A Special Tribute

PeterTAYbigWhen the NUS Business School decided to give out the Special Service Award to deserving alumni who have contributed to the alumni community and the School, two names came up instantly – Mr Peter Tay (BBA Hons 1975, MBA 1987) and Mr Yeo Keng Joon (MBA 1985).

The two award recipients however, were surprised to be given such an honor.

“I’m only doing my job!” says Mr Tay, who is currently the Managing Director of TPS Corporate Services Pte Ltd, a boutique firm specializing in providing corporate and consultancy services in local and offshore company incorporation, corporate secretarial and management services, international financing, trading and investment.

Mr Tay’s involvement with the School goes back to his student days. He was an active member of the Bizad Club and President of AIESEC-Singapore where he attended the Leadership Development Program and a Traineeship with Olivetti in Japan.

In 1986, he started BASA (Business Administration Society Alumni), which is the predecessor of NUS Business School Alumni. For his academic excellence and extra-circular activities in the university, he was awarded the Kesatuan Akademis (University Gold Medalist).

Since 2004, he has been President of the NUS Business Society Alumni Association, Chairman of the School’s International Resource Panel and a member of the School’s Advisory Board.

YEOKengJoonbigSimilarly, Mr Yeo who also holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Chemistry from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia did not expect to win the award. “I’m humbled by this gesture,” he says.

He has been very active in alumni matters, being a past President of the MBA Alumni-NUS; Immediate Past President of the NUS Business School Alumni Association (NUSBSA) and a member of the NUS Alumni Advisory Board since its inception in 2005.

Since 2000, Mr Yeo has been appointed to the Board of Advisers of the NUS Business School. In 2006, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Service by NUS.

“To me, contributing to the school is something I enjoy,” elaborates Mr Yeo. “Back during University days, I was already very active in the school. As such, what I’m doing now is like an extension to what I’ve always been doing.”

On how the two Special Service Award winners manage their time, Mr Tay believes “time is what you make of it”.

Apart from his contributions to the school, Mr Tay is also an active supporter and volunteer with several charitable organizations and uniformed youth groups. He is a Director with YMCA Singapore, an Adviser of the Board of Advisers, AIESEC-Singapore, and Honorary Vice President of the Boys’ Brigade in Singapore (since 1996).

Mr Yeo also adds, “It’s also about working with the people around you. We have been able to put successfully put together great teams of people to get things moving.”

In 2007, Mr Yeo single-handedly spearheaded an initiative for NUSBSA in raising about half a million Singapore dollars (with government matching) to set up 10 bursary funds valued at S$25,000 each. Alumni, faculty and friends rallied around this very worthy cause. This NUSBSA Bursary Fund will provide financial aid of $2,500 each for ten needy students from the NUS Business School yearly, in perpetuity.

When asked why both of them continue to contribute to their alma mater after so many years, Mr Yeo says, “I think it’s important that we stay connected with the School, and do what we can to help, whenever we can.”

“Yes, it’s like what they say in Chinese – ‘To remember the source of the water from which you drink’,” adds Mr Tay

Torchbearer of IT

HowieLaubigNUS Business School graduate Mr Howie Lau (BBA 1993) was an Olympic torchbearer and ran in the Thailand segment of the Olympic torch relay as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games in China. He was given this honor for his outstanding performance and contributions to Lenovo – the largest Personal Computer producer in China.

Months later, Mr Lau received the Eminent Business Alumni Award for his outstanding contributions in the info-communications industry, as well as his tireless contributions to his alma mater.

“I feel a sense of pride and am thankful to the School for giving me this honor,” says Mr Lau, who is currently the Executive Director for Commercial Business for Lenovo in ASEAN and Korea.

Mr Lau was previously General Manager for Lenovo Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines, and led the Singapore team’s successful post-acquisition transition from IBM Personal Computer Division to Lenovo. Prior to Lenovo, Mr Lau was the Country Manager for Public Sector and Country Manager for e-Business for IBM. He has also served as General Manager for Ariba Singapore/Malaysia.

On how he climbed the ladder of success so quickly, Mr Lau shares three tips: “Build a strong personal brand. Be focused on delivering good results. And keep in touch with your network.”

Apart from his commitment to his work and family, Mr Lau also contributed to the info-comm industry by serving as an Executive Council Member of Singapore Computer Society. He had previously served on CommerceNet, Singapore Multimedia Forum and the SCCCI IT Advisory Council.

