Eastern China Alumni Network Dinner in Shanghai


Date: 17 November 2007

Time: 7pm

Venue: JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai


image3The Eastern China Alumni Network (ECAN) Dinner in Shanghai was held on 17 November 2007, at JW Marriott Hotel, Shanghai. Organized by NUS Business School, the event saw more than 100 alumni from Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang take part in the evening’s program. Joining them were about 40 current UCLA-NUS EMBA students who were doing their segment in Shanghai.

A light-hearted affair, the buffet-styled dinner kicked off with an opening speech by Director of GANO, Mr Aw Beng Teck, who spoke about the diversity of the NUS alumni community and the importance of the alumni network. The NUS team from Singapore also included Director of Graduate Studies, Mr Lim Yue Wen; Academic Director of UCLA-NUS EMBA, Associate Professor Jochen Wirtz, and Academic Director of APEX-C MBA, Associate Professor Chen Renbao.

Of special mention at the dinner were alumni Mr Francis Yuen (BBA Hons 1981, MBA 1992), President, Trane Asia; Mr Wong Soon Hwa (BBA 1980), Vice President & General Manager, Asia & Japan, Hertz International, and Ms Janet Ang (BBA 1982), Vice President, Global Desktop Business Unit, Lenovo.

The dinner served as an excellent opportunity for candidates of the ECAN Executive Committee to introduce themselves and share their interests in serving the chapter. Voting was done on-line in December, resulting in an Executive Committee of nine elected and nine co-opted directors.

The dinner also allowed Mr Calvin Yan, Director of the NUS Business School Shanghai Office, to share on the latest developments of the school’s China alumni network, including the formation of the Eastern China Network, which joins the existing Northern and Southern China networks.

“This gathering is a really good event to link NUS and its alumni in Eastern China. I met many familiar faces, as well as made some new friends,” said Senior Manager of China Program, Smith School of Business, Mr Zheng Xu (MBA 1995).

“It was an honor to witness the launch of Eastern China Alumni network of NUS Business School. The school not only brought us knowledge in the past, but also helps us to build up an international community in China now.”

Another alumnus, Managing Director-Greater China, Microsoft Corporation, Mr Maurice Tan (BBA 1991) said, “I am very pleased to learn that we now have an Alumni Chapter in Shanghai. It was great to see old friends again as well as forge new friendship with fellow alumni from various industries. The diverse nationalities of alumni represented in the room speak of the expanding scope and attraction of the school to beyond Singapore and Asia.”

Ending the dinner on a high note, one lucky guest walked away with the top prize of a car rental, with the kind sponsorship of Hertz International (China) and arrangements made by Mr Wong.



“This gathering is a really good event to link NUS and its alumni in Eastern China. I met many familiar faces, as well as made some new friends.”

~ Mr Zheng Xu (MBA 1995)

Dean’s Evening in Jakarta


image1Date: 3 November 2007

Time: 3:30pm

Venue: Ceria (Poolside) Shangri-La Jakarta


The Dean’s Evening in Jakarta saw a gathering image2of more than 120 alumni, including those from Surabaya, Singapore (Mandarin and NUSBSA) and guests from Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH). It was held on 3 November 2007 at Shangri-la Jakarta, Indonesia.

The event, organized by GANO together with NUS Business School Mandarin Alumni Jakarta Chapter, also saw members from the English alumni chapter.

Gracing the event was former Dean of NUS Business School, Professor Christopher Earley, who flew to Jakarta specially to thank the alumni for their strong and continual support.

Alumna of the Executive Education program, Ms Nancy Widjaja, remarked, “It’s wonderful to have everyone gathered together and have a good time. I’m glad Dean Earley is here to join us too.”

An evening made possible by the strong support of the alumni present at the evening, Director of GANO, Mr Aw Beng Teck reiterated GANO’s support for such events.

“We are happy to enjoy the strong support from the alumni here in Jakarta and would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge their support. My team and I are looking forward to many more opportunities to network with the local alumni and would be happy to render our assistance in helping build alumni communities here and beyond.”



