It was an evening of glitz, glamour and good cheer as all five batches of graduating students stepped out in style at Grand Copthorne Waterfront on the evening of 6 July 2012.
The celebratory dinner was spread over three floors of the hotel in five event rooms, one for each batch: BBA, MBA & PhD, APEX-E MBA, APEX-C MBA and UCLA-NUS MBA.
For our new alumni, it was a great chance to catch up with classmates and find out how they have progressed, and to celebrate their graduation day together before they go their separate ways and embark on new paths.
We caught up with a few graduates on the night and had them look back at their study experience and look ahead to their future careers. Read their experiences below:
Teo (BBA 2012)
Looking back at his BBA experience, Teo was most taken with how relevant the course was and how it prepared students for their future careers. “NUS was able to provide a lot of case studies and simulate a real-world environment, enhancing our problem solving abilities,” he recalls.
He also enjoyed the multiculturalism forged by the university’s diverse student exchange programs. “There is a wide variety to choose from. I enjoyed the diversity that included hundreds of partners (other universities) from around the world.”
Julius (BBA 2012)
Julius most enjoyed the diversity and flexibility offered in his course. “In a business education, everyone takes the same modules, but the difference is that we have the option to explore other faculties in our education.”
This Finance major likes the fact that he got to choose what he wanted to study: “I took sociology modules, which I really enjoyed. You get exposure to everything at NUS, and you get the freedom to choose what you want to do.”
Darren Low (BBA 2012)
“I enjoyed my experiences interacting with people of diverse backgrounds. You get different perspectives on the same issues so it makes the education process very engaging.”
Now that the course is over, how does this Accounting major feel? “This evening gathering is like a milestone that officially marks the moment when a student becomes someone who is actively contributing to society.”
Toh Rong Yu (BBA 2012)
Toh Rong Yu has mixed emotions about coming to the end of his BBA. “It marks the end of my school life and marks the beginning of my life as a working adult. It is a very surreal feeling. I’m happy it is time to progress onto the next stage of my life, but I’m also sad at the same time. It is like I’m in limbo.”
However, Rong Yu is optimistic about his future since his studies prepared him so well. “I think there are a lot of relevant skills and knowledge that will benefit me. I think that the critical thinking skills that I learned from my studies will be my biggest asset.”
Maisy Guan (BBA 2012)
This Finance and Marketing major looks back with fondness at all parts of her course. “The modules and faculty are top notch, but the foundation modules for business and accounting were only part of the experience,” she says. The practical experiences were the icing on the cake. “Leading a team for entrepreneurship also helped me learn important skills. I feel that the practical training was very important and will benefit me in the future.”
Asked what the commencement celebration meant to me, Maisy says: “It is very significant to me. I’m from China and I have my whole family here to support me. I can still remember how good it felt to get up on that stage and receive my degree. So I am happy to be able to share this moment with friends and family as we will be going our separate ways soon.”
Nicholas Koh (BBA 2012)
Nicholas appreciated the choice he was offered on his course. “I got to take elective courses that were out of my faculty. Business is something of a support degree and I like how the elective courses helped broaden my thinking,” he says. Although the fact that he has ended his studies hasn’t quite become a reality yet. “I think it hasn’t quite hit me yet. This evening is a symbolic ceremony that marks the fact that you are on the next phase of your life.”
Priscilla Koh Mei Ling (BBA 2012)
For some of our students, making the move on to working life is done with reluctance yet a sense of excitement. “It is quite sad that I’ll be leaving NUS. It hasn’t sunk in that I’ve just graduated. Even though I’ll be leaving, I feel like a part of me is still with NUS.”
Still, this Marketing and Management major feels well prepared to meet the challenges ahead. “I enjoyed the experience and I liked how NUS fostered my initiative to take on the real world.”
Rafferty Uy (MBA 2012)
A software engineer by profession, Rafferty decided to enroll on the MBA course to acquire some training in a business background. Happy to have finally finished the part-time course, Rafferty plans to return to his native Philippines to put his new-found skills into practice.
“I can either use skills taught in the MBA to take over my grandfather’s business, or apply my learning to a career in other fields,” explains Rafferty. “The point is that I now have the choice to push for managerial positions outside of the IT industry.”
