TGIF – 1/6 of classes is over!

Graduate Studies Blog

To celebrate getting through the first half of trimester one, completing our first midterm exam and major assignment papers, we decided it was time that the whole batch gets together again for some fun!

Since our Orientation week, with the most awesome self-built rafts ever, we were most of the times split in Group A & Group B. On September 16th we had our first major get-together with the majority of our 88 participants present! It was organized by the Student ExCo and the Co-Chairs of the Beer, Wine & Liquor Appreciation and of the Cultural & Social Club.

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The atmosphere was certainly relaxed with food, drinks and music after class on campus!

Coincidentally, it was also the same week as the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, therefore, we had the pleasure to enjoy delicious Mooncakes in many different flavors. Also fitting to this theme, plus having a full-moon that night, we played several rounds of the game “Werewolves” and learnt more about our batch mates. It was indeed, a night of reunion.

The journey to victory at Dell Case Competition 2015

The journey to victory at Dell Case Competition 2015

Graduate Studies Blog

Contributed by MBA students: Kevin, Moohwan and SungWon

As MBA candidates and future leaders of a dynamically changing business environment, how do we define our success and measure our learning progress? Our answer to the question was to participate in business case competitions, as we believe that the ability to apply practical industrial knowledge and to demonstrate our inner potential is a vital criterion for success.

In view of this, the inter-university Case Competition organised by Dell was a great opportunity for us to apply what we have learnt in class and to leverage on our skillsets such as collaborative team work, efficient time management, application of effective framework and compelling presentation. We knew that the competition would be challenging and require significant commitment and sacrifice but we decided to take up the challenge and embark on this journey to achieve our very first milestone.

The case competition consisted of two rounds. The first round was evaluated based on a five-minute video recording on the topic of Dell’s supply chain management, and the second round was carried out at Dell’s office amongst the selected teams, based on the result of the first round. In total, 17 teams participated from three universities, namely NTU, NUS and SP Jain. Four teams were promoted to the final round; two teams came from NUS and one each from NTU and SP Jain, respectively.

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The team, DellTaForce was voluntarily and carefully formed on our own by taking several criteria into consideration in order to optimise the team potential and synergy. One important, though often neglected criteria, is how the different individuals, with their expertise and professional backgrounds can complement and work with one another in a team. With that in mind, we finally formed a team consisting of three members with over five years’ of career experience in different business areas, namely, management consulting, strategy planning, and engineering. The mix of diverse background helped significantly throughout the Dell case competition as the different perspectives of each member allowed us to bring a wide range of ideas that an individual by him or herself might not be able to generate.

During the analysis of the case studies, we set the most important and fundamental rule upfront, which was to respect and encourage each other for all meetings. The small initiative paid off as the team members were able to share their ideas confidently, leading to fruitful brainstorming. No matter what idea was brought up, we considered all of them worthy of discussion and talked about it until we reached a consensus.

The challenging parts that we have encountered were mainly ideation relating to supply chain management business domain, as none of us had previous professional experience in that field. To address the issue, we proactively approached professors to guide us on process validation and viable examples for ideation. We had to instill a confident mindset in ourselves that we are the expert in the supply chain management as far as the case is concerned.

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Another challenge that we had to work on was the professional presentation for the final round. As the team consisting of non-native English speakers, our pressing issue was to enhance our effective speech in a professional and convincing manner. To quickly equip ourselves with the necessary presentation skills within a short timeframe, we focused on practicing, preparing Q&As, and non-verbal communication cues such as posture, eye contact, attire and more. The intensive practice sessions continued all the way till the final presentation date. Although it was not perfect at the end, we certainly made visible improvement to deliver our idea to the panel judges. Last but not least, most importantly, we gained confidence in public speaking.

Our determination, specific goal setting, collaborative teamwork, consistent discipline, sincere commitment and specific plan to achieve our common goal played significant parts in helping us win this case competition.

The key takeaway from the experience was that when all the attributes of success are applied collectively, the likelihood of winning will definitely increase as it creates synergistic effect as long as everyone plays their part responsibly.

We would like to attribute our glorious success to Professor Vijay Sethi and Professor Peter Giulioni who were willing to spend their personal time to help us, especially when our progress was stagnated and when we were occasionally demotivated. It was a great achievement as a start and we strongly believe that Nanyang MBA’s journey for business case competition will continue thriving.

Making our classes fun

Making our classes fun

Graduate Studies Blog

Contributed by MBA students: Kevin, Masa, Prashant, Ryo and Shreya.

We had less than 10 days to prepare ourselves to present a case study on Netflix. The biggest question facing us was whether Netflix was yet another warfront for Art and Technology.

The MBA class at Nanyang Business School was completely determined to make Friday lectures interesting. We got full support from Professor Vijay Sethi for this. Hence, we started the chain of experimenting with ideas of making case presentations on companies such as Facebook, Google, Taobao etc as fun-filled as they were informative. With groups innovating with ideas such as group activities, fun surveys, role-playing, we were left wondering: what could we do with our idea?