Head Honchos Helm Eastern China Alumni Network Advisory Board


The Eastern China Alumni Network (ECAN) is honored to have on its Advisory Board, several alumni helming large corporations in China to beef up the NUS Business School network in the Chinese Mainland. Among these are:


Mr Chong Siong Hin (BBA 1981, MBA 1991)

International VP Asia, Jans Sen-Cilag Asia Pacific


Mr Ian Wong (BBA 1989)

Country Executive & Managing Director

Bank of America, China


Mr Wong Soon Hwa (BBA 1980)

Vice President & General Manager

Asia & Japan, Hertz International


Mr Francis Yuen (BBA 1981, MBA 1992)

President, Trane Asia


Ms Patricia Yim (BBA 1985)

Vice President, GSBM, IBM Asia Pacific


They will be instrumental in advising and supporting ECAN in developing the School’s relations with its alumni (and vice versa), and providing linkages between the School and industry.

The Advisory Board will leverage on its reach and influence to reconnect and engage the School’s alumni in Eastern China, contributing to the growth and development of the Eastern China Alumni Network and the School.

Equally outstanding alumni also serve on the Advisory Boards of the Northern China Alumni Network (NCAN) and Southern China Alumni Network (SCAN).

They are:


Mr Du Haibo (APEX-C 2003)

Chairman, Advisory Board, NCAN

Chairman, Labor Union, China National Aviation Fuel Holding Company


Mr Xu Xinyu (APEX-C 2006)

Concurrent President, NCAN Executive Committee

Director & President, Weichai Power Company Limited


Ms Janet Ang (BBA 1982)

Vice President, Global Desktop Business Unit, Lenovo


Ms Chang Zhiying (APEX-C 2002)

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Taida Hotels Management Company


Ms Jill Lee (BBA 1985)

Senior Executive Vice President & CFO, Siemens Limited, China


Mr Liu Zhong Qiu (APEX-C 2002)

Vice President, Petrochina International Company Limited



Mr Lam Kwong Yu (APEX-C 2003)

Chairman, Advisory Board, SCAN

Chairman, Starlite Holdings Limitedd


Mr Wang Dan (APEX-C 2003)

Concurrent President, SCAN Executive Committee

Director and General Manager, China New Era Group Corporation


Mr Chen Dan (APEX-C 2001)

General Manager, Guangdong Hengxing Group Company Limited


Mr Fang Hong Bo (APEX-C 2002)

President, Guangdong Midea Group Company Limited


Mr He Ying Wei (APEX-C 2006)

Vice President, Hainan Show Group


Mr Jiang Rong Xing (APEX-C 2005)

Director General, Price Control Administration of Fujian Province


Mr Wang Li Xin (APEX-C 2006)

Senior Vice President, ECS Technology (China) Company Limited


NUS MBA Mentorship Program


Started in 2007, the NUS MBA Alumni Mentorship Program is an initiative between MBA Alumni-NUS and the NUS MBA Club. The program, which currently sees 20 alumni mentoring 40 MBA students, serves many objectives.

“One of its aims is to provide current MBA students an opportunity to interact with the alumni, so that they can benefit from the experience and insights of those in the industry,” said Mr Srikanth Sridharan, the current President of MBA Club, who is responsible for driving the program.

Other aims include building a dynamic relationship between the student community and the alumni – one that will be mutually beneficial both professionally and personally.

“I’ve gained much from the program,” remarked Mr Vamsi Reddy, a full-time MBA student graduating this year. “My mentor, Mr Mitesh Patel (MBA 2003), gave me a lot of good advice on career planning and making difficult decisions. He is like a coach to me.”

For the mentors, the program gives them an opportunity to connect with the MBA program and the school. Mr Mitesh Patel, Honorary Secretary of MBA Alumni-NUS, also mentors another student, Ms Ritu Gera. To him, the program meant more than just a link between communities.

