Lean In, Asia: Women in Leadership in Asia

A recent survey by the Institute of Policy Studies in Singapore to measure attitudes of Singaporeans towards mandatory National Service (NS) showed that one woman in 10 is willing to volunteer for NS two years for National Service. The survey sparked some discussion about whether the playing field should be levelled and if women need to serve in the armed forces.

The news brought to the surface the issue of gender inequality and in a broader context, the relatively low rates of female representation at the top levels of business in Asia. Reports such as McKinsey’s Women Matter or the report (study) by our very own Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO) report indicate that gender diversity is not a business imperative for many Asian companies today.

We spoke to Chung Yuen Kay, Adjunct Associate Professor at NUS Business School, who is also one of the instructors in our Women in Leadership Executive Education programme, to get her insights into issues related to women and leadership

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“Things I Didn’t Learn at Business School”

Richard Howard, the President & CEO of Daimler Financial Services Asia Pacific and Africa, recently visited the School to share leadership lessons to create a winning culture across different cultural environments, as a part of Leadership Dialogue Series.

Daimler Financial Services (DFS) is a global  financial service provider of a comprehensive range of automobile-related financial services. Richard, originally from England and a father of four, has worked with Daimler for over 18 years and has led global teams. He got his MBA from Aston University, UK, and has a BA (Honours) in Business Studies from the University of Central England, UK.

Given his breadth and depth of experience, his insights were valuable to all of us. In particular,  his words of wisdom about what he did not learn in a business school, were inspiring. We couldn’t resist sharing it with you; so here are the excerpts of his talk: Continue reading

What You Wish You Were Taught in MBA

Consider this scenario:  You’re a final year MBA student attending an important networking session organized by potential recruiters from a company you’re aspiring to join soon. You prepare yourself, carry your business cards, dress your best and attend the networking session only to find out that there are over 50 other peers at the event who are also vying for the same two minutes of face-time with the recruiters and eventually the job you are aspiring for. How do you make a lasting impression on the recruiter when it’s your turn?

Sounds familiar?  Haven’t we all gone through these kinds of social, critical moments when we don’t know what to do? Those awkward pauses in business conversations when we wished we had said something? Or those countless business meetings or lunches when we missed an opportunity to make our points effectively and regretted later?

This is the kind of stuff that most MBA programmes don’t teach us – and we’re being told that either we know it or we don’t –or we cannot learn it.  Known as management communications, it is the communications skill that is linked to almost all outcomes we desire from an MBA degree – getting that first job, making an impact in a new job, influencing negotiations, becoming an influential leader and achieving our goals. Yet, how many of the top global MBA programmes have management communications as a part of core curriculum? Continue reading