Healthier and Wealthier Lifestyle” Series I: Cancer Prevention and Cures


Date: 1 August 2009, Saturday

Time: 2pm – 4pm

Venue: Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Seminar Hall, Level 2

Organizers: MBA Alumni – NUS
Singapore Cancer Society
Parkway Health


Did you know that cancer is Singapore’s top critical illness?

The first seminar in the “Healthier and Wealthier Lifestyle” series shone a spotlight on cancer prevention and cures. Field specialists from Singapore Cancer Society and Parkway Health were on hand to shed light on the much-dreaded condition. The audience went away with a better understanding of the illness, advances in treatment, and tips for prevention.

Respectively, Dr James Tan, Senior Consultant, James Tan Centre for Urology & Robotic Surgery, Mount Elizabeth Medical Center; Dr Khoo Kei Siong, Deputy Medical Director, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology, Parkway Cancer Centre; and Dr Francis Seow-Choen, Senior Consultant, Seow-Choen Colorectal Centre, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre spoke on prostate, breast and colon cancers.


About the Series

MBA Alumni – NUS is all about the best interest of its alumni. So, besides networking opportunities, it has rolled out a brand new series called “Healthier and Wealthier Lifestyle”. Seminars under the series aim to help members keep a steady focus on their own health and well-being. The first session attracted much interest among members – a heartening sign of interest in self-care. Look out for upcoming seminars in the series.


Human Capital Insights Forum with CEO of Kelly Services Inc.

Date: 8 July 2009 (Wednesday)gano-aug09-human-capital

Time: 7.00am – 9.30am | 2.00pm – 5.00pm (Saturday)

Venue: St. Regis Hotel, John Jacob II

Kelly Services
NUS Business School
NUS Business School Alumni Association (NUSBSA)

Photo Gallery


A 130-strong audience of senior management gathered over breakfast. Their agenda: To examine “Building a Viable Leadership Bench Strength and Talent Pipeline in APAC for Growth and Sustainability” – a fresh long-term view beyond the, of late, over-dissected global financial downturn.

An impressive cross-discipline panelist proffered varied perspectives. It comprised Professor Richard Arvey, Head of Management and Organization Department at NUS Business School; Pratap Nambia, founder and CEO of Thought Perfect, and Executive-in-Residence at NUS Business School; Howie Lau (BBA 1993), General Manager and Executive Director, Lenovo ASEAN/Korea; and Carl Camden, Global CEO and President of Kelly Services Inc. Jonas Ang, Vice President, Human Resource APAC, Kelly Services played emcee and moderator.

The event marked the successful first-time partnership between NUS Business School and NUSBSA with Kelly Services. It was timely, too, as alumni got to learn about future employment trends in Asia Pacific from global CEOs as the region continues to increase in prominence on the world stage.

Key Learning Points

1. Much of local talent has been overlooked. Tap into talents within, as opposed to beyond, our boundaries.

2. Experienced employees may provide skills and knowledge, but inexperienced employees can produce fresh perspectives. Hiring a balance of experienced and inexperienced individuals.

3. Differentiate the Eastern model of leadership and talent management from the Western model. Don’t just blindly copy the latter.

4. One fundamental behavior separates managers from leaders. Managers manage people; leaders fix problems.

5. There is much untapped talent. Always keep an open mind, and a lookout for fresh, atypical ideas.

Participants Speak

Ng Pheck Choo (BBA 1984):

The event was very well-organized, and the topic was very relevant to these changing times.

9-point Game Plan for Career Breakthroughs


At some point in our careers, many of us will hit what feels like a dead end. There is a name for it – career ceiling. This challenging time could happen just once or several times in our lifetime. Six alumni share how they view and breakthrough such boundaries. From APEX-2006, Jean-Michel de Jaeger, Consultant-Trainer-Coach at 123@Business; Tan Choon Huat, Director IT & CIO at Lilly (Africa, Middle East, Turkey, Russia, Asia & China); Shikharesh Das, Director Strategic Marketing, Global Emerging Markets at GE Healthcare Monitoring Solutions; and How Ti Hwei, Professional Marketing Director at Johnson & Johnson Singapore. From APEX-C 2006, Chang Chun Yuan, Managing Director at Tassin Industrial Pte Ltd; and Zhou Xing, Vice President, Institutions at Singapore Exchange Limited.