To share his business knowledge, Mr Lau participated as a judge for Startup@Singapore, Entrepreneur of the Year Award and NTU Business Plan competitions.

In addition, Mr Lau also served one term on the Board of NUS Business School Alumni Association. Despite having stepped down, he still continues to be a supportive alumnus in events and initiatives undertaken by the School and the Association.

Being actively involved with the Bizad Club and Bizad Society during his BBA days, Mr Lau consistently attributes his success to what he learnt during his three years in NUS.

“I’m thankful that a good foundation was laid through the skills and knowledge acquired while in school,” says Mr Lau. “Especially people skills.”

On what advice he can share, Mr Lau quips: “Study hard. Play Hard. And make friends.”

I Am Gifted, So Are You

AdamKhoobigWhen young, NUS Business Graduate Mr Adam Khoo (BBA Hons 1999) had low self-esteem and performed poorly in school. Yet, Mr Khoo graduated with an honors degree, became a self-made millionaire by the age of 26, and today owns and runs several businesses in education, training, event management and advertising, all with a combined annual turnover of $30 million.

Apart from a book by Dennis Wakely that gave him his positive mindset, Mr Khoo is also thankful for the education he received at the School.

Mr Khoo believes the school helped expedite his learning. “If I didn’t learn about Finance and Marketing, Management Theories and Accounting, it would have taken longer for me to get to where I am today.”

“I also have to thank the people who believed in me – including Prof Singh – for giving me opportunities when I was in NUS Business School,” says Mr Khoo. Professor Kulwant Singh (BBA Hons 1982, MBA 1989), Interim Dean of the School, had taught Mr Khoo.

As an undergraduate, Mr Khoo was given the opportunity to be a pioneer member of the prestigious Talent Development Program (TDP).

Today, he is an entrepreneur, a best-selling author and a peak performance trainer. He is the Executive Chairman and Chief Master Trainer of Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group Pte Ltd and a Director of seven other private companies. Mr Khoo is also a Director of the Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB).

“I started doing business since I was 15,” says Mr Khoo. “It was out of passion that I pursued what I’m doing today.”

Mr Khoo was ranked best-selling author of seven books including “I Am Gifted, So Are You!” and ‘Clueless in Starting a Business’.

Over the last 15 years, Adam has trained over 650,000 students and professional to tap their personal power and achieve excellence in their various fields of endeavor.

He advises current students to “read widely beyond the textbooks and to work when you study.”

Despite being busy, Mr Khoo continues to contribute to his alma mater. He has spoken at the NUS Business School Alumni Association flagship CEO Unplugged Series, as well as at various university functions.

“I love to share and teach,” says Mr Khoo. In the same light, he encourages people to “do what you love.”

Tacking to the Top

NgSerMiangBIGSilver medalist in sailing at the South East Asian (SEA) Games. Founder and Managing Director of TIBS Holdings. Nominated member of the Singapore Parliament. Chairman of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee.

These are but some of the hats worn by NUS Business School graduate Mr Ng Ser Miang (BBA Hons 1971).

Currently the patron of the Singapore Sailing Federation as well as the Vice-President of the Singapore National Olympic Council, Mr Ng is also an Executive Member of the International Olympic Council (IOC) since July 2005.

Being a staunch supporter of sports, Mr Ng has been instrumental in developing the sporting scene in Singapore.

“Sports is one of the greatest influences in my life,” shares Mr Ng. “It has put discipline and perseverance into my life.”

In the business arena, Mr Ng is well established as the Founder and Managing Director of TIBS Holding (before selling it to SMRT Corporation). In recounting how he drove the success of the transport company from scratch, he shared that he had used what he learnt from the school. “We followed the principle of doing something very well, delivering quality and offering the best to the commuters”.

Presently, Mr Ng chairs the Board of Directors of NTUC Fairprice Co-operative Limited, the largest supermarket chain in Singapore.

The Eminent Business Alumni Award winner sheds some light on his business philosophy.

“Successful business leadership requires a high degree of skill and professionalism, taking appropriate risks and educated decisions in rapid economic conditions,” says Mr Ng. “But one must remember that a company’s most important resource in any business or industry is people.”

When asked what CEO’s should keep in mind, Mr Ng advises to “provide people with the right incentive and develop them well; take responsibility for decisions and provide leadership; as well as to know when to take the right sort of risks.”

