NUS Business School launches NUS Business Talks in China

NUS Business School kick starts a series of engagement activities in China. Starting with Shanghai, the first edition of the NUS Business Talks (新思沙龙) invited like-minded business leaders interested in sharing thought leadership and best practices within various business industries in China.

Tapping on the expertise of our EMBA (Chinese) alumni, the Shanghai office organised the inaugural session on 17 February.

Attendees of the inaugural NUS Business Talks in Shanghai

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Chinese alumni set up entrepreneurship cafés

Led by Alumna and Adjunct Professor Chen Chunhua (Department of Management & Organisation), a group of 55 Asia-Pacific EMBA (Chinese) alumni, has embarked on a mission to build cafes in China that double up as incubators for entrepreneurs.

The Hangzhou cafe

The Hangzhou cafe

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The Hangzhou Cafe

The group recently opened its second café in Hangzhou in early December 2016. The first, based in Nanjing, opened in May 2015. The alumni adopted the brand name “Dreampresso” for the cafes.

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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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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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Savvy in Seattle

Congratulations to Clayton Chu (BBA Year 2), Fabian Kho (BBA Hons Year 4), Jasmine Lim (BBA Year 3) and Sean Ling (BBA Hons Year 4) who came in first at the prestigious Global Business Case Competition in Seattle, organised by the University of Washington’s Forster School of Business. We are the first Singaporean team to do so in the competition’s 17 year history.

seatttle win

From left: Prof Hum, Sean, Jasmine, Fabian and Clayton

Our team scored with their in-depth analysis and wide-ranging set of recommendations for the business case on the embattled Volkswagen Group. Participants were given 48 hours to prepare.

Deputy Dean Professor Hum Sin Hoon who was the faculty adviser to the team said in a Straits Times article: “The judges were impressed not only by the sheer volume and completeness of the team’s presentation, but when questioned, the students were also able to immediately cite the exact page to illustrate their answers.”

They defeated teams from 11 other universities, which included the University of California Berkeley, Portugal’s Universidade do Porto, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Australia’s Queensland University of Technology.

Read more about it at http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/nus-team-clinches-global-business-contest

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

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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