When you drop in an EMBA class in session, dancing, singing and acting in class is probably the last thing you’d expect.
But that is exactly what surprised us earlier this month.
Executive MBA students of NUS Business School come from a wide range of backgrounds and countries. In our current Asia Pacific Executive MBA (APEX-E) batch, we have students who are consultants, managers, PhD holders and doctors, and represent diverse nationalities (Singaporean, Australian, Indians, Swedish, Turkish, Japanese, Swiss, Indonesian, Chinese, Saudi, and Taiwanese, to name a few). They are all middle to senior level executives who have had great achievements in their career, and are enhancing their experiences through an Executive MBA. Termed as ‘Intake 21’ internally, this group of our APEX-E students is a part of a very global, talented and ethnic mix of leaders.
So why were the Intake 21 students acting and singing when we dropped by their class? They were making a class presentation.
As a part of a project for the course, ‘Innovation & Entrepreneurship,’ this year’s APEX-E students, were given a very unique project: $500 worth of ice-cream to be sold in 48hours; the team with the highest amount collected wins. Sounds like the ‘Apprentice Asia’ show? Well, it came quite close. The class was divided into three teams and what followed were intense brainstorming sessions, marketing outreach, street—pounding, cold-calling, fund-raising campaigns and social media campaigning, which resulted in some of the most creative ways to raise money. The teams made most of the two days, raised money, sold ice-cream and made a final presentation to the professor, entire class and a group of senior members of APEX-E administration. True to his reputation of being an inspirational teacher, Prof Michael Yoshikami shared final words of wisdom and learnings from the project. He also celebrated the teams’ achievements by sharing a toast to the entire class as a token of encouragement.
As part of innovation in curriculum, the class generated $25,000 worth of donations via virtual ice cream sales through the virtual media. The teams created Facebook pages and took online orders for donations.
The most memorable moments from this project, however, came from interacting with the children at ’The Haven’ by Salvation Army. As a token, the class organized an actual ice cream delivery to the Salvation Army’s ‘The Haven,’ where a safe and nurturing environment is created for the underprivileged children. The Haven, where fifty children reside in small cluster units, is a residential home for abandoned, abused and neglected children, mostly referred to The Salvation Army for care by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.
It is these experiences that help business leaders gain an understanding about how to work with a diverse group, in a cohesive & effective manner, to be creative and to produce outstanding results. After all, isn’t this what executive business education is all about?
What do you think of the project and do you have any similar experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below.
If you are interested to find out more about other Asia-Pacific MBA programme, click here
PS: Title of this post borrowed from courtesy of one of the teams’ campaign.