Global Alumni Network Office, the alumni office at NUS Business School is dedicated to strengthening the bond with its graduates, the rich knowledge base who go out and make the world their playing field.
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The NUS Business School Alumni is indeed a Global Business School with its 46,000 alumni present across 5 continents and 41 cities. We have established 13 alumni chapters and more than 30 alumni contact points globally. Wherever our alumni are, NUS Business School’s Global Alumni Network Office (GANO) organizes various activities for them – from leisure trips, golf competitions, wine appreciation, to fundraising for underprivileged students, to name a few – to reach out and connect with them on their diverse interests.
Strength to Strength for Our Indian Alumni
GANO has been very meticulously tracking movements of past students from India who have returned to their roots. Some striking graduates that come to mind are Amitava Saha (APEX-E MBA 2010), Global Head of Data Quality and Integration at Novartis Pharma; Manish Choudhary (UCLA-NUS MBA 2009), Vice President and Managing Director of Pitney Bowes Business Insight, India; and Dr Dev Taneja (MBA 2008), Visiting Faculty for “Strategy in Healthcare” at Institute of Technology and Management, and at Mahatma Gandhi Mission University of Healthcare Sciences. GANO creates a platform for them and their fellow alumni to reconnect back home.
During the first couple of years, GANO’s primary objective was to understand the Indian business environment. So when the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Tata Management Training Centre jointly hosted the annual International Business Fellowship (IBF) Program back in 2008 with a focus on India, GANO rode on the platform and was rewarded with a deeper knowledge of India’s economic and business scenarios as well as cultural and social trends – knowledge that GANO wasted no time in putting to purposeful use. For, despite being established only in April 2007, GANO had already visited three Indian cities to introduce itself to its alumni base there by the end of that same year. The three cities were Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore.
The following year, formal gatherings were organized in Mumbai and New Delhi. These gave alumni opportunities to get to know one another, and even meet with two representatives from IE Singapore. The Mumbai event, in particular, was scheduled to coincide with the APEX EMBA program segment, thereby providing the current EMBA participants the opportunity to meet their predecessors there.
In 2009, the momentum increased with GANO organizing alumni gatherings in five Indian cities – Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi. With a headstart in strengthening alumni community in Mumbai and Delhi – this being GANO’s third visit to these cities – alumni representatives Abishek Nigam (MBA 2008) and Abjayjit Sinha (MBA 2008) presented to GANO their ideas on establishing of Alumni Chapters in New Delhi and Mumbai respectively. This was the beginnings of the fruits of GANO’s efforts as the alumni in India began to come to life as a community.
In February 2010, alumni themselves hosted an event in Bangalore for fellow alumni. The event feature Mr R Chandramouli, President of Sales and Marketing, sharing his success story of Reva Electric Car and how he tackled real-world problems in marketing the avant-garde product. Every participant was even offered to test drive the head-turning set of wheels at the end of the session. Current participants of the UCLA-NUS EMBA program, who were visiting the city at the time, were invited to the event. The turnout of 25 alumni included some who flew in from other cities. What an amazing show of alumni community support and identity it was!
Riding on the highs of that first alumni-organized event, another in Bangalore was organized in July 2010 which attracted a turnout of 16 alumni. Our alumni in Bangalore were now beginning to take baby steps towards organizing more activities on their own, along with plans to set up a Bangalore Alumni Chapter.
Concurrent to those alumni movements in 2010, GANO stepped up its activities in India, organizing alumni gatherings in other Indian cities – Chennai in July, Mumbai in November and New Delhi in November – all of which showing increased attendance.
In February 2011, the Indian alumni network, supported by GANO, organized an event on “Indian Leadership in the 21st Century” in Bangalore. Alumni from Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai came together in one committee to make the event happen. Over the preceding months they overcame the barrier of distance and worked at bringing together senior alumni to form the event’s Alumni Discussion Panel. They even brought in Mr Vikram Kirloskar, Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motors, as invited Industry Speaker who spoke about the Toyota Group’s challenges and successes in establishing business tie-ups. Including current participants of the UCLA-NUS EMBA program who were in Bangalore, the event saw a total attendance of 76.
