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA

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

Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA_2

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

Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA - 4Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA - 5

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

Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA - 6Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA -7

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!”

Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA - 8Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA

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?

Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA - 9

An Interview with Mr. Zafar Momin on “Strategy Implementation”

Author: Balaji Rajhavan, India

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview one of the stalwarts of business and consulting in Singapore, Mr. Zafar Momin, about strategy implementation from a CEO’s perspective. I was also fortunate to attend his course on the same subject and felt that an interview highlighting some of the more practical issues related to implementation would be both useful and interesting for all MBA participants.

Mr. Zafar has over 24 years of experience in business and consulting in Asia, Middle East and the USA. Mr. Zafar has held a variety of positions in prestigious companies: Executive Vice-President of Alghanim Industries in the Gulf, Partner and Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group in Singapore and Dubai, and Partner and Asia practice head with A.T Kearney to name a few. Here is part I of our discussion:

“Why should a CEO or the senior management of a company bother about strategy implementation? Especially when they have many other things like PR, stakeholder management, strategy formulation, etc. on their agenda.”

No matter what other items the CEO has on her/his agenda, the primary mandate for the CEO is usually ‘enhancing shareholder value’ and ‘creating a successful enterprise’. You can define success in terms of financial measures, operational excellence, people development, community enrichment, or whatever measure makes sense for the company. Every firm has a reason for “being” and this reason is usually articulated in their vision, mission & strategy. If the CEO can’t get these executed or put into action, can he/she be successful? So strategy execution cannot be something that he/she can delegate off to somebody to concentrate on something else, because what else could be more important than putting the company’s strategy into action.

“How much of a CEO’s time would typically be taken up by implementation issues?”

It’s hard to define how much of her/his time would be taken up exactly as it would depend on the specificity of the situation. However, implementation will surely be a priority on her/his “things to do” list. Most successful implementations have the CEO playing a key role in them. It doesn’t mean that he/she is necessarily leading
everything but that he/she is playing a significant leadership role; which may range from a hands-on driver to a facilitator to a decision shaper role. It is a very key that the CEO ensures that the strategic initiatives are moving forward, all the bases have been covered, budgets & resources have been allocated, and that there is a
detailed translation of the strategy into an actionable list of initiatives for the organization to act upon.

“Does the time spent by the CEO also depend on the size of the company? Say large companies like GE as opposed to a SME?”

Yes it might. A CEO at a large global company e.g. GE is leading a very complex & diverse organization, but probably has a lot more bench-strength and resources available to him. So the role he might play and the time he might spend might be different than the time spent by the CEO of a SME. The CEO of the SME might not have the
luxury of bench-strength and he may have to do a lot more of “rolling up the sleeves” stuff himself. But the importance of strategy implementation to both CEOs would be pretty much the same.

“What are the most common challenges faced by the CEO in executing strategy?”

There are several actually, but the typical ones are: getting the various layers of the organization to buy-in and align with the strategic direction of the company, identifying and mobilizing the correct resources for execution, planning the execution steps in detail and putting them into action with milestones, KPIs, control mechanisms and proper risk management. Implementation can be a very long and difficult journey, especially if it involves getting people to change. Often people resist change because they are comfortable with the status quo or feel they are not motivated or incentivized sufficiently to change.

In order to execute strategy effectively, CEOs have to make sure that they are exploiting all the levers that they have at their disposal such as organizational structure, processes, rewards, etc. One big problem in organizations is that people are asked to execute a strategy but are not given guidelines, processes, structures or systems to enable them to do that. The other issue is related to coordination and control mechanisms. People need lots of
information sharing, learning, empowerment, and also need measurement devices to know how they are progressing. Strategy formulation takes a lot less time than strategy execution. Yet, people underestimate how difficult it is to execute strategy, even though many start off very well they tend to get lost or wander off-course over time.”

Part II of the discussion continues in the next post with details about what tools or techniques a CEO can use, how to distinguish between a flawed strategy and flawed implementation, etc. Hope you all found this interesting. Over and out!

Bala’s Day Out

Author: Balaji R., India

It has been 8 months since I packed my bags and set sail from the land of the vikings and landed in the ‘Lion-city’ Singapore. And phew… what eventful months have they been!

So let me introduce myself: I am Balaji Raghavan (bala, henceforth) an engineer in my previous life and now, as you might have already guessed a participant of The Nanyang MBA. I have traveled widely and lived in different countries over the last 10 years… I have seen the sakura blossom in Japan in Spring, auroras snake their way across the sky in the depths of snow-covered winter and the sun set over the British empire along the coasts of England, to mention a few. Ok enough said… There will be time for an autobiography later—when I am more closer to senility, that is.

I will attempt, over a series of posts, to introduce life as part of the MBA program and at times even beyond it! Yes, even poor sods laboring their way through intensive B-school courses do have time to party and bring the roof down once in a while! I will endeavor to capture in the blog the highs and the lows of the program, the events
that occurred, the classes that we enjoyed, the wonderful memories of the times we spent together, the many laughs we shared and the unforgettable friendships and relationships forged with fellow students, faculty, and the people of Singapore. So buckle up, sit tight and enjoy the ride!

Let me begin, with the story of a trip we made to Pulau Ubin– a small island located north-east of Singapore– during the beginning of the program. This trip packaged under the guise of team-building and orientation, seemed pretty innocuous at first; It even began well with a scenic boat ride to the islet and relatively simple and fun
activities involving hula hoops and an alphabet counting game. As we were just beginning to have fun, we were thrown a seemingly insurmountable organizational challenge. We had to coordinate a class of close to 150 members in concurrent tasks of varying difficulty to earn $$ for building a real boat, more of a raft actually. One of the tasks even involved scaling a wicked climb. Now as we got down to business we realized that it was a difficult challenge that required coordination, courage, motivation and above all dealing with a whole ambiguity under time pressure. In the end, some astonishing acts of team work and individual brilliance got us to the target and we were able to buy enough raw materials to build the raft in time!

However, hold on! there was yet another twist in the tale, as we had to use the raft to navigate the seas around Pulau Ubin to plant a flag on a nearby islet. We had a raft ready but no way of knowing whether it was seaworthy. Some brave souls volunteered to take the raft out for a spin and their courage got us to the target on time! In retrospect, the orientation was a resounding success: it got us together working as a team, introduced us to the challenges faced in management, and gave us a whole day of fun and a heapload of memories that we will cherish! And if you are one to believe in good beginnings, the raft that did not sink might bode well for the class of 2009!

Canteen B

Author : Sisca L, Indonesian

Canteen B coincidentally is the canteen housed in the Nanyang Business School, so we call it Canteen ‘B’usiness.

Like any food courts, we have a good variety of food selection at Canteen B; Indian, Malay, Chinese, Western, Vegetarian, Fruits and juices, local desserts, pastries and my favourite, Mr. Bean (a soya bean-based drink stall).

The prices here are largely cheaper than what you will have to fork out at external food courts or cafes. A cup of Mr. Bean soya bean drink costs $1 here (as compared to the $1.60 charged outside).

When the canteen gets too crowded during lunch hour, I will take away food and eat it in my favourite enclave, the MBA lounge (a cozy lounge complete with flat screen TV and a bar, only for MBA students!). Here’s a tip if you’re not local, when you ask for take away, the word to say is “Ta Pao” (It means “pack” in Chinese).

Right now, my favourite dish is “Mexican Chicken Chop” from the Western food stall which also makes burgers and simple pastas. It is a chicken fillet fried to a crispy gold and topped with brown gravy and molten cheese. I love eating it with a side dish of butter rice and coleslaw. Mmm!