Rafferty aims to stay in touch with his course mates through Facebook, and returning to Singapore for major reunions is also an option.
Jude Yang (MBA 2012)
Having majored in Computer Science in his undergraduate studies, Jude worked in a Korean Telecommunications company for five years before deciding to embark on his MBA. He chose NUS mainly because he wanted to focus on the Asian market. “NUS also offered the best scholarship,” he adds.
During his studies, in which he majored in Finance, Jude took on an internship with a private equity company here in Singapore and was offered a full-time position in the company upon graduation.
Vishal Narain (MBA 2012)
While Vishal values the learning he garnered from the MBA course, he recognizes that it is a journey that transforms. “The person you become is more important than what it is you study,” he explains.
Vishal gained a lot through soft skills development such as presentation and networking skills, which he knows will stand him in good stead in his future career. The contacts he has made on the course and the multi-cultural experience, he knows, will also serve him well as they have opened him up to new ideas.
Guo Yanwen (MBA 2012)
Yanwen came to Singapore for his undergraduate studies at NTU following which he worked for three years in IT within the banking industry before embarking on his MBA. Majoring in finance, Yanwen hopes to make a career switch into the business side of banking. “The course gave me an understanding of the basics of finance and the networks to be able to break into banking,” he explains.
He plans to stay in Singapore to continue his career and aims to remain heavily connected to the School.
Rohit Singh (MBA 2012)
After eight years working, Rohit had begun to feel unchallenged in his role and was seeking a new career path. Enrolling on his MBA full time, majoring in Finance, gave him the chance to take a much needed sabbatical and find renewed passion. During his studies, he took up an internship with a fund management company and now holds a full-time position with the company, “I work in venture capital and am able to apply all the finance knowledge I learned in the course in my job,” he confirms.
Rohit feels he benefited greatly from the alumni network at NUS and is more than happy to give back through attendance at events and even to give talks about his experience. He plans to remain in Singapore for another three to four years before taking his work experience back to India, where he can also contribute to the growing economy.
Ma Xiaojing (MBA 2012)
After four years working in the banking industry in Beijing, Xiaojing decided to explore the possibilities of doing an MBA to further her career prospects. She selected NUS due to the strength of Singapore’s financial center.
“It was a great opportunity for me to reflect on my career and an excellent platform on which to meet people from different industries and broaden my horizons,” says Xiaojing.
Today she works for Visa as Account Manager in charge of the China market, which gives her the opportunity to travel back to China regularly to meet clients.
She is interested in building closer ties with the School’s alumni office and looks forward to attending intelligent talks by leaders in the finance industry.
Akhil Singhania (MBA S3Asia 2012)
Looking to broaden his scope in business, Akhil took on the MBA in NUS to focus on the Asia market. “It has given me a broad knowledge base in sales and marketing, operations, strategy and finance,” Akhil explains. Working for a time in Shanghai in 2010 as part of his MBA studies, Akhil was bitten by the Shanghai bug and this is where he sees himself settling for the foreseeable future.
“There are great opportunities in Shanghai,” he says, “and the region is really been driven by China, so that’s where I want to be.”
Akhil is committed to giving back to NUS for the opportunities he has been given and intends to get involved with the School’s Shanghai operations.
Jaitipa Sriparakool (NBA S3Asia 2012)
An auditor by training, Jaitipa saw the MBA as a way to advance out of her comfort zone, meet new friends and gain greater experience overseas. She selected NUS due to the economic and social stability of Singapore and proximity to her home in Thailand.
She especially feels that she has gained confidence through the course and improved in soft skills such as communication.
Handi Ajimasta (MBA 2012)
We met Handi on commencement night, a man of mixed emotions. He was elated to have finally finished his full-time MBA but at the same time sad that it had all come to an end.
An active member of the student council, Handi made many good friends at NUS and intends to stay connected to the School through alumni events and gatherings.
The MBA has taken Handi from an engineering background to management with Rocket Internet, a company that invests in innovative enterprises within the internet industry. He has already begun to apply his MBA learnings on the job.
