Staying up to date at NUSBSA-CPA Australia CPE Talk on Mergers & Acquisitions

Date: Tuesday, 7 June 2016
Time: 6.45pm to 9.30pm
Venue: CPA Australia, One Raffles Place

Event Eflyer | Photo Gallery

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More than 40 alumni and their guests gathered at CPA Australia to attend the NUSBSA Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Talk on Mergers and Acquisitions on 7 June 2016. Organised in collaboration with CPA Australia, the event served as a platform for alumni to exchange knowledge and gain invaluable insights into accountanting related topics.

“We are constantly looking for ways to engage our alumni while keeping them up to date on the latest trends,” explains NUSBSA Vice President, Chua Hung Meng (BBA, 1981). “That’s why we focus on topics that are relevant and current.” And who better to introduce the night’s theme than the former Managing Director of the Private Equity Funds Investment Unit of Temasek Holdings, Mr Kelvin Tan (BAcc 1987/MBA 1997). A member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, Mr Tan has had more than 25 years of professional and management experience under his belt.

NUS 070616-0038NUS 070616-0040NUS 070616-0035Loh Lai Ping (BAcc, 1987), who attended the session to keep up to date with the accounting industry, was pleasantly surprised by how much she learnt. “I feel that the talk is very industry-oriented and the topic is relevant to the sector,” she said, “The accountancy field is very dynamic, and I’m glad I learnt something new.” Charlene Kwok Kar Wai (BBA, 1997), a regular at CPE talks, mirrored her sentiments. “I look forward to sessions like these as the topics covered are often relevant to the nature of my work,” she says. “And I leave with a much better and deeper understanding of the topic.”

Despite the heavy subject, Mr Tan kept the audience engaged with his personal anecdotes and real-life examples to communicate concepts so that they remained relevant, but relatable.

Semi-retired accountant Sharon Kwek (BAcc, 1973) gained invaluable insights on the latest news in the financial sector. “I still hold investments in SGX-listed companies and I wanted to keep up to date,” she said, “At the same time, I was also hoping to gain added knowledge and insights from our speaker, especially for future investments I want to make.”

For Winston Yeo (BAcc, 1986), what was intended to be another learning session turned out to be much more for him. “I came here because I was interested in the topic and wanted to find out more,” he said, “So imagine my surprise when I found my batch mates attending the same talk!”

Looking at the fruitful experiences and positive feedback from the alumni, we are already looking forward to the next CPE event.

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Celebrating the spirit of giving – the APEX MBA way

APEX Photo

With the end of the final semester fast approaching and graduation looming, the class of APEX MBA English 23 was busy completing their final assignments and projects. But even as they were making preparations for the future, they were determined not to lose their connection with their soon-to-be alma mater. It was this desire to give back to the School and make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate that spurred them on to raise funds for financially needy NUS Business School students. Their goal? To raise enough funds to have the bursary credited to their cohort. Their efforts paid off! They raised a total of $27,276 and successfully created the APEX-E-23 Bursary.

This is the second time that an APEX MBA English class is having a bursary named after it. The inaugural APEX MBA-class-supported bursary fund began with the 22nd cohort last year, and was the brainchild of alumna Alicia Choo (APEX MBA English 2014) who spearheaded the fundraising efforts. “We had a very strong kinship,” she said of her cohort. “I’ve truly enjoyed our shared past so what better way to create a shared future than by having the class coming back to reconnect and raise funds for a bursary that will live on in perpetuity.” It was this same sense of belonging that inspired the entire cohort to contribute and raise a total of $161,393 last year.

Inspired by the previous cohort, the class of APEX E-23 was determined to follow in their seniors’ footsteps. “It felt good hearing about how the funds have helped needy students and I feel fortunate to be able to contribute to such a meaningful cause,” said Soh Sze Wei, one of the donors. Having been a bursary recipient himself, he viewed the fundraising efforts as a prime way of giving back. Fellow donor Fadjar Linawati agreed. “Through the bursary, we can play an active role in contributing to the School and give others the chance to experience the same quality education and opportunities that we did,” she said.

Echoing similar sentiments was Alice Seow. As an educator herself, this issue is something that’s close to her heart. “No one should be denied an education due to financial difficulties,” she said. “I’m happy with the amount that we raised and I hope that future batches can raise even more.” Nevertheless, every little bit counts. “Education builds future prospects and even the smallest contribution can make a difference in the lives of future generations,” said Tan Hong Meng. He urged everyone to come forward and contribute, adding, “Practising generosity in your daily life is contagious so you will definitely be inspiring others by example.”

