Date: Tuesday, 30th August 2016
Time: 7.00pm to 9.30pm
Venue: University Club, Shaw Foundation Alumni House
As part of the BBA degree programme, the Bizad Leadership Development Programme (BLDP) is unique compared to other alumni-student mentoring programmes. It combines an academic part, where students have to take specific modules, and a non-academic part, where students connect with a mentor to gain real insight into the world of business. The fifth batch of BLDP mentors and mentees came together for the first time at The University Club on 30 August 2016. The evening was a chance for both mentors and mentees to engage and interact with each other in a relaxed environment, before they embark on their individual six-month journeys as confidants, advisors and friends.
Many of this year’s mentors were keen to return after their previous experiences. Maurice Tan, a dedicated mentor for four years, described the experience as, “mutually beneficial, and an opportunity to learn more about the millennial generation,” while his new mentee, Marshall Too, expressed how much he is looking forward to seeing things from a new perspective: “You can’t get this one-to-one time through an internship.”
Similarly, Teo Lay Sie has been a mentor since the programme’s initiation in 2012. She spoke passionately about encouraging female students to challenge themselves in their career: “As a woman, you realise there are a lot of challenges in business. I want to help make it easier for the women who come afterwards. We have such a huge pool of talent, and we should look for more diversity in senior positions.” She also believes the mentorship is about the journey, not just the destination: “I’ve seen mentees get married. I’ve gone through life with them. I’m energised by their ongoing enthusiasm, and I think it’s so important to give back.”
When Bernard Ngiam reflected on his mentoring experiences, he described them as, “interesting, inspiring and meaningful,” emphasising just how much mentoring means to him as an NUS Business School graduate himself. He believes an in-depth understanding of the mentee is important in order to give advice in the right context, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s worth sacrificing some spare time to help them move forward in life: “if that means one less round of golf, it’s worth it!”
Reaffirming the benefits of the m entorship programme, mentees Looi Cheong Loong and Glen Lim both revealed how excited they were to be a part of it. Glen Lim said, “It’s a real privilege. We learn hard skills at school, but we need our mentor to teach us interpersonal skills,” while Looi Cheong Loong agreed, “It’s the chance to connect to a huge wealth of information and break out of the student mindset into the real world.” Many of the mentees also discussed how much they would like to give back to the school as a mentor one day. Li Yaoshen exclaimed, “It would be an honour to be asked – it means I will have been successful!”
As mentors and mentees dined together, Prof Ravi Chandran (Asst Dean, Undergraduate Studies) introduced the history and aims of the BLDP in his opening speech. Detailing the continual evolution of the BBA course, Prof Ravi spoke of exciting opportunities to learn outside campus, including the new entrepreneurship exchange programme. Thanks to the generous support of the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, this programme allowed the 2016 batch of BLDP students to join other students from Indian School of Business and TsingHua University on study trips to Hyderabad and Beijing to learn about entrepreneurship and leadership. Our students had the opportunity to exercise their leadership skills when they hosted the group in Singapore, as well as through group projects and discussions. Prof Ravi encouraged all of the students to grab these kind of opportunities when they arise.
GANO Director, Ng Pheck Choo, introduced the mentors and welcomed the new mentors who have just joined the programme – Kelvin Tan, a BBA and MBA graduate, and Elizabeth Eu, a professional executive coach. Two of the previous student mentees who benefitted from the BLDP last year were then invited to share their insights and experience.
Lionel Tan Meng Li described his mentorship as a humbling experience, which ultimately challenged his behavioural preferences and thinking approach. Disclosing the most valuable lesson that he learned from his mentor, he stated: “Challenge your assumptions. I was considering four key career paths, but it’s not necessarily true that they are the only ones for me. Never judge anyone by their title.” Chua Zong Xian then took to the stage, encouraging new students to be open to the mentorship. He advised all students to keep a record of their experience, so they can still learn valuable life lessons weeks, months or years down the line.
Koh Eh Beng, the Associate Director of Student Experience, advised the students, “Always appreciate who you are and where you’re going, and you will become the business leaders of tomorrow.”