Tag Archives: Orientation

Getting on board The NANYANG MBA – our first week


By Shilpa Ramesh Vaswani, Indian, Nanyang MBA participant, Intake 2012

Geared up for the first day as an MBA student in one of the most prestigious universities of Asia, I headed to the commencement of the orientation program or on-boarding as it is now called! I began to introduce myself as a citizen of India, who actually grew up in Cameroon, Africa and obtained my bachelor’s degree from Miami, Florida, with a multi-faceted experience in banking, retail and non-profit. I realized that I was simply a drop in the ocean of diversity that engulfed my batch of 2012-2013. My colleagues represented 22 countries in five different continents, with extensively rich profiles ranging from those of software engineers, pharmacists, a dentist (yes! But an entrepreneur too!), military and government officials, lawyer, infrastructural engineers, accountants, entrepreneurs, stock traders, mechanical and design engineers, financial analysts, marketing executives, consultants –  you name it! My excitement levels just increased ten-fold. The informal networking was such a great start to our new world, a world that would comprise of meaningful and productive cross-disciplinary learning from amongst the classmates, which in essence, is crucial for successful business leaders.

By the end of the first day, most of us had familiarized ourselves to the extensively large (I was told it was 200 hectares!) and maze-like campus and thankfully the informal networking paved way for friends and acquaintances alike. The next few days of orientation entailed a series of activities and workshops. Day 2 was an offsite trip to Labrador Park’s City Beach Resort at Port Road,  where a group of professionals arranged indoor and outdoor team-building games and activities- that comprise the adventure part of the program. There were memory games, team races that entailed detecting hidden clues, adventurous blindfold games and a creative master chef challenge (remember those popular TV reality shows!) which infused globally infused gourmet creativity.


That’s me on the right most photo! With the rest of my MBA cohort

The following week started off with briefings into the academic program and the exciting opportunities we are offered including student exchange programs, business study missions, extracurricular student clubs and even internship and job search assistance. There was even a briefing by the existing student committee members who spoke of how their involvement in student clubs has enriched their experience and opened the gateway to a multitude of networking opportunities.  Comprehensive workshops were conducted on several key areas including communication and presentation; learning style and personality analysis; organizational simulation of a manufacturing unit; case analysis and discussions; networking and adapting to business practices in different countries; and finally speed reading, which made an amazing difference from 300 to almost a 1000 words per minute. The last day of the orientation included cross-cultural presentations by our class of, depicting an insight into the cultural and business practices in our countriesof origin. There were cultural dances, skits, entertaining videos, informational facts, melodious songs and even regional food and liquor tasting that complemented the exercise. The last bit of the orientation was the icing on the cake with an off-site visit to the Singapore City Gallery, which shows how urban planning shaped Singapore, followed by a trip to the Gardens by the Bay,the newest tourist attraction comprised of manmade super structures of beautiful gardens,  and Marine Gardens Drive. Singapore City Gallery was indeed mesmerizing. It consisted of a phenomenal scale model of the entire city including every nook and corner depicting the expertise involved in the infrastructural and contingency planning in Singapore. The Gardens by the Bay consisted of indigenous foliage and a flamboyant variety of flowers in addition to the artificial solar power trees.


Some of the excursions we went to as part of our exploration of the city post -orientation program included visits to the Hawker Street – a mélange of cosmo-Asian influenced Singaporean cuisine; ice skating at Jurong Cube, a hip mall for the youth; Café Azzura at Sentosa Island; an Irish Café at Bras Basah; a sea-food dinner at the East Coast Park organized by the Singaporean students and the Business School; and Clarke Quay, the famous landmark known for food and entertainment- an array of different types of restaurants and social sites lining up the Singapore river, a colorful and zealous atmosphere with globally infused stalls.

Photos with my new peers at the Irish Pub at Bras Basah

My first week at the Nanyang Business School is only an introductory insight to the wonderful world of knowledge, networking and fun which will  probably rank among the best experience of my life so far. Singapore feels like the perfect blend of the east and the west. The sunshine induces a warm and welcoming feeling into a world of perfection. Nanyang, with its admirable campus, multicultural student body, esteemed faculty, extracurricular involvement and brilliant staff that constantly aim to buttress the students’ development into successful individuals, –I am definitely looking forward to more as I start my MBA classes the following week.


 That’s me making a point during the on boarding sessions!

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.”

Start of my MBA journey – reflections on The NANYANG MBA Orientation Week

By: Zhou Dan, Chinese, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011

Arriving a month early in Nanyang prior to the MBA course for my intensive English class, I met for the first time  some of my future MBA classmates –they come from all over the world – from Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Thailand, Taiwan Vietnam and from my own country, China. Then during our MBA orientation, the week before our actual classes started, I met more people coming from more countries like Bulgaria, Germany, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Switzerland and the USA. Imagine – to be among this very diverse talented and passionate group of individuals of 18 nationalities (and looking forward to meeting more peers from other parts of world from the previous batch, which at some point we will meet in school), I was pretty excited to start my MBA program. It will be a 16-month journey of life-long learning which I am sure I will certainly be grateful of. Orientation week was just the start of this journey.