It is evident that the spirit of giving back has gone beyond the 22nd cohort – a fact that Alicia finds enormous pleasure in. She continues to return to the School every year to select a new champion for the fundraising efforts. Her current goal: to raise $250,000 in funds and create an APEX bursary. She is already working closely with fellow alumni and veteran fundraisers Yeo Keng Joon (MBA 1985) and Seah Cheng San (MBA 1993) and looking to invite past cohorts – all 21 of them – to come on board and make this goal a reality. “Giving back is an integral part of the leadership fabric,” she commented. “I hope that, over time, our APEX cohorts will be known as ‘leaders who care, investing in future generations’.”

Cyberloafing: Cost or benefit?


In today’s evolving business world, the advance of technology has brought about many new workplace additions that weren’t commonplace 10-15 years ago. Now seen as workplace necessities, the Internet, personal computers and mobile devices are now blurring the line between home and work. As a business leader and mentor, distinguishing whether employees’ surfing online during work is a “cost” or a “benefit” may be harder than you think.

When your mentee goes to his/her first job interview after receiving their hard-earned degree, you’ll probably advise them not to ask questions about salary, benefits and when they “start.” However, one question that often goes unasked is: “What is your policy on employee Internet usage?”

While the policy varies from job to job, country to country, it is a sure bet that this issue will directly affect work efficiency. Exactly how it affects productivity is what Associate Professor Vivien Lim of the NUS Business School is trying to uncover in her study.

A common occurrence in many jobs
Professor Lim describes cyberloafing as “the act of employees using their companies’ Internet access for personal purposes during work hours.” According to the Professor, when employees are bored or stressed from their daily work, they will go online to “escape” for a few minutes before concentrating on work again.

Defying traditional wisdom on such “wasteful” activity, cyberloafing can actually be a workplace benefit, as the occasional online break reduces stress. As Trevor Tan, an editor at a publishing firm and cyberloafing regular, will relate: “I think it’s fine to use the Internet at work for personal stuff as long as you are disciplined and discreet enough to not let it disrupt your work.”

The study
Professor Lim and PhD student Don Chen conducted a study to evaluate the benefits of cyberloafing by giving a group of undergraduates the menial task of highlighting the letter “e” within a text. Upon completion, they were divided into three separate groups. One group was given another tedious task to complete, the second was instructed to do whatever they wanted as long as they weren’t surfing the Web and the last was allowed to go online.

The results concluded that the last group was the most productive by a significant margin. They also displayed higher levels of mental awareness and engagement than the other groups. These findings challenge the traditional belief that “disruptive” activity like surfing the Internet hurts work efficiency. Affirming the results of this study is Mark Lim, a manager in a communications agency, who relates that in addition to providing a welcome break, cyberloafing “freshens up the mind and the creative processes.”

A prevalent activity
While it is a prevalent activity within many Singaporean workplaces and offers some cognitive benefits, excessive cyberloafing will deservingly earn the wrath of management who see it as a distraction. As Mark Lim cautions: “Cyberloafing is OK as long as the user knows how to limit himself and does not use the Internet to the detriment of their workload.”

Some traditional employers view cyberloafing as a problem, as hours are lost weekly due to non-work related surfing, or they are fearful of the company’s network being affected by viruses. However, a more restrictive workplace may have a detrimental effect on workers. According to Professor Lim, blanket bans or the use of Internet monitoring systems are counterproductive. Instead, adopting an “acceptable use” policy gives employees the power to “self-police” their activity so that they still utilize the Internet on breaks.

So how can business leaders and mentors ensure that workplace efficiency will remain unaffected by rampant cyberloafing? “If you are afraid that employees might be wasting time at work, utilize more performance-based rewards and set deadlines, but give them freedom on how to use their time,” explains Professor Lim.

The gray area surrounding cyberloafing
Regrettably, the reason why cyberloafing is so frowned upon by some organizations is that some employees do abuse their Internet surfing privileges. According to Professor Lim, the intention is to exact revenge on their employer over feelings of being underappreciated, underpaid or overworked.

However, many employees feel that their cyberloafing is justified due to the number of hours they work weekly, which often leaves little personal time at home. With today’s technology, many employees are contactable 24/7, which tends to blend work and personal life. As business leaders and mentors, understanding this unique point is not just important to understanding the phenomena of cyberloafing, but understanding the modern employee and how he/she fits into the modern workplace.



Who’s Afraid of The F Word?