“The greatest satisfaction is in seeing those I mentor have a sense of new learning and gain clarity. I feel good being able to make a difference to their lives.”

The program attempts to pair mentor and mentee as closely as possible in terms of matching career paths, sufficient age and experience advantage, background, and even nationality.

“This is so that both will have the best experience,” added Mr Srikanth. “So far, I believe we were able to successfully match 80 percent of the participants based on the list of criteria.”

Upon matching, the mentor and mentee would determine the frequency of the meetings, and the channels of communication. For Mr Patel, he meets his mentees once a month and communicates with them via email regularly, much to the surprise of Mr Reddy.

“I was skeptical about the program at first. I didn’t think that the mentors would have time to interact with us. Now, I’m grateful that my mentor made time to meet me one-on one,”said Mr Reddy.

The program hopes to draw more students and alumni. “I think the program is very well organized. I would certainly recommend it,” said Mr Reddy.

Interested to be part of the NUS MBA Mentorship Program? Click here


“The greatest satisfaction is in seeing those I mentor have a sense of new learning and gain clarity. I feel good being able to make a difference to their lives.”

~ Mr Mitesh Patel (MBA 2003), MBA Alumnus and Mentor


NUS Business School Northern China Alumni Network Celebrates 2008



5 January 2008


State Guest Hotels Presidential Plaza, Beijing, China


Over 80 NUS alumni from East China and Shanghai gathered at the 2008 China-Singapore Economic Outlook Forum and New Year Party in Beijing on 5 January 2008.

At the event, NUS Business School Shanghai Office Director, Mr Calvin Yan, introduced and expressed his gratitude to the Executive Committee of the Northern China Alumni Network (NCAN) for their efforts in organizing the event, which was financed by a group of alumni including NCAN Beijing President Mr Xu Xinyu, Secretary Ms Zhou Xing and Exco member Mr He Zeping.

Mr Xu and Ms Zhou, who were away on business, sent a congratulatory letter to the forum to encourage alumni to “sow the seeds” with the beginning of the new year, and nurturing them together so as to reap the rewards in time to come.

Mr He Xiangquan, Executive Chief Editor, Strategy & Management and Mr An Wei, Financing Manager of AIG-Huatai Fund Management who attended the forum as guests provided the alumni with an in-depth look at the impact of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on the nation’s future development, and the strategic plans China need to develop for the next decade.

Associate Professor Andrew Delios, Head of Business Policy at NUS Business School, the shared with the alumni pointers on “Acquisitions and the Internationalization Strategies of Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian Companies.”(Read more about A/P Delios’ presentation in BizViews)

Following the forum, the gala dinner provided a platform for alumni to network and party to celebrate the New Year.

The mix of a thought-provoking forum and dinner, said many alumni, offered them a rare opportunity to catch up with the latest business management know-how and networking with old friends at the same time.

“GANO appreciates its alumni and is committed to creating more platforms for them to form friendships and network in Singapore and abroad.”

~ Mr Aw Beng Teck, Director of GANO


BizViews – Perspectives on Business Strategy


As firms and organizations roll out their plans at the start of 2008, Interim Dean of NUS Business School, Professor Kulwant Singh, and three Alumni, Dr Peter Alsop (APEX-E MBA 2004), Project Manager, Shell EP International Ltd (Singapore Branch), Mr Henry Kwok (BBA Hons 1972), Global Partner, Haines Centre for Strategic Management and Mr Robin Speculand (APEX-E MBA 2000), CEO, Bridges Business Consultancy Int., share their perspectives on business strategy.


Business Strategy – The Game Plan


Business strategy, recalls Dr Alsop of what he had learnt as an undergraduate, “is what a firm aspires to achieve, and how it intends to do it. It is about addressing how a firm will apply its resources and competencies to provide value to its customers (current and intended) in the face of challenge from competitors, constraints in what it may do and changes to the environment in which it is operating.”

To have a business strategy means to have a “game plan or a road map that lays out action plans to attain desired goals”, as Mr Kwok puts it simply.