Jocelyn Chng (APEX-E MBA 2012)
Jocelyn holds two positions, as Managing Director with Sin Hwa Dee Foodstuff Industries Pte Ltd and as Chief Executive Officer of JR Group Holdings Pte Ltd, and it can get very lonely at the top. The course gave her an opportunity to meet with like-minded professionals, share their thoughts and experiences and learn from them as a result. The experience has left her with more confidence and the skill sets needed to cope with the challenges ahead, including the expansion of her business.
Taizo Kawazoe (APEX-E MBA 2012)
For Taizo, the commencement celebration signified the start of a new journey for him. He is now able to apply into his business profound strategic thinking, a skill he learnt on the course.
He hopes to promote the course to other like-minded Japanese students as he thinks that it offers them a great opportunity.
Thomas Fjeldbonde (APEX-E MBA 2012)
The MBA gave Thomas the confidence to start his own company. The owner of newly formed Barefoot Ventures confirmed that the program helped him prepare for his career change and has helped him adjust well to the corporate world with the held of his business partners.
Dr Tang Chien Her (APEX-E MBA 2012)
A doctor by profession, Dr Tang is grateful that the course gave him a good grasp of fundamentals in business such as finance, organizational, hospital and people management. He hopes to give back to the Business School by coming back as a teacher.
Pascal Aeschilimann (APEX-E MBA 2012)
Pascal now has much to do to put into practice all the things he learnt on the program, for the experience inspired him to set up his own company.
Hearing about his course mates’ experiences boosted Pascal’s confidence and he started to believe in himself more and is now headed down a new career path. “It didn’t just happen to me. I think everyone changed on this course. They all came out beaming with pride.”
Amuldalapalli Durga Prasad (APEX-E MBA 2012)
For Durga, the commencement dinner was a great opportunity to catch up with ex-students from the program and find out how they were doing. This Deputy General Manager of Operations at ZF Wind Power Limited said that the strategic, analytical and managerial tools he picked up on the course have equipped him well for his future career.
He hopes to keep in touch with fellow alumni through the Internet and by networking with others. He is open to contributing back to the School in any way he can.
Peter Chieng (APEX-E MBA 2012)
An electrical engineer by profession, Peter enrolled in the MBA to gain greater knowledge on running the business aspects of his own company. While relieved that the course had come to an end, Peter acknowledged that it was a fantastic journey. “I learnt as much from my peers as I did from the course,” he says of getting to meet a wide range of individuals from diverse industries and backgrounds.
Shalini Gautam (APEX-E MBA 2012)
A managing consultant at HCL AXON Solutions, Shalini acknowledges that completing the MBA is all about achieving her goal and life long dream. “With 12 years of experience under my belt, I felt that I still had limited skills and I believed that this course would give me the wider perspective I needed to pursue practical aspects of the business.” The NUS APEX MBA certainly delivered and she is now ready to put all she has learned into practice.
Shalini looks forward to more alumni get-togethers so she can catch up with her peers, and is excited about making possible contributions to the School.
Matthias Giger (APEX-E MBA 2012)
Based in the Philippines, Matthias embarked on the MBA to attain a better overall strategic understanding of his business as Head of Operations at Shenker Logistics. “The APEX MBA was a perfect fit for me,” Matthias explains. “The course schedule suited me as I was able to remain stationed in the Philippines and continue my job and just travel to Singapore for two weeks a quarter to attend the course.” The program also plugged his knowledge gaps and the good reputation of the course was another deciding factor.
Bruce Argue (APEX-E MBA 2012)
Consulting Principle Group Director at Autodesk in Singapore, Bruce found the part-time structure of the program a convenient way to continue working and enhance his skills at the same time. “I liked the flexibility the program offered in terms of just having to be here for two weeks in a quarter,” he explains. “The program certainly helped me in the areas of organizational development and behavior,” he added.
Bruce is certainly interested in giving back through giving and attending talks.
Ben Savage (UCLA-NUS MBA 2012)
“This commencement marks the completion of the degree and is but a journey to a new beginning,” says the Vice President of Innovations and Advance Technology Pte Ltd, Ben Savage.
“The UCLA-NUS Executive MBA program provided me with great networking with fellow peers and has prepared me for future endeavors and challenges,” he adds.