Business Study Mission (China) 2019

Business Study Mission (China) 2019

Graduate Studies Blog



Contributed by Anmol Wahi, Class of 2020

Ni Hao!

Exhilarating, insightful and immensely enjoyable – these are the three words that sum up the Shanghai-Hangzhou Business Study Mission for us. While we had done our research and had our itineraries in place, we were in no way prepared for the pace and sheer “largeness” of our experience! From exploring the charming streets of Old City Shanghai to the uber-chic setting of the Financial District, from being mesmerised by the serenity of the Yu Garden to the lit-up brilliance of the Bund, from savouring the soupy goodness of Xiao Long Baos to testing our taste buds with the Hai Di Lao hot pot – we did it all! While we faced minor difficulties with the language barrier and social rules, it was refreshing to experience first-hand the sense of community and nationalism that the Chinese culture is known for. We were also immensely fascinated by China’s drive towards revolutionizing existing systems and adopting holistic digitalization. Our visit to Hema supermarket, for example, was an eye-opener to a “new retail” model boosting Chinese consumerism.

On a more professional front, we met with a few companies in China, from the homegrown Ant Financial and OCBC to global giants such as Medtronic, JWT, Ascott and Lanxess. We got amazingly insightful information on how business is run in China, local consumer insights as well as the hot topic of intellectual property. We learnt that some of the key challenges that foreign firms face in China are the lack of local cultural intelligence as well as the eagerness to grow immediately. While, what they should be focusing on is going local, forming relationships and rethinking their entire customer experience. We are coming back to Singapore with all these wonderful insights, which would definitely help us in our respective careers.

We would like to thank the ISP team for organizing such a wonderful week for us and would also like to thank our very own Prof. Goh and Audrey for mentoring and guiding us through the entire week.

Xièxiè China! Hope to see you again really soon.

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

[Why NBS] with MBA alumni Isabell Mathias

[Why NBS] with MBA alumni Isabell Mathias

Graduate Studies Blog



Present Position:


How was your professional journey after NBS up till your present role? (Mention internships, job changes etc.)

I did a company-sponsored full-time MBA (Bayer) and received a promotion with completion of the MBA. I returned to the global IT department in the new job as an organizational change manager in program and project excellence. Shortly after my return from Singapore to Germany I went on a short term assignment (for 6 months) to the US. In Germany I worked in experimental modes for agile ways of working.


Tell us about your current role and what inspires you to pursue this daily?

2 years after the MBA (so just recently) I switched to our Internal Audit department doing now IT Auditing.
This role gives me a way to have relatively high influence and visibility for the age and seniority level that I’m at.
I will be traveling a lot and having the opportunity to meet in person worldwide with the various (mainly IT) teams and to enable the company for early detection of issues and for overall better processes, structures, and implementations.


Connection with NBS:


How relevant was NBS in your professional development? (please speak about alumni network, career fairs, education etc.)

The career office was supportive and their activities were helpful for future perspectives. Most valuable were the connections they enabled through real company projects (SPAN and other courses like Strategic Innovation Mgmt), and also the fairs you can go to.
I’m the regional NTU Alumni representative for Northrhine Westfalia Germany. It’s still a small alumni network here but on the rise.


Which person at NBS was the most impactful?

Several impactful persons. To name one, I would say Pete Giulioni (professor and then also head of the career office)


What advice would you give the current and future students to make their NBS experience better?

Don’t hesitate to address early on schedule clashes and other things that are hindering you. The administrative staff and professors are very open and supportive, and will accommodate your request if feasible and reasonable. E.g there might be deadlines piling or timings of classes unfortunate. Address it. Keep it to a reasonable level though.
See your MBA cohort as partners and friends! Strive for academic excellence without being unhealthily competitive towards your peers.


Your favorite hangout zone at NTU and why?

MBA lounge! Why? You should know why if you have seen it 😉


Your favorite memory of being at NTU.

There are so many and not all adequate to share via this form…here’s something to share:

    • Petting the hall cats (NTU cat management network) – consider volunteering! Send some love to Rusty and Snowfoot.
    • The many social activities we did together also created lasting memories and fun stories.
    • The business study mission in Tokyo was unforgettable!