Career Ceilings: Reality to Contend with

Set Realistic Goals

The concept of career ceiling depends on how one defines top profession. To some, being a manager is good enough; to others, vice-presidency is the goal. So, the point is to do one’s best achieve to achieve one’s most, and be satisfied with those achievements. Otherwise, nothing will ever be good enough. – Chang Chun Yuan

Take Charge, Don’t be Led

When the demands of career began conflicting with my family priorities, I knew I had reached a career ceiling of sorts. But at the same time, my decision to build a family was the turning point for my career too. I decided to take back control by creating my own career path, fully investing my resources into it, with my family as priority. – Jean-Michel de Jaeger

Innovate, Courageously and Persistently

For me, there is no career ceiling. When ‘stuck’ in one area, I always venture into other areas of my interests where I can apply my skills or pick up new skills. Ceilings are self-imposed limits. As long as I dare to change, I can create the space I want to operate and create value in. There are always opportunities to improve and different ways to break “barriers”. Sometimes these require challenging current advancement paradigm and creating a new one. In the short term, conflicts may arise, but in the longer term, this enables me to break previous career plateaus. All these take courage and commitment. – Tan Choon Huat

Embrace Learning

Beyond a certain stage, employment prospects reach a peak. Higher management faces greater policy-making responsibilities; but what next? That’s career ceiling. To go beyond this barrier, you must be willing to learn and upgrade continuously. After all, there is no limit to technical skills, product development and business development, all of which present more career advancement opportunities. – Zhou Xing

Pace Career and Education

I have seen people hit career ceilings – usually when individuals rise too fast and run out of depth at some point due to inadequacy of personal experience to draw from. There are two way to avoid his; either pace yourself to stay within your ceiling which is difficult to do, or increase your pace of learning which can be enhanced in many ways – through mentoring, attending professional seminars, etc. A great booster for me was the Executive MBA program; it gave me a completely new perspective of strategic thinking. – Shikharesh Das


Career Advancement: Deployable Tactics

Talent, Luck and Planning

Talent and being at the right place at the right time play a part, but career planning is also important. Know what career or profession you want to be in; what career advancement opportunities it holds; and what skills, knowledge and competencies you need to advance. Career planning may be more clear-cut and easier in some profession than others, but still critical regardless of the industry or profession you are in. – How Ti Hwei

Self-awareness, Good-fit and Commitment

Know your own strengths, weaknesses and career goals. This is difficult, but important and involves continuous soul-searching. Ensure good fit between these, the company’s needs and the opportunities available. Finally, be committed to the job – demonstrate consistent performance, grow your skill sets and willingly to take up new challenges. – Tan Choon Huat

Visibility and Relationships

Be prepared to learn new things, accept new challenges, and shoulder more responsibilities, all the while broadcasting your achievements so the bosses are aware of your abilities. Many capable people failed because they do not “sell” themselves. If others do not know about your abilities, how can they consider you whenever career advancement opportunities arise? Also, develop good working relationships with colleagues; career advancement could mean supervisory role with subordinates reporting to you, and you will want to have a strong team. – Chang Chun Yuan

The Bigger Picture

Build your personal and professional network. Each minute is an opportunity to meet people, and build or improve relationships. Take little things seriously, and be philosophical about important things. For example, every new subscription to the website I manage is an important event, and I welcome the subscriber wholeheartedly; I wait patiently – event if it takes six months – for an important invoice to be paid, instead of getting agitated about it – Jean-Michel de Jaeger

Avoid Life in a Rut


Avoid Life in a Rut

Mid-life crisis is real. Many of us think it’s just a popular urban legend, yet its popularity rise arises from the fact that the legend rests on some truths, especially one which hits hardest and truest at our all important “careers”.