Our weeklong orientation was held mostly in school and it was divided into several parts which were about enhancing our skills and preparing us for the MBA program – Workshops included networking, case analysis, presentation skills, speed reading, learning style, and so on, which are essential in our MBA studies. It was the first time for most of us to really feel what MBA life is like through lectures, discussions and group work activities. Every day, from morning until early evening, we had intensive but enlightening and fun days. For me, this one week gave me a peek into a what is in store for me – a demanding yet exciting and fulfilling MBA life.

Continue reading Start of my MBA journey – reflections on The NANYANG MBA Orientation Week

An ‘English’ Breakfast to start the MBA journey – 18 attend Intensive English Class.

by: MBA Office

During an early July morning  ,  a group of 18 MBA participants from the new intake gathered for an “English breakfast’ – not really a typical English breakfast, but a yummy McDonald’s breakfast before they head out for  their Intensive English Class, part of the Pre –Term program.  Coming from China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Mexico, Vietnam, and Indonesia, the first ‘official function’ together  allowed them to warm up to each other  and get to know each other – and also get to meet face to face the MBA Office staff whom they have been communicating prior to their arrival in Singapore.  Here are some snippets to share: 

A group photo for early birds who grabbed breakfast with us!

Students enjoying a fun time getting to know each other.

Vida (third from left, wearing a very nice hat that we all loved) from Zhuhai City, China,  was ecstatic to meet people from different nations, and to have an eclectic experience of culture and gastronomy, “At Nanyang, you can not only meet people from other countries and get to eat food with mixed flavours (am looking forward to such experience) , but also you can learn and experience a diverse set of cultures. The most often used question for people you first meet in Singapore, especially in class, is ‘Where are you originally from?’ Need I say more?”

Italian student, Giuseppe (in red shirt, first from left), shared with us how he felt the warm welcome by his peers when he first arrived at the Graduate Hall (this is where most MBA students stay, located in the nice green campus).  “My fellow Nanyang MBA participants  who arrived earlier , certainly welcomed me… they helped me to organize my stuff and gave me my ‘first orientation’ about Nanyang … how to move around this huge campus of 200 hectares (!). I immediately felt at home with their help!”

After the breakfast, we all took a short walk to the English Class, where the conversations of their ‘first time in Singapore’ experience continues –

Some of the  MBA Office staff (in the first photo, standing – from left, Rachel, Yuni and Nick) spending time with the group.

As the academic year has yet to commence, the students are looking forward to an exciting year, meeting   and learning with friends and exchanging knowledge . As Giuseppe puts it, “At Nanyang, you will meet friends from all over the world; together, you will enjoy the countless facilities of the campus and vibrant nightlife of the dragon city,  Singapore. But most important, you get to experience with them, “ The NANYANG MBA experience.”

Back To School!

Author: Manu Muralee
Country: India

I started my journey to Nanyang at the end of June 2010. In Singapore, the cab
driver could immediately pick up the cue “Nanyang” and we set forth towards the
school. I collected my room keys to my hostel in Nanyang Valley. It was a very well
furnished apartment with all amenities shared by seven of us. Guess what, the seven
of us come from seven different countries!!

After the Youth Olympic Games finishes, (the athletes are also staying in the
university and occupying some hostel space), we will be moving to the Graduate Hall.

Our induction week started with very inspiring speeches given by our Admissions
Director, Nick (you might bump into him at the cafeteria) and the Associate Dean,
A/P Chung Lai Hong. We were delighted to hear that we had peers from 27 different
countries with an average experience of 5.7 years (a mini UN indeed!!), even more
delighted to hear that the school was providing us a Sony e-reader each, as part
of our welcome kit.

The next day all of us future leaders piled into 2 buses very early in the morning. Our
destination was a beach resort at Changi. The day started and ended with a lot of
fun and team building activities. All of us were trained to manoeuvre a Dragon boat
and we even had a Dragon boat race. It was really tiring but a unique experience for
all of us.

Back in school and business suits, we had our first industry networking activity, with
a Welcome Dinner, the next night. We were all excited to see recruiters from many big
names in Singapore. Our career counsellors were busy connecting us to the right
people throughout the function.

We were all looking forward to our classes the next week. Most of us have no more
than 3 hours of classes a day. The experiential knowledge of the class was just great.
We had experts from different industries giving us their views on different topics.
The professors also encouraged out-of-the-box thinking and class participation.

Yes of course, there are no free lunches; we saw it slowly piling up…the assignments!
We were split into groups (a different group for every course). Co-ordinating and
scheduling these group discussions is indeed a task that could sometimes be more
difficult than the assignment itself! But, preparing it as a group is preparing yourself to be a true team player.

To summarize, our experience so far at an ‘Ivy League’ business school in Asia, there
has never been a moment that was not fun or not a learning experience. I
am definitely looking forward to the next 16 months!

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!