Graduate Studies Blog
Nanyang Executive MBA
The Nanyang EMBA changed my life
Dr Koh Hau-Tek knows exactly where his passion and purpose lie: at the intersection of medicine and business.
It all began about a decade ago. After years training and working as a doctor, Dr Koh took up the role of Medical Director, where he began overseeing the operations and clinical quality of some of Singapore’s top healthcare facilities.
The new path diversified his skills, and he gained experience in different fields like business development, finance, corporate strategy and human resource.
Yet while learning hard on the job, Dr Koh was motivated to do better. “I decided that I wanted to enter business school, so that I could formally develop management skills in a structured manner,” he says.
At age 40 then, the medical doctor went on to gift himself the Nanyang Executive MBA (EMBA) programme. It was a gift that Dr Koh admits, “certainly changed my life”.
The world at his feet
The Nanyang EMBA programme welcomes top professionals from a variety of industries: to date, graduates comprise 40 nationalities from more than 20 sectors such as technology, finance and education, and from SMEs and MNCs.
The programme appealed to Dr Koh because he wanted exposure to the management practices of industries other than his own—he was hungry for fresh insights that could be useful in healthcare.
As they journeyed together, NBS Class of 2016 forged deep and solid connections, alumnus Dr Koh reminisces.
In fact, upon graduation, Dr Koh quickly secured a new position in a very different sector—technology & security —through the recommendation of a course mate. “I never imagined I would make such a radical move in my life!” he says. “The network turned out to be very wide and brimming with opportunities.”
Dr Koh adds that he was able to deliver in his new role with the skills he gained through the programme. He thanks both his course mates and the international faculty—including UC Berkeley and The Wharton School, where he attended selected modules—for sharpening his thinking.
He emphasises the importance of acquiring a global mindset: “The faculty imparted critical management tools that broadened my ability to analyse issues and problem-solve from different perspectives. Meanwhile, my course mates shared top-notch ideas and they had different but impressive thought processes. We challenged each other’s thinking; I’ve been able to go beyond my own worldview and envision more possibilities.”
Dr Koh is indeed the perfect candidate for the position of Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the East-meets-West healthcare company Jiahui Health, a fast growing and now the largest private healthcare ecosystem based in Shanghai and is in a unique collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital. Today, Dr Koh plays a critical role in operationalising an international grade hospital & associated medical centres for his company to deliver integrated clinical services and global resources to patients in and outside of China.
A journey of self-discovery
Effective management is the art and science of applying both hard and soft skills.
For Dr Koh, one of the most memorable parts of the EMBA programme was the coaching segment, which strengthened his soft skills in leadership by encouraging him to search himself deeply.
He says: “I was able to gradually understand the values that I want to possess as a leader. Today, I practise authentic leadership with my teams. It has been a very positive experience.”
In the area of personal development, Dr Koh describes how the EMBA programme improved his confidence.
“During the programme, I had lots of practice speaking in varied settings: presentations, group work, one-on-one sessions,” Dr Koh, who is an introvert by nature, says. “I now know more deeply the importance of communicating well publicly and I am much better trained for it.”
Dr Koh reflects on the EMBA programme as a milestone in his career progression and says that, in hindsight, he could have prepared for it a little more.
He explains: “I should have familiarised myself more with some of the theories and case studies before embarking on the programme. This would have helped me to understand the finance and innovation concepts more quickly.”
Ultimately, as students join the programme—each bringing their own background—they can make the best out of the experience in his or her unique ways.
Dr Koh offers a tip to new students: “Go into it with an open mind and get to know as many course mates as possible. It’s going to be an enriching time encountering many cultures, learning from the deep and diverse professional experiences of others and having highly fruitful interactions. Like me, the programme will give you much more than expected.”