Alumni who could not make it to the event did not miss out on networking with fellow alumni. For back-to-back with the Leadership event, two other alumni gatherings were organized in New Delhi and Hyderabad.
Besides knowledge-sharing, our alumni in India have also organized corporate trips. One such occasion was the visit to Fortune 500 company, Pitney Bowes, arranged by alumnus Manish Choudhary (UCLA-NUS MBA 2010), the company’s Managing Director India.
NUS Runs in Every Vein
GANO is actively engaging and empowering its Indian network to identify contact leaders who can work the ground in rallying and connecting their fellow alumni. Contact points are the voice of “brand NUS”. They also become a reliable source for alumni who travel to India for business or pleasure. Presently, the key drivers in the forefront are Abhishek Nigam (MBA 2008) in New Delhi, Abjayjit Sinha (MBA 2008) in Mumbai, Keerthi Aruvela (MBA 2008) in Chennai, Abhinav Girdhar (MBA 2007) in Hyderabad, and Rahul Tadimalla (MBA 2007) and Vamsi Reddy (MBA 2008) in Bangalore. Alumni Chapters open up even greater avenues.
Alumni in India have shown tremendous enthusiasm. Since 2008, attendance at reunions has gone up from 7 to 22 in Mumbai, 10 to 16 in Bangalore, and 10 to 24 in New Delhi. From simple tête-à-tête about school days to discussing vision 2021 in India, this committed bunch has set the ball rolling over kebabs and spirits. In year 2010, two alumni travelled to both New Delhi and Mumbai on consecutive days in the spirit of the reunions. Among those who attended the Mumbai event, many came from the outskirts of the city. For the two Bangalore event in 2011 – the Reva Electric Company corporate talk and the Indian Leadership event – some folks even travelled from as far as Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. Even the Chennai get-together had alumni Sudarshan Rao (Grad Dip 2011) and Vamsi Reddy (MBA 2008) specially come in from Bangalore.
Indian alumni have also proactively handled groundwork at these events. Ex-NUS fellow-mates like Neha Singla (MBA 2010) and Puja Bhargava (MBA 2008) coordinated logistics and infrastructure at reunion dinners held in New Delhi and Mumbai respectively. Alumni Srinivas Kishore (MBA 2007) was lauded for not only flying in from Chennai for the 2011 Bangalore reunion, but also reaching early to provide handy assistance at the event. Hence, commitment is definitely there.
Indeed, the blood of NUS runs in the veins of every alumni!
Uniting the NUS Spirit
Our Indian alumni community is keen to stay connected. Bringing people together means bringing ideas together. However, with the vast complex infrastructure and alumni scattered around the country, the task is easier said than done. Hamidah Puteh, a Manager of GANO, encourages our alumni in India to keep in touch with the School and the rest of our alumni community by providing GANO with their latest contact information and location. Progressively, the alumni events in India should be expanded to include not just visiting faculty members and EMBA participants, but also key corporate contacts and industry leaders to make the networking experience worth every effort.
Our alumni in India had kept in regular contact with Professor Kulwant Singh, Deputy Dean and Professor Nitin Pangarkar, Academic Director, MBA program, and Professor Trichy Krishnan, active initiators in keeping Indian alumni at the helm of involvement. These faculty members have been supportive of GANO’s efforts by informing the office of their travel plans to India, so that alumni events may be coordinated to coincide with their visits. Their sheer presence at alumni events always make the occasions delightful. At a Bangalore reunion, Professor Trichy Krishnan also attended a similar gathering in Chennai while on vacation and shared invaluable knowledge on business ideas with our enteprising ex-students.
Taking steps further, GANO encourages alumni to update their online profile on BizAlum portal so as to be searchable by fellow alumni. Dedicated links to Chennai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai are up and running on Facebook. With the new and improved integrated media platform, being out-of-touch is virtually impossible.
Owing to the growing interest in India’s business climate, it will be rewarding for India alumni to take advantage of the boom-time and share knowledge, opportunities and NUS connections to greater heights.
Let the spirit of staying connected continue.