Don’t miss out on the fun in your MBA!


If given a chance, would you like to come at the campus and interact with the present cohort?

I sure would, though I’m too far away, if my schedule shall bring me to Singapore I will surely drop by.




Which course(s) did you find the most interesting?

Global management of human capital, Strategic technlogy & innovation management, Life Sciences: A business perspective, Tech & e-business, Managing change in the workplace, and Mandarin classes.


In your domain, which companies did you find most friendly to interact with during the internship/job search?

My job search was already long time before the MBA and then, out of all the several companies I talked to, it was Bayer by far.

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

Mid-Autumn Festival 2019

Mid-Autumn Festival 2019

Graduate Studies Blog



Article contributed by Shubham Sharma, Class of 2020.

Mid-Autumn festival is a traditional event where we aim to to gather with our families and loved ones. But this year, given we were away from home, struggling with our Nanyang MBA assignments – we took the chance to celebrate with our cohort through a night of moon cakes and some drinks. The planning team aimed to purchase the tastiest moon cakes possible, given the price budget and subsequently Created coupons to make sure everyone would be able to consumer four drinks.

That night will forever be etched in my memory with the moon being covered by clouds but everyone’s shining smile more than making up for it. There were mooncakes, lanterns, sparkle sticks with a special appearance made by a student guitarist who serenaded us with his lovely songs – joined ceremoniously by all our classmates.

As an intensive week has just come to a close and with another just around the corner, we thoroughly enjoyed the time together and indulged ourselves in food, friendship and the overall atmosphere. Although there was a rather short preparation time for the event, we were taken aback by how eager our classmates were to help. Thanks to them, the preparation and execution of the event went along untroubled and effortless. It was truly lovely chapter of trimester 1 and we cannot wait to prepare another unforgettable event for our friends.

Managing Business Tomorrow

Managing Business Tomorrow

Graduate Studies Blog



Reports have indicated a decline in MBA applications in universities around the world. Is an MBA degree still relevant in the new digital economy? Our Associate Dean, Assoc. Prof. Sia, led a panel discussion with 3 of our MBA alumni to discuss the trending issue. Watch the video to learn how NBS is redesigning its Master’s programmes to stay relevant to cope with the new complexities.

Why an MBA remains relevant in today’s digital economy
Technological advances such as the rise of artificial intelligence, robotics, electronic commerce and the Internet of Things are disrupting the world of business. Likewise, technology is affecting the role of managers, as analytics that analyse customer behaviour and operational efficiency are increasingly driving decision-making.

For business schools, this begs the question of whether their MBA programmes, traditionally focused on general management skills and areas of specialisation, are relevant in today’s digital economy.

Three alumni of the Nanyang Business School sought to answer this question at a panel discussion at the end of August.

What do you need from an MBA?
Tan Kim Leng, an MBA alumnus from the Class of 2004 and the managing director of KDI Asia, a consultancy that specialises in change and innovation practices, says instead of asking whether one should do an MBA programme, prospective students should ask what an MBA can do for them in their professional field. 

“The MBA’s value lies in what problem you’re trying to solve, what are the skills and problem space you want to be very good at?” he says.

“Can an MBA help you to better understand the nature of the problem? What are the networks you can establish (at business school) to get you to solve that problem? The question of whether an MBA is relevant is very personal.”

If prospective students wish to attain leadership roles rather than becoming a specialist in a niche area, then an MBA course is relevant to them, says Oliver Plogmann, the managing director of Accenture Aviation and Seabury Consulting.

An EMBA alumnus from the Class of 2015, Plogmann says business professors can help foster understanding of the importance of artificial intelligence or business analytics to one’s business. The challenge for business schools, he says, is to keep up with the pace of technological changes.  

Plogmann says his experience at Nanyang Business School showed him the value of seeking the views of his fellow students and the faculty in attempting to solve business challenges. “Critical thinking, people interaction, and the (professional) network are things that you actually also learn or foster through the MBA programme,” he says. 

Whether an MBA has relevance depends on one’s professional objectives, says Janet Young, managing director of group channels and digitalisation at UOB Bank, and an MBA alumnus from the Class of 1995. It also depends on whether the curriculum of the MBA programme keeps up to date with the latest trends, she says, adding that business schools should keep close contact with industry professionals.    

