Another type of NUS Orientation – by the Enablers

There is another type of Orientation in NUS. A kind, gentle, compassionate one.  Those who organise it call themselves the NUS Enablers.

E-colourise 2Orientation 2016 Project Director, Ruth Lee, FASS Year 1 going 2, says:

There is a need for a special Orientation for student with special needs (SSNs) for various reasons. I bet few of us students have considered that some SSNs cannot participate fully in the general Orientation activities. For example, students with limited mobility will find the hilly NUS campus inaccessible on wheelchair, or cannot join in the running or contact games. Students with visual or hearing impairment may lack peer support and guidance in camps. Students with autism may be unaccustomed to the intense socialising that freshmen camps require. Yet at the end of the day they are still students like you and me. They might even have undergone greater challenges to matriculate into NUS, and are really worthy of respect and awe. These SSNs are freshmen deserving of a proper orientation and senior guidance.

E-colouriseNow in its second year, the campus-wide Orientation programme for SSNs initiated by the Enablers is possibly the first of its kind among tertiary institutions in Singapore.

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Ong Hua Han was deciding between NUS Business School and another university which was nearer home and most importantly, on flatter ground.  Even his family doctor discouraged him from NUS because it would be hard for him to move around its hilly terrain. He was born with a condition called brittle bone disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta), and moves around mostly on a wheelchair.

H GradThen the BBA office reached out to the family. Its staff invited Hua Han and his parents to the school. Over a cosy tea session, they talked about the challenges and possibilities of NUS – accessibility, safety, health; and how the office could assist him if he joined the school. Then – and his mother fondly remembers – the Assistant Dean, Dr Helen Chai, personally took them on a walk around the school, showing him the routes that were wheelchair-accessible – in her high heels!

He remembers that there was a drop step near the bus-stop he would not be able to negotiate with his wheelchair. BBA Office connected with the now Office of Campus Amenities (then called Office of Estate and Development), and a ramp for wheelchair access was built. The office also, when needed, helped schedule his lessons so they did not run back to back and thus he had time to get to each class on time.

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Thank you, Reedz!

After serving delicious food to the business school community as well as hosting many events for six years, Reedz Cafe@BizSchool is now closing. It did not win the tender to continue with its operations in the school and will make way for a new café come August. We take a walk down memory lane with BBA (2008) alumnus Lee Junxian who co-founded Reedz with Chang Jen Fi (Engineering):

That year in 2010, the MRB Building was in the final stages of completion when the opportunity to operate a café on site became available. Junxian then was still studying on the premises while Jen Fi was just down the road. They remember juggling studies, co-curricular activities and running their food business at the same time.

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Junxian (left) with partner Jen Fi

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As the road rises

When you first meet Grace Chow (BBA Class of 2015), she strikes you as an unassuming twenty-something girl next door. She has 57,000 Instagram followers and lists among her clients Chanel, Christian Dior and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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12479081_966552400090896_739851382_nHer client list, which reads like the who’s who in the fashion industry, are enamoured with her designs that incorporate real flower petals to create works of art. They engage her to illustrate for their products as well as to perform live drawing and art-making at events and exhibitions.

She has always liked drawing. Although she had never had professional lessons as her parents did not think drawing would bring a steady income, she doodled. She started posting her drawings and fashion illustrations on her Instagram account. The initial reach was not high. Then one night as she sat drawing, she noticed that a rose a boy had given her was withering.

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The Happiness Doctor  

It would not be far-fetched to call Associate Professor Siok Tambyah the “happiness doctor”. She does research about happiness and wellbeing and even teaches a course called ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’. In real life, she is happiest when exploring new ideas and places, as well as spending time with family and friends.

She is the go-to person by the media for matters relating to the Singaporean psyche, having co-written several books bearing titles such as “Happiness and Wellbeing: The Singaporean Experience” and “Understanding Singaporeans: Values, Lifestyles, Aspirations and Consumption Behaviors”.  Her other research interests include consumer culture, ethnicity, gender and cross-cultural consumer behaviour.

Assoc Prof Tambyah obtained her bachelor’s degree from the NUS Business School, her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and then returned to teach at her alma mater. We asked her about life then and now…

How long have you been with the Business School?

A long time — I get a kick out of telling my students that I was once a BBA Marketing Major just like them!  I joined NUS as a senior tutor in 1992, went away for graduate studies during 1993-1999 and started formal teaching in August 1999.

Some of my favourite memories here include having lunch at the Business School canteen with my friends, first as an undergraduate (now, with colleagues), and pottering around the Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library before the advent of digital library resources.