Adds Mr Speculand, “Strategies are created to win market share, improve operations and service, beat the competition, launch new products and leverage technology, amongst others.”

Importance of Business Strategy

In today’s competitive world, having a business strategy is important to help firms focus on their goals. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and tools such as the Balanced Scorecard help firms monitor their performance on a regular basis so that action can be taken on a timely basis to correct or adapt to the situation at hand.

“Without a business strategy, firms will basically be muddling along in a day-to-day tactical problem solving sort of way,” highlights Dr Alsop.

Business strategies, if successfully implemented, also bring about a positive environment “that’s a pleasure to be part of”, Mr Speculand adds. “When a strategy is implemented successfully, and the right results are achieved, the cobweb-like difficulties encountered along the way become distant memories.”

Having a good business strategy is fundamental in any business to tackle multi-faceted challenges posed by an environment that is increasingly characterized by more demanding, diverse and disloyal customers; competent competitors; emerging economies; greater demands on resources, competencies and innovation; and increased globalization.

“These trends increase the need for strategy to serve as the key link between an organization’s aspiration and its operations,” points out Prof Singh. Many small firms have visions that suggest they seek global leadership, reflecting the desire to aim high and the common recommendation to set stretch goals. A good strategy process and the resulting strategy will help firms establish more realistic stretch goals and offer feasible alternatives for achieving them.

Characteristics of a Good Business Strategy

A good business strategy is one that allows a firm to use its competencies to distinguish itself from its competitors. It is one that builds on strengths, reduces the risks of weaknesses, while encouraging growth to fulfill or exceed its potential.

However, formulating a good business strategy does not ensure success. As Mr Kwok rightly points out, “The formulation of the strategic plan is the easiest part. It is in the implementation and sustaining the strategic plan where many companies fail.”

“No matter how good a strategic plan is, it is useless if it suffers from the ‘S.P.O.T.S.’ Syndrome – Strategic Plan on the Top Shelf. It is only a showpiece, where nothing in it is implemented.”

A long-term study by Newcastle University, UK (1973 – 1989) showed that business success is governed more by how well strategies are implemented than how good the strategy is to begin with. Bridges Business Consultancy Int. surveyed businesses across Southeast Asia over a five-year period and found that 90 percent of strategy implementation failed to deliver desired results.

When implementing business strategy, communicating the strategy throughout the firm is important. “It has to make sense to the people throughout the firm,” Dr Alsop points out.

Keeping in mind the rapid, constantly changing and competitive business environment, business strategies also need to be robust and holistic to react to these challenges.

Translating Business Strategy to Success

Three factors that would translate a good business strategy to success are: a well-developed strategy. effective implementation and most importantly, leadership that develops and implements the strategy.

Says Prof Singh, “Many managers focus on developing strategy, and assume that their subordinates will implement that strategy. An effective leader understands that firms have only one strategy – the one that is being implemented; the strategy on the shelf is merely a distraction.”

Business strategies also have to be continually reviewed. Adds Mr Kwok, “Companies have to be ruthlessly honest and recognize very early whether the strategy is working. If it is not working, it has to quickly be decided what needs to be corrected or changed.”

Mr Speculand, in his book “Bricks to Bridges – Make Your Strategy Come Alive”, offers the Implementation Compass, a framework for implementing business strategies successfully. It comprises eight different directions companies need to focus on: People, Business Case, Communication, Measurement, Culture, Process, Reinforcement and Review.

Making the Right Moves

Running a successful business thus entails making the right moves in developing, implementing and reviewing a business strategy. It entails one to differentiate from others, not just by following, but by understanding.

Adds Dr Alsop, “If you are succeeding, try to see why. Don’t just assume that you have the Midas touch; and if you are failing, also try to see why. Stop or work out how to fix it.”

In a competitive global market, Mr Kwok feels that a better strategy is working towards a win-win collaboration. This benefits not only yourself but your competitors as well, leading to a more sustainable business model.