Showing Life’s Reality

We often see cases of committed professionals and managers, who after 15 or 20  years on the job, suddenly stop and ask themselves ‘I’ve been doing this for so long; what’s next?’” says Adrian Choo (BBA (Hons) 1997), Principal at Boyden, a top global executive search firm. According to him, the question comes too late for such people. “At that stage, they would already be in their forties, used to certain ways and organizational structures, stuck in a comfort zone, and their skills restricted and relevant to specific kinds of jobs or specialists areas only. The irony is that they have spent all this time managing their business and departments, but not their careers. As a result, they become redundant in the job market.

Adrian gave the true-to-life example of an outstanding professional who had been with his Fortune 100 company for eighteen years, turning down several other job offers along the way, because he was contented with his position and prospects in the company. When he was finally retrenched, he found that other companies were no long willing to take him on. “They believed he would be too steeped in the corporate culture of his former company which has such a strong identity, and not be able to fit into a new environment,” Adrian reveals.

Painful as it may be to think that commitment to one’s job and loyalty to the company might result in professional redundancy, Adrian says the truth cannot be ignored, “that is why we give talks to senior executives to get them thinking about a career strategy“.

If the gentleman in the example had a career strategy, he would have left his company by the eighth year – after chalking up the requisite experience, industry knowledge and management skills, before becoming set in a particular mould.

Think Career Strategy

To avoid a similar fate, it appears that one must have a career strategy at the beginning of one’s working life; and keep refining it along the way, especially in today’s fast-changing world.

In the old days, being in the same job was a good thing; it spelt stability, commitment, loyalty. But now, if someone has been in a company for a considerable time, potential employers ask “Why didn’t he move? Is there something wrong with him?” Adrian further explained that staying too long in one place has several disadvantages. “It is bad for one’s positioning in the market, their salaries would not commensurate with market rates, and employers would question their ability to adapt to a new company. And remember, the timeframe defining ‘deadwood’ is constantly getting shorter.

Adrian says one hits a ‘career ceiling’ if one is unable to move further in a job or organization because one lacks skills or qualifications, or if such a move requires a commitment one is not prepared to make. It is then time to strategize – fast.

Leading Career Advancement

Adrian shares his personal findings in his seminars to help people strategize their careers. “There is a tried-and-tested methodology to strategizing your career. I formulated it after six years in the headhunting business, speaking to hundreds of senior professionals on how they successfully managed their careers. I saw a common thread running through all their stories, and common denominators in their styles. I compiled all that into my system,” Adrian recalls.

The first thing one must do is “to find an anchor that will help you swing from your current position into a new one. This may be relevant skill sets or domain knowledge that can be applied across industries or corporations; or people you know and contacts you have who can open a way into the new company“. Adds Adrian, “Another step is to position yourself in a way that is relevant to the new job by focusing on the three most appropriate talents you have, and then selling those attributes.

Many would find it hard to take the time to strategize their career while caught up in the demands of work. But Adrian says that is no excuse. “If you have the time to plan a vacation, or your investment strategy, then you have time to strategize your career. Just take an afternoon off, go to the beach and sit with a clean sheet of paper. List your strengths, your passions, and what you want or do not want in your next job – is it more or less sales, more or less travel? Then act on it. that is all it takes,” Adrian reassures.

Adrian is currently writing a book called “What Is Your Career Strategy”, a step-by-step guide to finding career satisfaction, targeted at senior business leaders. It is expected to be launched in late 2009.

Reach Out and Advance: NUS-SBF Business Advisors Program

Date: 31 July 2009, Fridaygano-aug09-cover-bap

Time: 4pm – 6.30pm

Venue: NUS Guild Hall, Left Chamber

Organizers: Global Alumni Network Office

E-Flyer | Photo Gallery


The graduate unemployed is often a forgotten a lot as more governments would assume that being the better educated, they can look after themselves. However we all know that misfortune has nothing to do with one’s education level. PM Lee even called them the sandwiched class in a speech reported in the Business Times of Feb 29th, 2009. So while the government of the day has many problems to help the lower levels of our society, it is important that the graduates are able to leverage on one another to cushion the fallouts from the current economic storm,” Benny Lee, President of the NUS Business School Alumni Association explained in his speech when launching a new scheme to help NUS Alumni affected by the global economic crisis.

