Some 25 students from the CEMS programme recently visited Telenor Asia’s headquarters in Singapore to find out more about the Norwegian telecommunications company’s operations and strategy for the region.
Telenor’s Asian operations include Malaysia and Myanmar. Singapore, as an important hub for the region, is the base for its digital business group and an innovation accelerator unit.
Vegard Aas, VP, Head of Internet Access, Global Products, Telenor Group, who was an exchange student here at NUS Business School from 2007 to 2008.
He spoke to Outside-In about what it was like to study and work in Singapore.
What was your exchange experience in Singapore like?
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and experiences. It has an allure of being in the faraway East and at the same time a metropolis where everything works.
It is a fantastic juxtaposition of tradition – with its temples, pre-war shop houses and exotic cuisines – and modern infrastructure similar to New York or London.
Singapore is extremely serious about food. It is cheap and very tasty. The people here are always proud to share their food culture with visitors. I remember eating chicken rice at hawker centres, chilli crabs from the cluster of seafood restaurants at East Coast Park, exotic fruits in the local markets and even fancy finger food at embassy parties.
The student community at NUS has a great mix of ambitious but fun-loving people from Singapore and countries around the world.
It is easy and cheap to travel to fantastic nearby destinations using Singapore as a base. You can relax at the Gili Islands in Indonesia, dive at Perhentian in Malaysia, and even go to Tibet if you have a couple of weeks to spare.
And what is it like working in Singapore?
Working in Singapore is like being part of an international community where things get done efficiently.
Singapore has a very positive and ambitious vibe where the government is progressive and business-friendly. It’s a great place for innovation, with lots of talented and ambitious people.
This is why many global companies, including Telenor, use Singapore as a regional headquarters and innovation hub.
As a frequent traveller, I love Changi Airport’s efficiency and service whether I am travelling for business or leisure.
What advice do you have for international students coming to Singapore?
Eat at hawker centres that are in different parts of Singapore, try bak kut teh in Tiong Bahru, tandoori in Little India, dim sum in Chinatown or chilli crab at East Coast Park.
Join a student club or sports team/activity; it’s a great way to get closer to the local students. I enjoyed joining the badminton team and kayaking on the weekends with the team.
Go to buffets, like BBQ at the Grand Hyatt or champagne brunch at the Fullerton.
Book a table at Ce La Vie on top of Marina Bay Sands to see the sunset.
TRAVEL all you can. Go somewhere exotic you can brag about later in life, like Tibet, Papua New Guinea or the Philippines. And get the scuba diving license.
CEMS is a global alliance of leading business schools, multinational companies (MNCs), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This global pre-experience master’s programme emphasises interpersonal and leadership skills where students get to spend one semester each in two CEMS partner universities. For more information on the CEMS programme, visit http://mim.nus.edu/cems-connection/cems-mim/.