Recruitment for a VUCA World

Some 120 recruiters were hosted by NUS Business School’s Career Services team to thank them for their contribution, as well as share and discuss development of talent for a VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – world.

Ms Joan Tay, Executive Director (External Relations) delivering the opening address

Ms Joan Tay, Executive Director (External Relations) delivering the opening address

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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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Rising to the desert challenge

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NUS Provost and Deputy President Academic Affairs Prof Tan Eng Chye (with the flag) crossing the finishing line with fellow NUS participants

Some 50 NUS Asia-Pacific EMBA (Chinese) (APEX-C) students, along with more than 10 faculty, staff and alumni, took part in the 11th edition of the Business School Gobi Desert Challenge from 22 to 24 May. NUS was one of 40 schools competing in the gruelling 112-km race, where the competitors battled with harsh elements and arid terrain in the Mo-Kia-Yen Gobi Desert.

“We encourage everyone to participate as part of our transformational learning initiative,” said Ms Brenda Cao, Head of APEX-C & Master in Public Administration and Management at NUS Business. NUS was presented with the Shackleton Award, which honours teams with 100 per cent completion rate. NUS had won the award in 2013 and 2014, and the hat-trick is a testament to the strong bonds of cooperation within the team.

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EMBA Alumni makes Fortune China List

Congratulations to our two EMBA alumni who were nominated to Fortune Magazine’s (China) list of Top 50 Most Influential Business Leaders in China.

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APEX-C alumna Chen Chunhua was ranked 19th on the list. She is Co-chairman & CEO of New Hope Liuhe Co. Ltd. Since she took on its leadership reins in 2013, the share price of New Hope Liuhe has more than doubled from its lowest point in 2013, and now has a market value of 55 billion yuan.

Today, New Hope Group is one of the most diversified agricultural enterprises in both China and the world. A top executive of the rival company commented that Ms Chen Chunhua was instrumental in bringing about the renewal of New Hope Group.

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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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PhD Alumni, now trader extraordinaire

Jane Street Capital came into prominence in August last year – this is how the New York Times (NYT) describes it: “These dangers were brought home last August, when markets were rattled by China’s decision to devalue its currency; some of the largest E.T.F.s sank by 50 percent or more… a bunch of Harvard Ph.D.s , swung into action with a wave of buy orders. By the end of the day, the E.T.F. shares had retraced their sharp falls.”

In the same article, NYT also describes being able to land a job at Jane Street as nothing short of remarkable: “Jane Street has acquired a reputation for being perhaps the toughest interview in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street. This is in part because the firm hires only a handful of new employees each year. To survive, candidates have to ace brain-twisting math riddles and game theory tests.”

wang tao flowersNUS Business School alumnus Wang Tao is one of the lucky few. We caught up with Wang Tao who after obtaining his double degree in Applied Maths and Economics at Peking University, did his PhD at the Business School, graduating in 2013. Of those years, he says:

I spent 5 years in Singapore/NUB B-school for my PhD in finance under the supervision of Professor Jin-Chuan Duan.  During that period, I was trained to be an academic researcher on finance through courses, workshops, conferences and a lot of research projects. I finished a number of academic papers either by myself or through cooperation with my supervisor as well as other scholars.

I felt especially proud that a co-authored paper of mine was published in the Journal of Econometrics, a top tier economic journal, before I graduated from the PhD program. I also enjoyed my teaching experience in NUS B-school as I served as teaching assistant or tutor for a number of different bachelor/master level courses.  Continue reading

The car park whisperer

In space-constrained Singapore where the ratio of cars to citizens is roughly 1 to 10, finding parking lots can be a time-consuming exercise for motorists who have to spend time searching for available spaces or queuing outside car park entrances.

But Neil Mehta (MBA 2015) believes his SurePark parking platform can solve the problem. SurePark involves palm-sized sensors that are placed on the ground of every lot detect the presence of vehicles.  These sensors feed data into the software platform to generate reports on the availability of the car park spaces.

Neil Mehta (middle) with his engineers and car sensors

Neil Mehta (middle) with his engineers and car sensors

Users can then access the information via the SurePark app, which also serves as a navigational guide to lead the motorist to the exact vacant slot. The app is also able to suggest alternative parking spaces in nearby car parks when the destination’s car park is full.

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Alumni Quek Siu Rui and Chan Yiwen make it to the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list

It was an illustrious list, a coming-of-age list: We congratulate Alumni Quek Siu Rui (BBA 2012) and Chan Yiwen (BBA 2014) on being included in the “Forbes 30 under 30” Asia list. The list highlights 300 of the top young leaders, entrepreneurs and influential figures from 10 different sectors in Asia. Well done!

We spoke to Siu Rui who was nominated under the “Consumer Tech” category.

carousell trio

From left: The Carousell trio: Marcus, Lucas and Siu Rui.

Siu Rui was nominated for his app Carousell which he co-founded with classmates Lucas Ngoo and Marcus Tan. Carousell is a community marketplace that lets users buy and sell everything from fashion, beauty products, furniture, art, books, branded goods, cars, bikes, antiques to houses.

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NUS Business School’s 50th Anniversary celebrations culminate in Leadership Forum and Gala Dinner

311_20151028_NUSBusinessSch_LdrshipForum_ZAIn a speech at NUS Business School’s Gala Dinner to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam spoke about the need for Singapore to create an innovative economy and society.

Mr Shanmugaratnam, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, spoke about how creativity and innovation can help Singapore earn its place in a constantly changing world.

Some 500 industry leaders, alumni and faculty came together on 28 October as NUS Business School celebrated the finale of its Golden Jubilee at the Leadership Forum & Gala Dinner.

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