An asset in searching for jobs

In terms of exploiting job opportunities in today’s digital economy, having an MBA is certainly not a disadvantage.

“If we are hiring for positions that require active organisation and conceptionalisation, I would say that the MBA would definitely be an advantage largely because in today’s fast-changing world, business models are changing,” says Young.

Asked what changes the panel members would like to see in MBA programmes, Young called for new modules that focus on technology. As technology is very much part of today’s business world, it is important to be able to “appreciate, understand, adapt, embrace and infuse” technology in the various aspects of one’s work, she says.

Lifelong learning

Tan says he hopes MBA programmes could become a venue of lifelong learning for alumni, comparing it with military reservist stints that enable reservists to refresh and update their military capabilities.

Plogmann agrees with the need for lifelong learning. “Maybe in the past you could say I do an MBA and I’m set for my general management career and I will get good money and that’s it,” he says.

“It’s not going to happen in today’s world anymore. So we have to continuously learn and MBA can only be a building block.”

He likes the idea of returning to business school intermittently, but stresses that learning should happen on a daily basis.

“Technology is the core of any business. Anyone in this room who thinks it’s not going to happen for his industry, I think that’s not going to be the case,” he says.

“You are going to be disrupted if you still think that way.”

Analyst opens door to future in trading with help of financial engineering degree

Analyst opens door to future in trading with help of financial engineering degree

Graduate Studies Blog



With an eye on setting up a hedge fund or family office in the distant future, Lim Wei Hong took his first step towards realising his goal of becoming a financial trader by leaving his job in corporate energy sales at Citibank in 2016

That same year, he enrolled for a master’s degree programme in financial engineering (MFE) at Nanyang Business School.

Lim, who has bachelor degrees in finance and economics, says he was attracted to the MFE programme because his knowledge of mathematics and statistics pertaining to finance was not sufficiently “technical and deep enough”. He was also drawn to its courses in computer programming.

“I knew that programming was becoming more important in the world of finance, and so I wanted to pick up programming as well. NBS’s MFE programme was by far the most rigorous course after evaluating other similar courses available locally, which is what attracted me to it.” says Lim.

Today, he is a trading analyst at Koch Refining International, a commodities trading firm. In his work, Lim provides analytics support to traders, including demand-and-supply modeling, back-testing of trading strategies, evaluating statistical relationships, and thinking up trading ideas. 

He credits the MFE programme with helping him to land his current job and a prior internship in fixed-income investments at the Thirdrock Group, a financial services company.

“The skills that I have learned in coding, statistics and mathematics have helped me be seen at work as the go-to guy for statistics,” Lim says.

“In our trading job, we need to make decisions based on statistical analyses. And as such, having done the MFE gave me confidence in the analytic work that we do.”

Koch Refining International, says Lim, is on the cusp of applying advanced statistical and computational techniques – such as Machine Learning and K-Means Clustering algorithms – to its trading.

As Lim learned those techniques in his MFE studies, “that has given me a good foundation to understand and apply the outputs of the models in our trading”, he says.

At Nanyang Business School, Lim made the dean’s list. Earlier in his undergraduate studies, he was awarded scholarships by Jardine Cycle and Carriage, and Neptune Orient Lines. Before joining Koch Refining International, Lim worked briefly as a finance assistant at Jardine Cycle and Carriage, and was later a banking services associate and a global markets analyst at Citibank.

Of his time at Nanyang Business School, Lim remembers the MFE programme as being “more intensive than one could imagine”, particularly because he had not been a student for four years.

“I think I really enjoyed what I could achieve when we were at our final mini term in Carnegie Mellon University,” Lim says in reference to Nanyang Business School’s partnership with the American university.

“It was like the first mini terms were building the ground work, and at Carnegie Mellon University it was quite amazing to see what I was able to apply to almost real-world-like problems.

“I came from zero coding experience to being able to code relatively difficult financial problems.”

After gaining his MFE degree, Lim decided to join his current employer.

“For me, it was more of the role rather than the specific company,” he explains. “However, I do prefer Koch’s set-up, as it operates more like a hedge fund.”