Failure is something all of us try to avoid when it comes to our personal or professional lives. The embarrassment that accompanies failure, or in worse cases, the long-term effects to a person’s self-confidence are deterrent enough for people to “play it safe” throughout their careers.

Flying under the radar and making no waves is advice that a young graduate going into the workforce would do well to follow. Or is it?

Many successful entrepreneurs and professionals, including mentors in the Bizad Leadership Development Program, have experienced and overcome failure at some point during their careers, precisely because they didn’t fly under the radar.

In their case, the willingness to experience failure despite any potential embarrassment brought about greater professional development by showing them what worked and what didn’t.

Be unafraid to innovate

Lim Li Hsien, the founder of The Society of Black Sheep exemplifies this “not afraid to fail” mentality that many successful individuals maintain. Her fearlessness in opening a boutique at Marina Bay Sands that targeted the “edgy” 35+ age group was something novel at that point, as many shops would have seen this segment as “unsafe” to target.

However, her brand was all about appealing to those 30-somethings who didn’t “play it safe” and were unafraid of risks in their fashion.

While it is a common belief that you can only succeed in business by taking risk, it also warrants being prepared to deal with the failure and setbacks that are a part of doing business. Failure can actually be a helpful indicator, as not failing will suggest that you are playing it too safe to realize the potential of your business.

“If you are afraid to fail, you’ll never succeed … you’ll just slide off into mediocrity,” advises Li Hsien.

Risk is vital to success

Any business, or individual for that matter, will remain stagnant if they are unwilling to innovate and take risks. Being afraid of failure is the same as being afraid to succeed, and that means that you will never reach your true potential.

As any of the Bizad Leadership program mentors will attest, working in a failure-friendly atmosphere celebrates failures for what they are, which are learning experiences. As Li Hsien explains: “You must do this from the most senior levels of the organizational structure all the way down … make sure that everyone understands that it is OK to fail, and that they all learn from everyone else’s trailblazing.”

This helps employees, especially the young and up-and-coming members of an organization, to see failure not as an embarrassment, but as stones paving the way towards future success.

It’s OK to admit failure

While success is always lauded above failure, every successful individual knows that success is made possible through the mistakes that happen along the way. When it comes to looking for your first job, you should keep in mind not to forget your failures!

Li Hsien’s insight into her own hiring practices highlight this idea: “When I am hiring, I look for candidates who fail once or twice a year…if they tell me that they haven’t failed, then I know that they are not stretching themselves, which means that they don’t have the drive I need…if during the interview, they can’t recall a time that they’ve failed, I know that they are not good at learning from their failures.”

Fostering a working environment where employees can discuss their failures to come up with solutions together is an important part of maintaining a “failure-friendly” culture and a habit that mentors would do well to encourage in their charges in the changing workplace.

When Does Gift-giving Become a Bribe?

When Does Gift-giving Become a Bribe?

By fact of Singapore’s geographical positioning, quite a few of our recent graduates will land lucrative jobs that require them to travel at least around the region if not internationally. And so the fast track to learning the different business cultures and norms begins. One area mired in possible pitfalls is the issue of gift-giving.

In many countries, particularly in Asia, gift-giving is an essential aspect of the local business culture, and in some places a vital part of the process of meeting potential business partners.

Some business travelers, for example, have been told to present small gifts to personal assistants of business prospects just to seek an audience with their bosses. In others, the presentation of a suitable gift is a key part of the process of greasing the wheels and ultimately sealing the deal.

The situation becomes even more complex when it comes to the presentation of the gift. Should it be handed over in a prominent and ceremonial fashion? Or should the exchange be more discreet and subtle?

For many business travelers, however, the biggest dilemma is this: When does gift-giving cross the line and become out-and-out bribery?

Know the rules of the game

There are explicit rules covering and regulating gift and/or favor exchanges when building up and maintaining relationships in business transactions in countries like Singapore, but executives need to be aware that there are many countries that have no such clearly defined rules.

Instead such rules are implicit and cannot be coded or written down, because the enactment, explanation and exercise of these rules depends on local circumstances. These include the level of familiarity between the parties involved, the rank of the local partner in the hierarchy, local customs and culture, as well as local laws and political institutions.

Furthermore, the local circumstances can be idiosyncratic and specific, especially in large countries such as China, India or Russia, which feature a broad variety of different local cultures and values.

Facing these uncertainties and complexities, it is important to understand that countries that have clear and explicit regulations governing social interactions in business transactions are not necessarily the norm.Such rules and cultures of corporate governance and transparency often do not exist in many markets, especially those in emerging economies.

