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Ong Hua Han was deciding between NUS Business School and another university which was nearer home and most importantly, on flatter ground.  Even his family doctor discouraged him from NUS because it would be hard for him to move around its hilly terrain. He was born with a condition called brittle bone disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta), and moves around mostly on a wheelchair.

H GradThen the BBA office reached out to the family. Its staff invited Hua Han and his parents to the school. Over a cosy tea session, they talked about the challenges and possibilities of NUS – accessibility, safety, health; and how the office could assist him if he joined the school. Then – and his mother fondly remembers – the Assistant Dean, Dr Helen Chai, personally took them on a walk around the school, showing him the routes that were wheelchair-accessible – in her high heels!

He remembers that there was a drop step near the bus-stop he would not be able to negotiate with his wheelchair. BBA Office connected with the now Office of Campus Amenities (then called Office of Estate and Development), and a ramp for wheelchair access was built. The office also, when needed, helped schedule his lessons so they did not run back to back and thus he had time to get to each class on time.

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Thank you, Reedz!

After serving delicious food to the business school community as well as hosting many events for six years, Reedz Cafe@BizSchool is now closing. It did not win the tender to continue with its operations in the school and will make way for a new café come August. We take a walk down memory lane with BBA (2008) alumnus Lee Junxian who co-founded Reedz with Chang Jen Fi (Engineering):

That year in 2010, the MRB Building was in the final stages of completion when the opportunity to operate a café on site became available. Junxian then was still studying on the premises while Jen Fi was just down the road. They remember juggling studies, co-curricular activities and running their food business at the same time.

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Junxian (left) with partner Jen Fi

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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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Students Share: MSc in Management & CEMS MIM Programme

Students Share is a new series of contributed articles and answers shared by students who are currently enrolled in our programmes. The goal is to give prospective students and readers first-hand understanding of the programme and learn about experiences directly from a current student.

The following answers are shared by Alvin Tan who joined MSc in Management/CEMS MIM programme in January 2014. He went to HKUST and Rotterdam School of Management for his CEMS terms abroad. Thank you, Alvin for sharing your thoughts! 

  1. Please share a little about yourself

I have been working in Sembcorp Marine since 2013. During that time, my role as a graduate Engineer allowed me to be involved in planning, leading and directing ship-repair projects across a wide range of vessels, ranging from container ships to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers.

I wanted to accelerate my career progress and develop the management expertise, global mind-set and winning strategies to compete across domains and borders. A general management programme was hence the next important step. I was drawn to NUS-CEMS double degree programme due to its focus on international management and strategy. I got a company sponsorship and hence applied for this programme.

2. Why did you choose this programme?

I was looking for an advanced management programme that emphasizes understanding and practicing responsible global leadership, decision-making and citizenship, which are increasingly important in today’s globalized, complex business environment.Through this programme, I have the opportunity to not only develop advanced management and leadership competencies, but also benefit from its international exposure and learning experience. This 18-month programme goes beyond offering general management education, incorporating international management as an integral discipline. Continue reading

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

Recruitment for a VUCA World

Some 120 recruiters were hosted by NUS Business School’s Career Services team to thank them for their contribution, as well as share and discuss development of talent for a VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – world.

Ms Joan Tay, Executive Director (External Relations) delivering the opening address

Ms Joan Tay, Executive Director (External Relations) delivering the opening address

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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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Undergrads win case competition in Hong Kong

Congratulations to our BBA students who have won the HSBC/HKU Asia Pacific Business Case Competition 2016.

Ahamed Marzouq (BBA Year 2), Du Yan (BAC Year 2), Joel Goh Zongwei (BBA Year 4) and Sharyn Poerwanto (BBA Year 2) defeated 23 university teams from 19 countries to snag the top prize for NUS. Associate Professor Lau Geok Theng was the faculty adviser.

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From left: Marzouq, Sharyn, Joel and Du Yan

The team had to go through four rounds of competition, analysing cases involving organisations such as Gravity Payments, Volkswagen, Zuji and UNIQLO. The biggest challenge was the case format – teams had only two and a half hours to analyse each case.

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Rising to the desert challenge

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NUS Provost and Deputy President Academic Affairs Prof Tan Eng Chye (with the flag) crossing the finishing line with fellow NUS participants

Some 50 NUS Asia-Pacific EMBA (Chinese) (APEX-C) students, along with more than 10 faculty, staff and alumni, took part in the 11th edition of the Business School Gobi Desert Challenge from 22 to 24 May. NUS was one of 40 schools competing in the gruelling 112-km race, where the competitors battled with harsh elements and arid terrain in the Mo-Kia-Yen Gobi Desert.

“We encourage everyone to participate as part of our transformational learning initiative,” said Ms Brenda Cao, Head of APEX-C & Master in Public Administration and Management at NUS Business. NUS was presented with the Shackleton Award, which honours teams with 100 per cent completion rate. NUS had won the award in 2013 and 2014, and the hat-trick is a testament to the strong bonds of cooperation within the team.

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