Honors Year Classmates

With Honours Year classmates in 1988 outside the Honours Room in BIZ 2 (from left to right): Pang Kiah Jee, Tong Pik Yi, Sum Yim Ling, Christine Goh Lee Eng, me, Leong Sow Fung (standing), Philip Lim Wei Tong and Mark Chan Boon Kiong.

If I were a student again…

I would probably not have made it to the NUS Business School because I am not a straight-A student!  It’s getting more competitive nowadays and I think many undergraduate students are just trying to keep up with their classes. I am not sure how much they are learning though, and whether they are enjoying their time at the university.

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The wind in his sails

Justin Liu, our third-year business and economics student is currently in Rio de Janeiro with teammate Denise Lim, to represent Singapore at the Olympic Games. They will be sailing the catamaran Nacra 17 class.

What an opportunity, and what an honour! Follow them on https://www.facebook.com/JustinAndDenise

justin july circles justin july frontOutside In spoke with Justin last year when he first qualified for the Rio Games at http://outside-in.nus.edu/justin-liu-strikes-gold-at-sea-and-at-school/. Ten months on, we catch up with him to see how he is preparing for the Games. Continue reading

A gift of sunshine from Business School alumni

There is a group of Business School students who have come together to establish a foundation that builds schools in the poorest regions of China. The Inspiring Sunshine Foundation’s (ISSF) goal is to build 101 schools by its tenth year and to educate and equip these children – to help them break out of the poverty cycle. Since the initiative began seven years ago, 61 schools have been built.

Four of them, which were fully or partially funded by alumni donations, bear NUS’s name:

  • Hunan Province Shuangfeng County NUS Hanpo Hope Primary School
  • Jiangxi Province Suichuan County NUS Shatian Hope Primary School
  • Sichuan Province Puge County NUS Sunshine Hope Primary School
  • Chongqing Municipal Changning County NUS Qingshan Hope Primary School

ISSF started with a simple spark. While at Business School, Chen Jianguang (EMBA APEX-C 16) remembers a professor remarking that the budget for education in Singapore is second only to its budget for its national defence. This left a deep impression on him, that that was the difference between China and Singapore.

It made him think about the uneven distribution of resources in China, especially to the poorer areas, and towards education – that thus, the children from the poorer areas are unable to break out of the poverty cycle and change their fates.

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Undergrads win case competition in Hong Kong

Congratulations to our BBA students who have won the HSBC/HKU Asia Pacific Business Case Competition 2016.

Ahamed Marzouq (BBA Year 2), Du Yan (BAC Year 2), Joel Goh Zongwei (BBA Year 4) and Sharyn Poerwanto (BBA Year 2) defeated 23 university teams from 19 countries to snag the top prize for NUS. Associate Professor Lau Geok Theng was the faculty adviser.

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From left: Marzouq, Sharyn, Joel and Du Yan

The team had to go through four rounds of competition, analysing cases involving organisations such as Gravity Payments, Volkswagen, Zuji and UNIQLO. The biggest challenge was the case format – teams had only two and a half hours to analyse each case.

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Our Desert Adventures – A Tale of Two Treks

Our 2015 Team

d-gobi flagThe Yashasai, short for the Asia-Pacific Business Schools Desert Adventure Challenge, invites MBA students from top business schools from the Asia-Pacific region. In 2015, our school participated in the race for the first time. Nine students from NUS joined MBA students from 52 schools from all over the world on a 60-km trek across the Tengri Desert, Mongolia, over the May holidays.

This is their photo-journey—in quotes and grunts—in between wiping off copious amounts of sweat and downing big gulps of water.

Three grueling days: We were out there for three days! On Day1, we walked 24km, on Day2 26km and finishing on Day3 with 10km. Continue reading

Sam Yam makes list of top 40 under 40 Biz School Dons

Sam Yam picCongrats to Asst Prof Sam Yam who made Poets&Quants’ most outstanding 40 under 40 professors at leading business schools. Poets&Quants.com is a news portal devoted to the coverage of all that matters in the graduate business school world.

Every year, Poets&Quants puts out a call for nominations—students, alumni and the schools responded by nominating 75 professors from 40 different business schools from all over the world.

This is how it Poets&Quants describes those that made the list:

  • This year’s 40 Under 40 professors won’t disappoint
  • Rising stars at business schools from around the world
  • An inspiring group of young women and men who are making red hot names for themselves through academic research and classroom teaching
  • 40 of the brightest and youngest minds who serve on the faculty at MBA programs across the globe
  • Young professors who have reached mind-blowing success
  • They’ve accomplished so much in their brief careers and, to think, they’re just getting started

Oh, an additional distinction for Asst Prof Yam – he is the youngest – and the only 20plus – on the list! He is also one of the youngest professors on campus.

Read Sam’s interview with Poets & Quants.

Read Sam’s interview with the Straits Times.