Biz Alumni 20 July 2018

Commencement 2018: Embracing the spirit of learning

More than 900 students from the Doctorate, Masters and Bachelor cohorts graduated from NUS Business School on 18 July 2018.

The Commencement ceremony’s guest speakers and valedictorians share a common message to the Class of 2018 – embrace a spirit of lifelong learning.

The graduating students are starting on a new journey which has both opportunities and uncertainties. In terms of jobs, things could change quickly because of technological disruption.

Guest speaker Dr Leslie Teo, Chief Economist and Director of Economics and Investment Strategy, GIC, stressed the importance of being humble and curious.

“In a fast-changing world, it’s not what you have learned but how you have learned that is important. Being humble means being aware of how difficult your experience and instance can make it to get the facts right.”

It is also important to pair humility with curiosity to seek new information and test out one’s views, added Dr Teo. “This means embracing new ideas, sometimes uncomfortable ones.”

From left: NUS Business School Dean Prof Bernard Yeung; Mrs Lim Hwee Hua; Dr Leslie Teo; Prof Bernard Tan, Senior Vice Provost (Undergraduate Education)

A guest speaker for the afternoon ceremony, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Executive Director, Tembusu Partners, also stressed the importance of keeping an open mind. “Find every opportunity to learn,” she said.

Having experienced a wide variety of roles in the private and public sectors, Mrs Lim said she had to learn almost everything from private equity to power generation.

“A decade ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt of such a diverse portfolio but surprises are not always challenges. Learning has enriched my life beyond what’s required for work,” she said.

In their speeches, the valedictorians for NUS Business School echoed the guest speakers’ advice on lifelong learning and urged the Class of 2018 to embrace their inner spark and when possible, pay it forward.

The valedictorian for the Bachelor of Accounting cohort Mr Lee Chang Cheng, in his speech, said while changes can be scary, the new developments have made life “exciting”, he encouraged his fellow graduates to adopt a positive mind-set in their lives.

“If anything, these new developments have shown us that there is so much more to do in this world, and all it takes is your willingness to learn and put your ideas into action,” he said.

The valedictorian for the MBA cohort Ms Nabila Binte Zahur urged her fellow graduates to “keep the spark of discontent” alive.

“We’ve heard all these narrow and limiting definitions of ourselves, and we rejected them when we listened to our inner discontent and acted on it. And we came here and did the impossible,” she said.

Finally, the valedictorian for the BBA cohort Mr Nigel Toe encouraged his peers to take a further step and pay it forward. He helps out at a student counselling centre for children from age 5 to 18, in a village in Myanmar’s Shan State.

“I believe that each one of us could eventually find purpose in helping a cause we care about, be it in education or disaster relief among other things. Let us always possess the curiosity and hunger to make the world a better place.”

Congratulations class of 2018!