A conservative, gradual and risk-averse approach may be the best path to follow in managing these social relationships due to their local and idiosyncratic nature. One way to start, for example, might be with a nominal gift or a business lunch rather than an expensive present or an extravagant banquet.

Misunderstanding or misuse of the rules of the game can lead to serious consequences, such as legal prosecution or confiscation of investment assets. Until we see corporate governance practices gaining a stronger foothold in such countries, and until the risk of gift-giving becoming bribery no longer exists, we will have to continue to struggle to understand these implicit and tacit rules.

Adapted from ThinkBusiness.

Are Leaders Born?

Now that the 2012 batch of NUS Business School have graduated and are ready to implement the business studies theories learned as they embark on their careers (some straight into management roles), many may start to wonder whether they have the prerequisite skills to inspire and lead people.

Is leadership a skill that is innate in our personalities? Or can it be taught, and nurtured with experience? That’s what NUS Business School’s Department of Management and Organisation was determined to find out as it undertook a study that probed into that very question. The findings revealed that the answer was “Yes” – to both questions.

The Department’s studies have found clear evidence that biology does in fact have a significant impact on leadership, but so does the environment, and they work in tandem with each other.

When leadership is innate

Firstly, the research investigated a number of biological factors and their influence on the emergence of leaders as well as some of the managerial processes involved in the execution of leadership. The researchers compared the similarity of identical twins to the similarity of fraternal twins on measures of leadership.

Identical twins share 100 percent of their genes, while fraternal twins share only 50 percent on average of their genes. Both types of twin pairs (identical and fraternal) were raised in the same families. Thus, each twin pair was exposed to the same or “common” environments such as the same parents, same background, same age groups, and same income levels, etc. Therefore, it can be assumed to a large extent that the environments in which the twins were raised were held constant or controlled.

The first study involved a male sample of 238 of the two types of twins. They were all asked to indicate the number and kinds of leadership roles they held both in work or non-work settings. The research team developed a metric that reflected the level of leadership role each individual held (if any) – the higher the score, the higher the leadership role (e.g. CEO, director, manager, supervisor, etc.).  This was labeled “leadership role occupancy”, reflecting the notion that it was a threshold variable in terms of what most people would consider an indication of a leader, i.e. formal leadership positions in organizations. The sample included individuals who held no positions, as well as those who held positions ranging from work group leader to president of an organization.

The results showed that the identical twins were far more similar in terms of whether they held positions of leadership compared to the similarity observed in the fraternal twins. Analyses also showed that the index of heritability was .31 – in other words that 31 percent of the differences among the individuals holding leadership positions could be accounted for by genetics.

The studies were replicated with a sample of 392 female identical and fraternal twins with the same results – 32% of the variability in leadership role occupancy was associated with the genetic makeup of these twins.

Environmental influence

However, the following study revealed that while genetics are a factor, nurture also plays an important role. The study involved exploring possible interactions between environmental and genetic factors under the notion that individuals with certain genetic predispositions will be affected more by some environments than others in terms of whether they become leaders. In this case, using the same male twins as in the first study, the researchers looked at whether or not genetic influence was more or less powerful under difficult and stressful conditions growing up. The findings showed that the role of genetics was a stronger influence when individuals experienced difficult childhood environments.

Research into this field is in its infancy and while identification of a leadership gene may be an eventual result a long way down the road, the pathways are incredibly complex. One day, information may allow organizations to identify individuals who may benefit from certain developmental interventions or fast track programs.

But for now, you’ll know yourself whether you have a natural ability to lead or whether you are going to need practice to hone your leadership skills.

Adapted from ThinkBusiness.

Think Business

Think Business

In this Alumni newsletter, we always try and bring you some articles that provide food for thought. We hope we’ve caused pause for thought on our articles on leadership genetics and on avoiding bribery charges overseas. We often draw inspiration for such articles from our sister site, Think Business, the NUS Business School’s online portal for current business insights. This site gives our students and alumni access to some of the best business knowledge from the School. It is a free service and your entry point to learn and pick up ideas to help your career or business grow.

The content on ThinkBusiness is updated on a monthly basis, and includes video and text reports on visiting speakers to the School, as well as the latest faculty research and other insights and comments on business issues of the day.

As the site develops, it hopes to cover themes important to today’s business leaders and entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on business in Asia. You’ll also find articles and features on topical business matters. So do explore ThinkBusiness for yourself and discovery some interesting tips to benefit your business.

Adapted from ThinkBusiness.