A sportsman, a diplomat, and an entrepreneur, Mr Ng has acquired a long list of accolades throughout his career, contributing to the society and organizations dear to his heart.

He attributes his holding of many portfolios to passion and interest. “The jobs I am doing are all very varied and interesting. This keeps me motivated.”

He also shares how he finds time to manage his passion, work commitments, and family. “If you believe in what you want to do, you will find the time to do it,” says Mr Ng. “It’s not how much time you have, but how wisely you use your time.”

When asked what drives him, the Eminent Business Alumni Award winner humbly shares his motto. “Work very hard. Know what you want. And never stop learning.”

A Farmer’s Son Paves The Way To Vietnam’s Industrial Future

HUYNH QUANG HAI (MSC (MOT) 2000,GDBA 1999)

 

Huynh Quang Hai has come a long way from his early beginnings. He and his eight siblings grew up on a farm in Quang Ngai, a poor province in Central Vietnam. However, his parents wanted better for them and pushed them all to study.

“My parents wanted all their children to get an education because they believed that if we were able to go to university, we would be able to change our future.”

He eventually did obtain a university education and subsequently, a job at a freight forwarding company. While on the job, he met the then-CEO of Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), Cheong Kai Kong and was offered the job as the assistant to the CEO. This was in the 1990s and marked the start of his career at VSIP.

Three years into his time in VSIP, he told them that he did not want to stay on in his job as he wanted to learn more. Recognizing his potential, the company sent him to Singapore in 1999 where he obtained a graduate diploma in Business Administration and a Master of Science (Management of Technology) from the NUS Business School.

His time at the NUS Business School put his life on a different career path.

Armed with his new qualifications and his experience in Singapore, he rose quickly up the ladder of the company and he is now the Group Executive Director of VSIP Group and CEO of VSIP JSC. The experience here made a big difference to his life.

“Living in Singapore, I got an education and I got a lot of advice. I also learned a lot from the program, from professors, classmates and the school. But the most important thing was the experience of living in a foreign country.”

“You can talk to people from different countries, you can interact with businessmen, and you can see different business concepts that are only today arriving in Vietnam.”

What was also an eye-opener was to see people from different backgrounds working together in harmony, he said.

He has taken all these lessons to heart and it has helped him to make the VSIP the success that it is today. It now has 380 projects from 22 countries and has brought in more than US$2 billion worth of investments into the country.

According to him, the success of VSIP lies in the fact that it is more than an industrial park.“We are creating an investment environment for investors. After years of building up the country, we have yet to build up very good infrastructure to welcome manufacturers from foreign countries.” He also credits its success to the various government agencies in Singapore that have lent their experience and expertise to the project.

Hai is very proud of what VSIP has achieved. “We have created a very transparent investment environment for the investor, and we have created almost 70,000 jobs for the people in the country.”

VSIP is also important for its knock-on impact on the rest of the country, he said. It has become a model for other provinces to follow. Thanks to VSIP, Vietnam’s industrialization can move into a higher gear as other provinces also create infrastructure projects that meet the expectations and requirements of foreign investors.

Guided By The Star(light) Of Knowledge

LAM KWONG YU (APEX-C MBA 2004)

 

Lam Kwong Yu moved to Hong Kong from Guangdong when he was just a teenager. Back then, his life was not easy. During the day, he worked long hours at a printing company. After his shift, he took up evening classes so that he could improve his lot in life.

“I’m a Hakka from Meixian, Guangdong,” he said. “A thousand years ago, our people moved from Southern Sichuan to Guangdong. Among Hakkas, Confucianism is our fundamental principle. There is a saying, ‘Education is of the highest priority. ‘ Without proper education, your life will fall into a vicious cycle.”

Propelled by that philosophy, he persevered and eventually completed a degree in business administration at the University of East Asia in Macau. Much later, he decided to sign up for the Chinese Executive MBA course at the NUS Business School.

For him, getting the Executive MBA was not a quest for mere paper qualifications. He has no need to prove himself. His company, Starlite Holdings Limited, is listed in Hong Kong and has operations in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Shaoguan, Malaysia and Singapore. Instead, for him, it was about learning and being able to apply those lessons to his business. That is why he enjoyed his EMBA course.

“The EMBA program in NUS is life-enriching, with a lot of vivid case studies and real-world role play,” he recalled. “All of these drove us to be more rational and objective about our business growth, instead of institutional and emotional approaches.

