What it means to be truly entrepreneurial

BBA Year 4 Albert Ho, specialising in both in Operations and Finance while also being part of the University Scholars Programme (USP), tells us what his key takeaways are, over the past 4 years, from NUS Business School.

Albert serving his internship stint at Dymon Asia Capital, focusing on venture capital technology investments

To me, ‘Business’ is ‘applied organisational behaviour’. Let me demystify that for you: Essentially, a corporation comprises various functions: Finance, Marketing, Sales, Strategy, and Distribution etc. It is not about understanding each function and being good in each function alone, but understanding how various functions interact together to create the most suitable value chain for your business.

Beyond understanding the functions of a company in silos, you also have to understand the consumers, competitors, various stakeholders. Business is hence ‘applied’ because it is happening real time in real life – you have to actually execute strategies and adapt them accordingly. That, to me is really exciting!

Albert’s team clinched champions at the Rotterdam Star Case Competition in Netherlands

There were many reasons that drew me to enrolling with NUS Business School. The three main reasons were the global reputation of NUS and NUS Business School, the flexibility of the curriculum including so many options of specialisations, minors, within the faculty, and even cross-faculty. Last but not least, the many international wins of the NUS Case Consulting Group. At case competitions, the NUS team is always a top contender and without fail, we always make it to the finals.

I also live on campus, and that has afforded me the luxury to live and interact with students from other faculties – from Science to Engineering to Social Sciences – something which adds considerable vibrancy and diversity to my college life.

Also, during my time in school, I applied for the NUS Overseas Colleges programme, an entrepreneurial programme that allows for an overseas internship in a tech start-up plus the opportunity to take modules in overseas partner universities. That was simply too great an opportunity to pass up! I had the opportunity to work in a New York City tech start-up for an entire year, where all my business skills and theories came into good practice. I also picked up some basic coding skills (Javascript) and put my business skills into use during hackathons that I participated during the programme!

Albert (left) winning top honours with his team at a hackathon, while studying in New York University as part of the NUS NOC programme

I remember my Product and Brand Management module specifically, allowing me to come up with a detailed marketing and branding plan. The various Finance modules I learnt further allowed me to perform financial analysis and modelling during my stint. This experience let me pick up skills to also assess start-ups and companies through a more integrated perspective as well.

Personally, I think people have mistaken the meaning of being entrepreneurial these days. Being involved in startups is a very entrepreneurial trait, but people can be entrepreneurial in larger organisations as well! It’s really about the mindset – being excited about innovation, creativity and new perspectives. Being entrepreneurial means knowing how to recognise and capture opportunity, minimise risk, make the most of limited resources, and make excellent decisions even with inadequate or incomplete information.

Albert as a Rag dancer during his freshman year in NUS Business School

After graduation, I would like to be involved in fields where business and technology intersect. Management consulting would be my ideal starting career. Eventually, I hope I will also have the chance to go into venture capital. The intersection of business and technology is exciting and I believe increasingly, technology will have an even greater impact on our lives – autonomous vehicles, augmented reality/virtual reality, artificial intelligence. It would be a dream come true to devote my professional life to these pursuits.

For more information on the BBA programme, please visit http://bba.nus.edu/.

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