Graduate Studies Blog



Article contributed by Shubham Sharma, Nanyang MBA Class of 2019.

Shubham (facing camera) in all smiles while playing the ‘Paying It Forward’ activity.

“How would my classmates be?”

“What kind of academic environment would NTU provide?”

“Will I be a good social fit?”

Questions like these hound a student when he is embarking on a new academic journey. I was also one of them. Leaving a cushioned job in Japan to pursue an MBA in a new country, anxiety often creeped in.

Having heard a lot of things about the university and Singapore, it was difficult to keep a clear mind yet I tried. I believe that even though the path is same, everyone’s journey is different. So, I waited for NBS orientation programme to guide me through the layout of my MBA journey and meet some new co-travelers.

Set the ball rolling…

It started with registration on July 12 where the cohort was greeted with NBS Graduate Studies staff and a sumptuous lunch. Later, the on-boarding session started with Mr. Daren Kang, Deputy Director (Marketing and Admissions) and Ms. Vrinda Jalan, Manager (Marketing and Admissions) who metaphorically brought us out of the cacophony and made us meet our inner leader. That session was phenomenal and cleared the cloud on what we aspire to be.

FOCUS Adventure

The next morning, smartly dressed in Nanyang T-shirts, we reached Sentosa where we were welcomed by the cool oceanic breeze and the cordial staff of FOCUS Adventure.

We were seated in one of the main halls and demonstrated the Mexican wave, different kinds of handshakes through storytelling, the weirdest one being the Milking-a-Cow Handshake. During all of these handshakes, we were supposed to share our favourite with our counterparts and listen to theirs. This exercise was not only fun but also made us realize the similarity of preferences across cultures. I found two people who were interested in trying bungee jumping in New Zealand or ramen in China.

Later, we were divided into two groups, one went for the Hourglass challenge where all the teams had to progressively complete tasks above ground level, while holding each other.

People with vertigo issues, anxiety and so on were all put together. So it became a bit more challenging. In team sports, more than the skills, it is the trust that takes you beyond the winning line. We had to practice it that day.

With a potpourri of emotions, we scaled up. We meandered our way through walking on high beams, swirling wooden logs, ropes and what not. In the end, the euphoria of reaching the part of the structure erased the jitters. We were high, on life. I remember giving a bear hug to my fellow teammate with whom I had not interacted much so far.

In the second session, the teams were ranked based on distances of the tubes thrown.

Also, the most enervating yet fun activity was the boat racing. We had to boot-strap a boat out of the raw materials provided and race near the beach. Although my team finished at second place but we created fond memories.

While returning to the campus, we had the chance to watch the beautiful sunset from Sentosa.

Cultural presentation

The most awaited day finally arrived. All students were supposed to present the unique traits of their countries. For instance, Chinese students were clubbed together to showcase their wedding ceremonies and Lion Dance. Indians displayed their dance and rapping fortes.

The students were also supposed to be dressed in their traditional attires to elevate the cultural significance of the event. Germans were clad in Dirndls, Indians in Kurtas and so on. The presentations were funny, engaging and involved gifts as well. While the Vietnamese talked about their traffic issues, the Canadians showcased the tourism specifically the maple syrup industry. I was pleasantly surprised by my fellows from South Korea who performed a K-Pop song.

Being an Indian, the biggest cheer as well as banter was spared for my friend from Pakistan.

It was all in good humor. When the chance to present Indian culture arrived, a sense of responsibility germinated. We could not afford to ruin it. After some rapping with Bharat Natyam dance to tabla music, it ended on a high note as we made everyone in the room dance to some Bollywood songs. As they say, Indians have two right feet. The prizes for the best presentations went to China and India.

The orientation ended the next day with Graduate Participants’ Social Night where we interacted with participants from other Masters programmes (Fellows, Accountancy, etc.).

In retrospect, I am indebted to the NBS Graduate Studies team to organize the long yet engaging orientation for us. In the absence of this, the integration into NBS’s culture would not have been possible. At the end of the orientation, I forged indelible memories and friendships.

To learn more about our Nanyang MBA programme, please visit our website