The Empathetic Leader

As Chief Marketing Officer at StarHub, Alumni Howie Lau leads the branding and marketing strategy of one of Singapore’s largest telcos. It is a challenging task given the dynamic and fast-paced nature of the industry and the diverse needs of his customers. What are some of the tools he keeps in his kit to motivate his team? Howie shares his experiences and views with us:

Howie Lau mike2I heard someone say once: “The beating will only stop when morale improves”. That is not a constructive way to lead. Nobody wakes up wanting to do badly at work. To bring out the best in people, a leader needs to set the environment for the team to perform.

For me, this is where empathy comes in. Empathy involves placing oneself in the position of others. This does not mean giving up one’s viewpoint. It is about finding a common ground to move forward. Used correctly, an empathetic leader can gain the respect and trust of his staff.

Empathy works in at least three areas – goal setting, understanding the business and leadership collaboration.

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Alumnus Robert Yap on leadership

Robert_PhotoExecutive Chairman of YCH Group and alumnus Robert Yap says his years at Business School played a significant role in shaping his imagination, creativity and overall character.

When he graduated in 1976, his family’s business in passenger transportation had lost 90 per cent of its business. He had only just graduated but faced the daunting task of looking for ways to keep the firm alive.

He spent countless hours exploring opportunities.

And there it was: With the rise of Singapore as one of the world’s busiest container ports, cargo transportation presented itself as a synergistic alternative that his family business could venture into.

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Connecting with the best at the MBA World Summit 2016

Eight months at the NUS Business School have been action packed! I have met the most talented people, experienced the fast pace of global business and created memories of a lifetime.

One of the most defining experiences so far has been representing NUS Business School at the MBA World Summit 2016.

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CGIO presents update on its Sustainability Reporting project

CGIO presentation on Sustainability Reporting_pic 2

Legislative action drives up sustainability reporting. The positive impact by regulatory action becomes more obvious when there are higher levels of disclosure in indicators that require mandatory reporting, according to the Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO).

This result was presented in a recent session where CGIO gave an update on its report on sustainability reporting to companies including ACCA, Capitaland, City Development Limited, Ernst and Young, Global Compact Network Singapore, Keppel Land, KPMG, Paia Consulting, Singtel and Suntory Beverage and Food Asia.

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Bringing the Classroom Outside In

Classes where professors hold court and engage in one-way information flow is becoming passe. Today, progressive education engage in “experiential learning”.

RS4665_Dr Lau Geok Theng 01Assoc Prof Lau Geok Theng of Marketing says students should participate more actively in such programmes: “Employers are now looking at work experience in resumes, not just academic results. The internship or the new start-up that a student helps to pioneer will demonstrate the skills honed during these stints, and indicate how well he will perform in real-life challenging environments.”

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Inspiring ideas and encouraging collaboration

general shot at phd research day 2016The fifth Annual PhD Research Day gives our students from different levels and disciplines an opportunity to interact and exchange ideas for their research.

“It is a great opportunity for the students to showcase their research to the entire business school community. By exposing the students to a wider audience, they improve their work through feedback from diverse perspectives. Furthermore, the event inspires them to embark on fresh research ideas and encourage collaboration across departments,” said Sumit Agarwal, Vice-Dean (PhD and Research) and Low Tuck Kwong Professor.

At the heart of the event is the poster competition held in the MRB atrium where students (second year and above) get to present a visual summary of their research topic in a poster, including the methodology and key findings. Judged by a committee of six faculty members, the posters are assessed based on factors such as originality of the research and the ability to connect to a wider audience.

There are also morning sessions where nominated first-year students present their research works in various seminar rooms.

This year’s winners are:

Pei Sha n HuXiaoliDepartment of Accounting: 1st prize: Pei Sha & Hu Xiaoli; 2nd prize: Ma Jiameng; 3rd Price: Guan Xinjiao

Lyu GuodongDepartment of Decision Sciences: 1st prize: Lyu Guodong; 2nd prize: Tang Qinshen; 3rd Price: Chen Zhi

Department of Finance: 1st prize: Zhang Jian; 2nd prize: Zou Qiqi; 3rd Price: Zhang Changhao

Yang ZheshuaiDepartment of Marketing: 1st prize: Yang Zheshuai; 2nd prize: Xu Xiaoyan; 3rd Price: Jia Miaolei

Sherry AwDepartment of Management & Organisation: 1st prize: Sherry Aw; 2nd prize: Liu Yukun; 3rd Price: Gabriel Henry Jacob

Xiao FenglongDepartment of Strategy & Policy: 1st prize: Xiao Fenglong; 2nd prize: Tan Hongbin; 3rd Price: Hu Tianyou and Siddharth Natarajan

Visit to ARC Children’s Centre

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To cap off our year-long Bizad50 celebrations with a heart of festive cheer, a group of fortunate staff and faculty visited the ARC Children’s Centre. After all, that is what Christmas is about – sharing and caring.

Not daunted by the torrential thunderstorm, the children cheered as they greeted us with their broad smiles.

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More than just selling xiao long bao

Service is everything at Taiwan’s Din Tai Fung restaurant group. For instance, employees at its branch in Xinyi, Taiwan, spent over an hour to help a customer from France recover his lost mobile phone from a taxi.

The service spirit CEO Warren Yang wants every Din Tai Fung employee to have is to “treat every customer as you would treat your family member, and genuinely show them your care and concern”, according to Associate Professor Brian Hwarng, Department of Decision Sciences.

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Victoria’s marketing secrets

FullSizeRenderAt Victoria’s Secret stores, staff would stand in a line to help customers gauge sizes before buying clothing as gifts. This service is for those who are uncertain about sizes.

This is an example of how much Victoria’s Secret values its customers, as we found out in our visit to the company’s ION Orchard flagship store in Singapore. Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon led six students (all BBA Year One) from her Principles of Marketing on this visit.

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A visit to Unilever Singapore

unilever gp imageAssociate Professor Ang Swee Hoon led 19 students from her Principles of Marketing class to Unilever’s regional office in Singapore. Business School alumni, Minh Nguyen, Sherlyn Loh, Kwek Li Jun, and Queenie Ou, showed them around.

We found out first-hand that it is never a regular office day at Unilever Singapore.

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