Welcome Message form GANO Director

Dear Alumni,

Welcome to our commencement issue. Commencement is a joyous time for all of us in NUS as we celebrate the achievements of our recent graduates and share in their joy. The Commencement Dinner was an evening of celebration for us all. We spoke to some of you about your NUS journey and present these in our feature story.

As a recent graduate, Commencement is but one of many significant milestones in your life as you chase your dreams and pursue your aspirations as young working adults, taking new challenges in your stride. This journey also takes you into our big alumni family, which today numbers more than 30,000 business school graduates in the global marketplace.

Wherever your dreams may take you, GANO provides a platform for you to stay connected and create networking opportunities through activities and events and we hope to imbue in our alumni a strong bond to their alma mater and to create a vibrant, supportive and cohesive community both within Singapore and around the world.

We would like to welcome Mr Simon Phua, our new President for the NUS Business School Alumni Association, and wish him well as he takes up his leadership position for the next two years. Please do give him your support.

Along with our usual fixtures, we also feature several other alumni who are entering into a new stage in their lives or achieving important firsts. Lee Junxian  returns to NUS full-time this year to embark on his MBA, Marcus Lim  launches his first photography exhibition, and Subramaniam  returns to our shores to showcase the play Tru for the first time in Singapore.

We hope you enjoy reading this new-look issue of NUS BizAlum. Do let us know if you have any contributions, or suggestions on what you would like to see included in upcoming issues. With best regards,

Ng Pheck Choo

Big Opportunities for a Strong Alumni Community

As 2011 draws to a close and 2012 dawns, we take a fresh look at how the NUS Business School’s Global Alumni Network Office grows a vibrant alumni community across professions and generations, near and far.

With over 33,000 alumni spanning five continents and 42 cities – and still growing – maintaining a sense of community is an on-going challenge. Looking back, the NUS Business School’s Global Alumni Network Office (GANO) offers a dynamic calender of events and activities annually where members have the opportunity to engage one another professionally as well as to enjoy themselves in a myriad of activities.

Big on Business

Since the launch of GANO four years ago, we have witnesses and exponential growth in numbers. In partnership with our alumni associations, we now have many signature events to call our own. These are CEO Unplugged which had its 20th run in March 2011, NUSBSA CEO Breakfast Talks and Mandarin Management Forums. The recent Zheng He’s Art of Collaboration Forum welcomed an overwhelming 300 participants.

Ambitious and highly-successful events overseas include the inaugural Global Alumni Summit in Bali in November 2010 and, more recently, the forum on “Indian Leadership in the 21st Century” in Bangalore in February 2011. The latter provided the impetus for subsequent alumni gatherings in New Delhi and Hyderabad within the same week – fulfilling GANO’s mission of building relationships with alumni.

Meeting the Hearts and Minds

At these large-scale events, our alumni share insight and interact with individuals who helm major local or multinational corporations. GANO has had the privilege of hosting speakers such as Mr Allen Lew, Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Telecommunications Limited, who continues to lead the transformation of SingTel Singapore into a leading multimedia and info-communications technology solutions provider (SAS-NUSBSA CEO Breakfast Talk, 20 Oct 2011); and Mr Lee Tze Yang, Chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore, previous co-chair of the Water Focus Group for the Singapore Green Plan 2010, member of the Centre for Liveable Cities advisory board, and an advisor for environmental management on the NUS Board of Trustees (SAS-NUSBSA CEO Breakfast Talk: Meeting Future Energy Needs, 15 Apr 2011).

One participant from New Delhi summed things up beautifully. Said Nitin Girotra (MBA 2007), “It was really fantastic to have diverse and eminent speakers up close, sharing topics ranging from arts to mythology.”

Big on Fun

However, it is not all just business. The annual NUS Business School Golf Reunion Challenge is an event that attracts alumni from afar. Mr Yam Ah Mee (MBA 1991), who was at the 2011 tournament at the Singapore Island Country Club, said, “It’s wonderful to attend alumni games where everyone from different committees can come together to relax, have fun and network with one another. It is an opportunity to renew friendships, with both local and international members of our alumni network.”

Off the beaten track for alumni is the annual Gobi Desert Challenge, a grueling 4-day trek across the Gobi Desert, featuring teams from 18 top international business schools like Tsinghua University and Peking University. Forth alumni, students and their families took part in the 2011 event. “When the Challenge ended, the team members became so close! I couldn’t help imagining what it would be like if our interpersonal relationships at work and in life were as harmonious, friendly and trustworthy. It would be fun!” shared Zhang Runbin (APEX-C MBA 2001).