More importantly, results are gained by taking action. As Mr Speculand rightly sums up, “You need to walk, not just talk. Decide, don’t just reside. Act, don’t just react.”

14th CEO Unplugged


Date: 18 October 2007

Venue: NUS Business School Hon Sui Sen Auditorium

Press Release | Webcast

The CEO Unplugged series, a flagship program of NUSBSA, continued its tradition of inviting renowned leaders in the Singapore business community to share their thoughts and experiences. Fashioned in an informal talk show manner, the series has invited more than thirty of Singapore’s most prominent business leaders since its inception in August 2001.

Held on 18 October 2007 at the Hon Sui Sen Auditorium, the 14th installment saw a turn out of 250 comprising alumni, students and friends. Guest speakers were Mr Adam Khoo, Executive Chairman of Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group, and Mr Ivan Lee, CEO of Thai Express Restaurant.

Back then, Mr Khoo (BBA Hons 1999) was ranked among the top one percent of his academic achievers. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur. On what he considers key to his success, Mr Khoo advised, “Dare to dream. It may sound cliche but it is so true.”

He quickly added that knowing what you want and planning how you want to get there as equally important factors.

“In school, it is called cheating. In business, it is called market research,” Mr Khoo humorously stressed about doing due diligence. “Find something that works and improve on it. Ask yourself – How can I create a lot value to the people around me? How do I do it a bit better than the rest?”

Mr Ivan Lee, a double major NUS graduate in Philosophy and Economics, in turn, shared his views about leadership in business.

“A large part of doing business is about being a leader,” said Mr Lee. “I believe that being a leader is about putting your foot down.”

“Ego and contentment are two of the most powerful internal forces that may destroy you,” said Mr Lee in a serious tone. “You’ve got to have a strong moral grounding.”

When asked about staff retention, Mr Lee pointed out, “In order to retain people, they need to be paid well. Secondly, you need to provide them with job satisfaction and that means giving them empowerment and the respect they deserve.”

Mr Yeo Keng Joon (MBA 1985), immediate past President of NUSBSA, was inspired “to see so many young people come together to learn more about entrepreneurship.”

NUS MBA Alumni Oktoberfest 2007

Date: 12 October 2007

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Paulaner Brahaus

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“I am really happy to see the increase in the number and variety of activities in recent times. I hope to see more of such activities.”






The first Oktoberfest organized by GANO on 12 October 2007 saw a turnout of more than 80 alumni and guests. These alumni, from the MBA Alumni-NUS, an association for MBA Alumni, and NUSBSA, gathered at Paulaner Brauhaus, a German restaurant and pub. Free flow of Paulaner’s beer, soft drinks, and trays of canape were served while guests interacted freely with one another.

Throughout the night, alumni and guests caught up with old friends and made new ones. At one corner, a group of MBA 2004 graduates used the event as a perfect platform to “recruit” members for their unofficial “Texas Hold’em Poker Club”. The club, which meets regularly on Thursdays at one of the course mates’ apartment in town, was started since campus days. “There are no non-poker moments – except events like this one!” jested Mr Lim Chiew Wah (MBA 2004), who plays Head Honcho to the gathering.

At another corner, three MBA friends from the classes of 2003, 2005 and 2007 recounted how they all met at Ms Anuprita Bhomick’s (MBA 2003) apartment, Anu (as she is known by her friends), a Product Marketing Manager with Dell, invites alumni to her residence for a party every year. Mr Ryan Mbagaya (MBA 2005) reminded the group of friends how it was at one of these parties that he met friends who landed him a job at Shell.

An independent investor, Mr Allen Chang (MBA 1990) commented, “I am really happy to see the increase in the number and variety of activities in recent times. I hope to see more of such activities.”

Director of GANO, Mr Aw Beng Teck said, “Events like this allow our alumni to get together in an informal setting, have fun, make friends and bond. It’s about building a community.”