The Program

The Business Advisors Program (BAP) is a joint initiative by the NUS Business School Alumni Association and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) to help SMEs engage Professional, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) as Business Advisors and capitalize on their expertise to grow the SMEs. The scheme matches and deploys PMET NUS alumni to SMEs, which are also run by NUS Alumni, for short-term consulting assignment averaging six months. The PMETs exercise their expertise, experience and market knowledge to help the SMEs in their business strategies and operations.

The maximum total fee payable to the Business Advisor per month is $5,000; and SPRING Singapore is supporting the BAP by funding 70 percent of the project fees, with the rest to be borne by the SMEs involved who will benefit from the program.

Despite being just launched on 31 July 2009, there are already 82 PMET and 64 SME sign-ups, and the target is at least 30 BAP projects in the next 14 months.

Chemistry at Work

Also speaking at the launch at NUS Kent Ridge Guild House, Professor Bernard Yeung, Dean of NUS Business School, elaborated, “SMEs are usually vulnerable to economic crises. With the right talent on board, it could increase their capability to adapt and navigate through the difficult global market and explore new opportunities, especially at the beginning of the recovery. Since man of our alumni are also owners of SMEs, this program also provides the opportunity for a vibrant exchange of ideas and perspectives, particularly befitting the changing business environment.

Susan Chong (current APEX-E MBA student), CEO of Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd, agrees on the benefits SMEs like Greenpac can reap from BAP. “It has always been a challenge for SMEs to get the best talent, because more people prefer to join MNCs. BAP is one of the best programs to bridge that. It will encourage PMETs to come into an SME and realize that these companies do have potential and present opportunities,” she said. “Don’t forget that every MNC started out as an SME.

Roy Ong (NUS MBA 2000), who intent to join the BAP as Business Advisor, said, “Potential Business Advisors should approach this as a challenge. As graduates, we tend to have a static view of work, thinking that a job automatically comes with our degree. This recession is a wake-up call for us, even for me. I realize we must always strive to bring value to our job, company or project. The degree merely takes us the first step into the Human Resource Department. What matters is how you perform on the job, what you do with the degree. So, we should not view this as a vacation job, but to proactively provide value instead. Who knows, if the SME finds you an asset, they may hire you full-time, and then both sides win.

Global Depth

The SBF will facilitate the selection and matching of PMETs and SMEs, by disseminating information about the scheme to its members, and also helping scope the work for the Business Advisors. Mr Teng Theng Dar, CEO of SBF, said, “This collaboration between the SBF and NUS is aimed at facilitating business, manpower and technology capability building by enabling SBF members to tap on the talent pool of students, faculty and alumni from the university. The NUS-SBF BAP is yet another initiative whereby companies can access the expertise of the NUS alumni PMETs for business consultancy and support, while tapping on SPRING Singapore’s funding.

Gideon Lim (BA (Hons) 1995), Managing Director of Web Synergies (S) Pte Ltd, is looking forward to engaging a BAP Business Advisor, “The SME boss is a generalist, we do the HR, marketing, communications, and strategizing aspects. A specialist with an MNC background, with specialist skills, will help us strengthen certain areas of operations such as marketing or finance, etc.,” he explained.

By Alumni, For Alumni

BAP’s Program Director, Ivan Lim (current UCLA-NUS MBA student), said, “this program also provides the opportunity for a mentorship initiative. Emphasizing the ‘by Alumnus, for Alumnus intention, we want to encourage more interaction among alumni, and what better way to do that than to extend the learning’ experience into the professional realm with a mentorship program?

It is clear that the BAP can make a significant impact on SMEs and PMETs displaced by the current economic turmoi. “When the US-led recession started to hurt our fellow graduates, I thought instead of focusing on the usual reunion teas or dinner or even our Breakfast Talk series, we should focus our energies on helping one another in this very serious downturn,” said Benny Lee, who is also the Chairman of the BAP Steering Committee.

I am proud to launch what must be a first in the history of tertiary education in Singapore; and honored because it is rare indeed to be given such a privilege to lead such an initiative, which is probably the most meaningful one that any alumni can engage in.

The launch was also attended by Mr Lim Chai Boon, Deputy Executive Director of SBF, and Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, President of NUS.

For more information click on the links below:
BAP eFlyer
BAP eFlyer (Chinese)
BAP eFlyer for SME’s