Back home in Singapore, events like the Oktoberfest 2011 at Paulaner Brauhaus in Millenia Walk attracted 150 alumni and students participants who chatted over chilled beer and warm cheers; and Explore Singapore 2011 & Networking Dinner helped 134 incoming students bond with the School and their predecessors. Such events that include alumni and students allow alumni to talent-scout for their companies in an informal setting, while allowing students to widen their career opportunities.

Big on Personalization

Countless smaller-scale events are also made available to alumni who prefer a more tight-knit setting. Often initiated by alumni themselves, these gatherings are held in Singapore and overseas, and range from being corporate-focused to interest-based.

Citing our activities in China as examples, the variety offered is clear. In July 2011, the Eastern China Alumni Network Reading Club in Shanghai held its 5th workshop based on “Life”, a book that consolidated the philosophy of bestselling author Kazua Inamori. One amazing activity that looks set for an encore was the 8-day Zhang Jia Jie Trip held in October 2011. The breathtaking vertical landscape made the Avator movie set come alive for participants.

Locally, such activities range from MBA Alumni-NUS Movie Screening in November 2011, to NUSBSA Members’ Night 2010: Wine Appreciation, and Mandarin Alumni’s Mid-autumn Festival Celebration every September.

So, no matter where our alumni are around the world, whatever their interests may be, they are never far from the reach and support of their alma mater.

Big on Class

Even cozier still are the alumni gatherings by class or program, a mainstay of networking activities that strengthen bonds between former classmates.

Thirty-five years and still in touch. When the BBA Class of 1976 had their 35th Anniversary Reunion in March 2011, they experienced so much fun and meaning in the event that they fixed the first Friday every March as “Old Friends Day of the BBA Class of 1976”. Equally remarkable were the positive vibes when the Business Administration / Accountancy Class of 1981 aptly themed their reunion event “Friends for Life”. When they gathered at Kent Ridge in May 2011, 30 years after their graduation, it was like they had never parted.

At yet another 30th Anniversary Reunion in November 2010, Francis Yuen (BBA 1980) enthused, “This reunion dinner is like an oasis at this juncture of our journey in life. It refreshed friendship and makes us appreciate how fortunate we have been.” Alumni organizer of the event, Wong Soon Hwa (BBA 1980) said, “Thirty years is certainly a meaningful milestones. We recognize the Past. We celebrate the Present. And we welcome the Future. Together with the Alumni Office and the School, we must always keep the Bizad spirit flying high.”

Elsewhere overseas, such events are also taking place. In April 2011, the APEX-C MBA Class of 2006 reunited for a 3-day trip in Xiamen. In November 2010, gatherings in New Delhi and Mumbai were held for alumni of our MBA, S3 Asia MBA, UCLA-NUS EMBA, APEX MBA and NUS PKU IMBA programs.

Big on Tech

Perhaps more than ever before, it has become easier to stay in touch with alumni all over the world with the introduction of the BizAlum Directory in July 2011.

Our 24/7 ready-access service allows alumni who are registered users to search for fellow alumni, and to keep in contact via social networking tools like email, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. The Directory’s powerful search function allows users to filter contacts by company, industry, job function and city. This has made it easier for our alumni community to tap into our vast international network, to share knowledge and resources as well as to expand their business and career opportunities.

The Directory also provides alumni with an effective means to organize reunions, or to give back to NUS Business School by contributions or by volunteering to organize events.

This effort to better link up alumni has received the thumbs-up from several members of the alumni community. Seah Kwee Yong (Dip BA 1985), winner of an iPad in the August 2011 BizAlum Directory registration promotion, said, “In the private sector, it is better to be listed as it is a form of advertising. So I thought I would make use of the opportunity provided by this Directory. For me, it has been great for finding people from the same batch, to know how they are doing.”

Time to Play

One impromptu comment by an alumnus says it all about GANO’s alumni relations-building efforts. Enthusiastically shared by Kunal Sinha (MBA 2008) at his class reunion dinner in August 2011, “The last three years since I left school, it’s been unbelievable. We’re living in unprecedented times; things have been uncertain at times, things have been fruitful at times, but NUS has done good things for me. I’m happy where I am right now. So, time to play.”

Indeed, it’s time to play … the world in your oyster!
So, see you around at our alumni events. And do continue to explore the BizAlum Directory!

GANOrmous fete

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.

E-Flyer | Photo Gallery



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.

Spontaneous Growth

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.

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