GANO Building Alumni Communities


The NUS Business School Global Alumni Network Office (or GANO) is a newly-established office set-up in April 2007 to further enhance engagement and interaction between the School and its more than 27,000 alumni.

“GANO appreciates its alumni and is committed to creating more platforms for them to form friendships and network in Singapore and abroad.”
~ Mr Aw Beng Teck, Director of GANO

The Office has been tasked to reconnect and cultivate relations with alumni, with the view of adding value to the work and lives of alumni, promoting and enhancing relationships among alumni, and involving alumni in the life and activities of the School.

At the same time, the Office acts as a conduit and catalyst for alumni to contribute to the School. This could be in the areas of branding, where alumni become the School’s brand ambassadors, or in student recruitment, internship, placements, mentoring, recruitment interviews and industry talks. Alumni do also give back financially to benefit the School and the student body.

Another important function of GANO is to provide secretariat support for the three existing Business School alumni associations, namely, the NUS Business School Alumni Association (NUSBSA), the MBA Alumni-NUS and the NUS Business School Mandarin Alumni. GANO also serves as an interface for students and alumni to meet and interact.

Led by Mr Aw Beng Teck, GANO’s team of five has since its inception been actively involved with the alumni associations, as well as with the alumni and student bodies at large. Close to 60 activities, ranging from formal ones like industry talks and seminars to informal ones like networking sessions and even outings to the movies, were organized in 2007. These activities provide networking and learning opportunities for alumni, where old friendships are renewed and new ones forged.

Working in conjunction with the Corporate Development and Communications Office, the Office supported an NUSBSA’s fund-raising initiative in July 2007. Two board members of the association, Simon Phua (BBA Hons 1976) and Peter Koh (BBA 1979) spearheaded a charity Golf Challenge that raised close to a quarter of a million dollars for the school.

GANO has also worked closely with the alumni to benefit society. It played a key role in the YMCA-NUS Business School Volunteer Service Management Program (VSMP). Members of NUSBSA are involved as facilitators and mentors in the program, which serves to build capacity in the VWO sector. GANO is currently facilitating the involvement of our alumni based in Southern China who have made a donation towards building a primary school for local residents in Jiangxi Province.

Asked about the plans for the coming year, Mr Aw envisioned a year filled with even more networking and learning opportunities. “GANO appreciates its alumni and is committed to creating more platforms for them to form friendships and network in Singapore and abroad. We look forward to seeing more of our alumni join our activities, bond and form communities that support each other in learning an din life, and making a contribution to society.

NUS Business School BBA Alumni Reunion – Classes of 2000 to 2007


image2Date: 23 November 2007

Time: 7-9pm

Venue: Forbidden City, Club Cocoon, Clarke Quay

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“Education is not about filling a pail. It is about lighting a fire.”

Speaking at the NUS Business School BBA Alumni Reunion (Classes of 2000 to 2007) on 23 November 2007, Professor Christopher Earley, then Dean of the NUS Business School, shared one of his favorite quotes from William Yates to inspire the 100 alumni present to keep the fire burning.

The event, held at Forbidden City Indochine, Clarke Quay, saw alumni and guests enjoy the company of friends over free flow of food and drinks.

“It’s a really meaningful event especially because we get to catch up with our friends and even make new ones,” said Ms Jolyn Neo (BBA 2003).

Lucky alumni also found themselves winning prizes ranging from Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) to a Samsung 19′ LCD TV through games that encouraged interaction and camaraderie.

Aptly themed “It’s My School”, the event gave a preview of the new NUS Business School building.

The result of an online vote for the “Favorite Professor Award” was also announced, with the award going to Associate Professor Ravi Chandran.

It being an alumni event did not stop current NUS Business School undergraduates from attending to network with their seniors.

Said Mr Yang Zhi Wei, a current year two student, “It’s a great opportunity for us to get to know our seniors.”

Though the event officially ended at ten that night, many stayed on “for old times sake”, as aptly stated by Mr Chris Yap (BBA 2003).