After a couple of brainstorming sessions, we decided to focus on the core question- Is Netflix as a business model, helping the art?

We ended our presentation with our version of what Netflix could do next. The group, we said, believed that the future lies in crowd-funded content generation.

After a fun-filled presentation, we surprised the class with this video. This was a spoof of our markstrat course which was yet another source of adrenaline rush for us when the simulation results were announced every Friday at 8 PM.

This is all a part of the experiential learning that the NBS focuses on. The encouragement from Prof Sethi to experiment with ideas and sportsmanship displayed by Prof Lewis helped us create this video.

Featured image: Designed by Freepik

Business Study Mission to Myanmar – The Last Asian Economy Frontier

Business Study Mission to Myanmar – The Last Asian Economy Frontier

Graduate Studies Blog

So we went to Myanmar for our Business Study Mission (BMS). Considering the other exotic places that previous cohorts visited (cue: Tokyo, Berlin, Copenhagen, etc), Myanmar does not exactly fit into the kind of exotic country that most of us had in mind. Nevertheless, we were looking forward to visit this Asian last frontier economy and see what it can offer.

Networking Dinner at Myanmar

I shall not bore you with the details of our trips. I mean you can expect the usual company visits, cultural site visits and networking lunches and dinners. And some of us ate the fried crickets over dinner as part of immersion.

But what really strikes me is the warmth and optimism of its people. Almost everyone we met believes their country has turned the corner and things will start to improve from now. There is the young banker who abandons his promising banking career in U.S. to join a Myanmar bank. There is the Singapore-born Australian who is happy that his decision more than 10 years ago to bring his business to Myanmar is starting to pay off and he has proved his early detractors wrong.

Well, after the BSM, I can certainly understand their optimism. Unlike Singapore, Myanmar today is essentially a SME-centric economy. While its economy remains highly fragmented and largely inward-looking, perhaps a consequence of the military junta’s rule previously, it is a cornucopia of exciting opportunities and inadequacies. Almost every business sector you can imagine offers growth or business potential even though the business eco-system is still lacking and resources are struggling to handle the spike in capital influx.

If I am to invest in Myanmar today, I will consider a hospitality training school. As tourism booms and more hotels are built to cater to demand, there will be a growing need for skilled labor in this area. The business can contract with hotels to provide them with the skilled labor or assist them to train their new employees. It can also run open recruitment to train students who are keen to pursue career in hospitality. I think this is a safe investment with relatively low capital and low risk. So call me if you are keen to talk more.

For me, the BSM was a success. It has achieved its objectives to enrich the fellows’ broad knowledge of global development and expose us to the cultural, social, political and business dynamics that form part of the larger regional platform. More importantly, it has inspired us to consider the vast potential in Myanmar.

Will I do it again? Yes, of course. And don’t say you hear it from me; the next batch is probably going to South America.

"Singapore Day"

"Singapore Day"

Graduate Studies Blog

What a day it was for the class of Nanyang Fellows 2013/2014. Singapore Day was indeed a memorable and unforgettable day for most, if not all, of us. It was a break from tradition to organise an event lasting the whole day.  The day started with a visit to the Images of Singapore which showed Singapore’s transformation from a sleepy fishing village into the cosmopolitan and bustling city that it is today. Even Singaporeans got in on the act, reminiscing about the days when their grandparents used to cook with charcoal stoves.

 

After getting a better understanding of  Singapore’s development and progress over the years, the programme fast- forwarded our Fellows into the 21st Century with a visit to Universal Studios  Singapore at the Resorts World Sentosa. The thrilling rides such as “The Mummy” and “Transformers” kept adults and children fully entertained. Some Fellows even  got in on the act by providing their own scares for the Mummy ride, and interacting with Optimus Prime for Transformers. Our Fellows also had the opportunity to get up close but not personal with stars such as Frankenstein, and Kungfu Panda.

 

After a thoroughly enjoyable time in Sentosa, it was time to fill our tummies with food, food and more food. Peranakan cuisine, Satay, Laksa, Mooncakes and not forgetting tropical fruits such as XO and D13 durians and mangosteens were all part of the spread. While some steered clear of the durians, others gamely gave it a go!

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Our South Korean classmate, Kang, even asked to bring back some more durians so that him and his wife could enjoy it back in their house! We then had Jason to explain the origins of the Mid-Autumn festival (also known as mooncake festival and lantern festival) to everyone present. His knowledge was even more extensive than our China classmate, who tried to confuse Jason with the wrong information. To protect him, the details of his spoof shall not be revealed here.

 

And, it was not all just activities for the adults. The kids got in on the fun as well, and they gamely posed for this superb picture. All in all, it was a truly exemplary example of all that Singapore is about: Singapore’s evolution and history, the modern Singapore, Singapore food, Singapore culture and lastly, Singaporean hospitality! Everyone really enjoyed themselves tremendously!