The new President of NUS Business School Alumni Association (NUSBSA), Benny Lee (BBA 1976) believes being receptive to new ideas, and embracing a wider segment of business graduates, are ways forward.
What motivated you to run for presidency?
My motivation is essentially to serve the alumni community. Having been the Alumni’s Vice-President since three years ago, I have seen how things work, and am ready to take on this job of leading the Alumni’s Vice-President since three years ago, I have seen how things work, and am ready to take on this job of leading the Alumni and fulfilling its worthy objectives – for instance, the launch of a scheme in partnership with SPRING and Singapore Business Federation to help displaced PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians).
Besides catering to alumni, we also strive to be relevant to the business community at large. This encompasses finding new sponsors for regular events like the breakfast talks which I initiated three years ago, and starting other events like round table discussions and lectures.
In helping displaced alumni, do you have a similar plan to help our needy students – those facing school fees and expenses difficulties because their families have been affected by the economic crisis?
Under Peter Tay, the immediate outgoing President, the NUSBSA Bursary Fund was started. I would like to intensify the effort, broaden the scheme and make it more meaningful to donors – besides naming rights, they will be able to direct their donations to recipients in their preferred disciplines.
The alumni is passionate about reaching out to needy students and ensuring that they continue their studies, and we are here to help.
Do you have a message for all our business alumni out there?
I encourage more people to join the Alumni and to become volunteers. Our mission is to serve one another, so I encourage members not to let reaping of benefits override service. On top of our jobs and businesses, my fellow Board Members and I still find time to serve the Alumni and the business graduate community.
The Alumni has always strived to be inclusive, and I will continue to promote that. This premise was first raised by our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his speech at Cambridge University’s 800th anniversary celebrations held in Singapore. He suggested all alumni bodies try to be inclusive rather than exclusive. To start with, our website will include a new section called “Class Notes“. This will feature human-interest stories of any graduate – happenings in their lives, etc. The idea is to give them a sense of ownership and belonging; and, hopefully, for the Alumni to reach out to a wider audience.
What role do you think the school can play in all these objectives you have mentioned?
A huge role because without GANO’s (Global Alumni Network Office) support, NUSBSA would not have come so far.
I have been involved in other alumni bodies like the old Rafflesian Association and the JAL Scholar Alumni. It is often the case that a full-time secretariat is required a few years into establishment. GANO has fulfilled this requirement and provided a stable platform for the Alumni to carry out its work. We look forward to continuing support from GANO and Dean Professor Bernard Yeung.
Your plate is pretty full. How do you feel now, holding this appointment?
It won’t be just my solo effort, but that of the whole enthusiastic board. My job is like that of a conductor – leading in a certain direction, with more accountability and transparency towards achieving certain results.
Congratulations, Benny, on being elected NUSBSA 2009 President!