Date: 13 March 2008
Venue: Imperial Court Shark’s Fin Restaurant @ The Grassroots Club
Three years have passed since the APEX-E MBA Class of 2005 graduated, but over lunch with three alumni at the Imperial Court Shark’s Fin Restaurant at The Grassroots Club on 13 March 2008, it was evident that the class is as closely-knit as they were three years back.”The best part about the program was the friendships that were forged,” points out Steven Yeo (APEX-E MBA 2005), currently Vice President and Executive Director of Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Asia Pacific. “We’ve formed collaborations and one of our classmates even invested in another’s company and they are now both business partners.”
Adds Angie Ng (APEX-E MBA 2005), Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Asia Pacific, J Walter Thomson (Singapore) Pte Ltd, “We still meet up at each other’s homes very often, and we even have our own blog so that we keep up-to-date with each others’ lives.”
When asked what was the one thing they remembered about their study days, the group replied in unison, “Food!” Whichever place the program brought them – Singapore, Bangalore and Shanghai – there was always an abundance of food.
“We would buy breakfast as a group,” recalls Steven. “And we would lay it all out like a buffet spread so everyone can enjoy just before class,” adds Angie.
Indeed, the camaraderie forged was so good that each looked forward to the next segment each time one ended.
The Asia Pacific Executive (APEX)-MBA program, now in its 11th year, is uniquely designed to provide optimized learning for the busy executive. Modules are taught in 2-week study segments every three months beginning in July and ending in November the following year.
“It was a good way to keep us focused during the two weeks, and when I went back to work, I could apply what I learnt immediately,” says Ng Kim Hung (APEX-E MBA 2005), General Manager, Information Services & Logistics at Murata Electronics.
Comparing it with other part-time programs that held evening and weekend classes, the group agreed that they liked the way the APEX-E MBA program was structured as it allowed them to plan their work appointments around the class schedules. Not having to sacrifice their weekends or having to rush to class after work meant that there was less disruptions and less likelihood of skipping classes.
Adds Steven, “For a man like me who travels a lot, this was just perfect.”
The APEX-E MBA program was also unique as it gave participants a good grounding about doing business in the Asia-Pacific region. For the 2005 batch, in addition to Singapore, modules were also conducted in Bangalore and Shanghai, complete with site visits where CEOs provided insights about running a business in the respective countries. The APEX-E MBA program now offers participants the opportunity to complete their modules in five additional countries – China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam – offering a comprehensive program that integrates the best management theories and practices from the East and West.
Whether for one with a background in business or without, the APEX-E MBA program proves to be equally useful and relevant across time.
“For a technocrat like me, the program provided a lot of useful theories that I still use today. I still use the frameworks I’ve learnt in strategic thinking to write my papers and I still refer to my notes which I find to be very practical and relevant,” points out Kim Hung.
Adds Steven, “Even for me with business background, the program served as a good refresher and gave me a wider perspective of things. The case studies were also useful in enhancing learning.”
Despite the relatively small class size the batch enjoyed, the program still provided its students with a rich platform for exchange between fellow classmates and distinguished international faculty that provided personalized attention in class.
“I remember that each of us were given lots of opportunities to speak in class, encouraging class participation and in the process made us more cohesive,” recalls Angie.
Keeping the class cohesive is Angie, who acts as the main coordinator for get-together events for the APEX-E MBA 2005 class. The entire class next meets on 25 March 2008 over what else, but food of course!