Graduate Studies Blog



Charles Lu, Nanyang MBA, Class of 2019

Charles Lu had three letters in mind as his role as a jet engine production leader at Rolls-Royce drew to a close in 2018: MBA.

He joined the firm as an operations management trainee.  Having worked at the industrial technology company for more than two years, Lu, a Chinese national, realised that his work as an operations supervisor on the shop floor was not what he would like to do for the long term.

With the intention of exploring the wider business world in the future, Lu, who attained a first class bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Nanyang Technological University on a full scholarship, drew up a list of the top MBA programmes in Singapore.

After evaluating their merits, Lu applied to just one MBA school last year: the Nanyang Business School. The Nanyang MBA, says Lu, was the “best value for money” with the lowest opportunity cost because of its relatively short 12-month duration.

“I have witnessed the climbing rank and brand image of NTU, so I trusted Nanyang MBA and gave it a shot,” he says.

At the business school, it was “easier for everyone to really know each other and become friends for life” because there were just 87 people in Lu’s cohort. What he remembers most about NBS are the people and the activities they did together.

At the MBA Olympics, for instance, MBA students from various business schools in Singapore came together at NTU for friendly competitions to raise funds for charity. Lu recalls that his cohort won the top prize at the John Molson MBA international case competition in Canada. They also did well at the Bangkok Business Challenge and Amalgamation, a business case competition in Singapore.

Asked about his favourite modules and faculty members at NBS, Lu says: “Prof Abel Ang taught us in Life Science Boot Camp that greatly enhanced our interest and understanding on the pharmaceutical and life science industry.

“Prof Geoffrey Chua used his lively and vivid examples together with games and movies to make Operations an easier subject to understand.

“Prof Patrick Gibbons’s Competitive Strategy class is always oversubscribed, as most of us really like the way he teaches Harvard cases with an interactive approach, and prompting questions and jokes.”

Away from the campus, Lu’s business study mission took him and his classmates to Japan. There, they visited companies such as Nissan, Panasonic, EY, and Microsoft. The experience taught him about Japan’s work culture, including seating arrangements based on seniority and afterwork drinking.

Like his business study mission, a strategy project for Lu and his team of classmates had an international angle. They worked with a virtual hotel operator in Indonesia for six months to explore the budget hotel business segment in Southeast Asia.

“Our team of six delivered a deck of market assessment and intelligence, and presented to them (the client) in Jakarta. I have learned a lot about doing a consulting project through this school project,” Lu says.

Since attaining his MBA, Lu now works as a management consultant at A.T. Kearney alongside two friends. He says his job could be a great platform for him to apply what he has learnt at NBS and build up his professional network of contacts.

“Nanyang MBA has definitely built a strong business foundation for me with all the tools, frameworks and some industry insights and knowledge,” Lu says.

“I also have built a strong network with my cohort and some have become my friends for life. All these hard and soft skills and connections have given me more confidence to get into management consulting than one year ago when I just left Rolls-Royce.”

For more info on the full-time MBA programme, please visit