This year, 2010, NUS Business School, once known as the Faculty of Business Administration, or Bizad, celebrates 45 years of training business minds, many of whom have become bastions of the business community both locally and abroad. Alumni have, in their quiet way, contributed to Asia’s ascent as they take on leadership roles in the Asian offices of MNCs, and even helmed SME’s as they branched out into the region. So there is cause for celebration indeed.
Several events have been planned for the whole year, some in various parts of Asia with various groups of alumni associations and chapters, to keep up the momentum of joy and pride. They include the Alumni Homecoming Conference and Dinner, Alumni Golf Reunion, MBA Cricket Carnival and Mandarin Management Forum.
As Henry Kwok (BBA Hons 1972), co-driver of the NUS Business School Golf Reunion in October, explains, “The range of activities is to tap the different interests of alumni.” But the point of the celebrations goes beyond pure revelry. Henry adds, “We hope to have accomplished certain objectives after all these activities. We wish to create a platform that will help bridge the Business School and its graduates, especially the earlier batches, who have lost touch to a great extent. We may not see the results now, but we hope to rekindle the relationship and build stronger bonds. So this 45th Anniversary is a turning point rather than merely a year of celebrations.”
His partner in organizing the golf tournament, Peter Tay (BBA Hons 1975, MBA 1987) highlights that a focal point of alumni’s “homecoming” is the Mochtar Riady Building, the new flagship building of NUS Business School. “It is an iconic building, and gives us a sense of home. It reflects that we have moved on, and are now a modern, successful, global Business School,” he says.
Colin Chow (BBA 1981), representing the NUS Business School Alumni Association in organising the Homecoming Conference and Dinner on 22 May, says, “We want to bring alumni back to our new home with interesting seminars and conferences with relevant topics. It’s the people who make the school come alive, and we hope that together, our alumni will represent the business community in terms of intellectual knowledge. Imagine the years of collective experience we have! We can bridge that knowledge gap between the old and new cohorts.”
Fellow organizer, Gouw Huat Suan (APEX-E MBA 2007), who represents the MBA Alumni-NUS, adds, “Hopefully different people will meet and start off new ventures. Good ideas will come up. With all the changes in the business climate today, new ideas will be welcomed!”
Echoing her sentiments is David Chang (MBA-C 1998) who is co-organizing the Homecoming event on behalf of the Mandarin Alumni. He says, “It provides a chance for networking, and to upgrade our knowledge.”
William Chung (Exec Ed 1988), President of Mandarin Alumni, hopes that the celebrations will provide channels for alumni “to form interest groups so that, after these events, they will develop their own relationships.”
Indeed, the anniversary celebrations could have far-reaching effects. Malcolm Koh (APEX-E MBA 2007), President of the MBA Alumni – NUS, says, “Competition is rising, so we need to compete. We are an established brand, and our wealth of history is what differentiates us. Part of that history is on our alumni and they are ingrained in the business eco-system, in politics, in the press, in the GLCs. Now we also have internationally and diversity, part of our brand is in that. So we are leveraging on that diversity.” He hopes that the anniversary events will initiate ways for alumni to continue their engagement with the society at large in more impactful ways.
New Channels of Opportunities
Benny Lee (BBA 1976), President of the NUS Business School Alumni Association, hopes that his sentiments mirror that of other alumni. “Lest I forget, a big part of my success in life is the debt I owe to NUS Business School for imparting a body of knowledge and skill sets which have proven their worth over the years. As a 45-year-old Business School attached to the NUS which is more than a hundred years old, we share, to a certain degree, its heritage of being an ivory tower, This has to change. So, as we celebrate this milestone, I hope the School will become more anchored to the ground, be connected not just with a few notable companies, but with the thousands of SMEs on the ground. That is where we will find our next champions. So, let us be involved in that process! Viva la Bizad!“