“Take investment for an instance. We invested in a major environmental business in China, which failed at the end and almost drove Starlite into bankruptcy. If I had taken the EMBA program before that, I would have implemented market research, financial evaluation, risk assessment and other measures, which would have helped us to prevent this serious mistake.

“Every mistake has its substantial costs. As a business executive, we need to take care of our business. It requires continuous education to avoid serious mistakes along the way.”

Fortunately, that incident did not bring Starlite into bankruptcy. Instead, the company, which specializes in printing, is now a stalwart on the Hong Kong stock exchange. He attributes the remarkable growth of Starlite to its corporate culture. “I believe that corporate culture matters, which is the soul of a business. It can be summarized as Integrity, Love, Diligence and Sensitivity.

“Integrity means honesty at all times. As for ‘Love’, we need to love our people, the community and the nature. ‘Diligence’ means to be hard working. In particular, in the time of difficulties, it calls for greater efforts than others. ‘Sensitivity’ is important because we have to remain sensitive to new ideas and things, and be eager to learn. To succeed and further grow in the future, Starlite needs to stick to its culture and philosophy.”

Making All The Right Calls

CHUA SOCK KOONG (BACC HONS 1979)

 

In the male-dominated corporate world, being a female CEO is a major achievement. That achievement is all the sweeter for Chua Sock Koong because she helms SingTel, Southeast Asia’s largest telecommunications giant, a company that reported operating revenue of close to $17 billion and profit of about $4 billion last year.

Getting ahead of the class is something that she is used to though. At the University of Singapore, she graduated with first class honors in Accountancy in 1979. She eventually joined SingTel and rose up the corporate ladder there. Beginning as a treasurer, she was made Group Chief Financial Officer in 2006 before being promoted to the top job the next year. With her background, she brings a unique perspective to her role.

“The CFO is a very important business advisor to the CEO but at the same time, the CFO wears the governance hat,” she said. “When you’re the CFO, you’re juggling the two roles. You want to be a business partner but you have to make sure checks and balances are in place. 

“As the CEO, I take a much more holistic approach in business. I play a very important nurturing role. I want to encourage new ideas, innovation, and see how I can develop people as well. A large part of my time is around talent development.”

As one of the few female corporate chiefs around, she believes that she also has an obligation to mentor younger female talent who are starting out. “Successful women leaders do have a responsibility to help mentor aspiring women leaders so that the best man or woman has an opportunity for the job.” However, at the same time, she is firmly against artificially boosting the number of women. “I’m not an advocate of having quotas to achieve gender diversity In the end, it really depends on the talent pool available and you don’t want to distort that.”

She believes the way to get more women corporate leaders is to have good human resource policies. “To start, it would be helpful if companies have HR policies that are gender neutral, that gives equal opportunities for employment and promotion within the organizations.

“At the same time, it should allow some flexibility for staff to be able to handle activities outside work hours.”

She cites SingTel as a good example of a good corporate citizen. SingTel hires and promotes fairly and has created a flexible workforce that allows telecommuting, she said. In addition, “we allow people flexi-time off and that’s not limited to women alone.”

Rising up the corporate ladder no doubt has its perks, but it cannot be achieved without sacrifice. As a result, her advice to those just starting their career is to pick one they enjoy instead of focusing on pay.”There are a lot of tradeoffs that we have to make in life,” she notes.

“You have to choose a career that is really of interest and excites you so that getting up on Monday to go to work is not a chore.

“Looking at monetary rewards alone; that is never enough.”

The Education Of An Entrepreneur

CHEW HUA SENG (BBA 1979)

 

Chew Hua Seng is currently a successful entrepreneur whose listed Raffles Education Corporation (“RafflesEducationCorp”) is now Asia’s largest private education provider with 38 colleges in 35 cities around 14 countries.

But his path to success was not an easy one. He was an early investor in China and he paid a high price in his early years.

“In 1996, I had a factory in Dalian. My general manager mortgaged my factory to build his own next to mine. I lost everything and I had to walk out with nothing.

“That was very shattering for me because it was all my savings. After that, I learned how to do business in China and that was an expensive tuition fee I paid.”

As a result of his hard-won experience, he advises people to start young if they want to be an entrepreneur. “They need to strike out as early as possible to give room for you to fail. Then you can pick up the business and take it on again.”

It will come as no surprise that he ranks perseverance as a key characteristic that separates the sheep from the goats. This was a lesson he learned early in life. He grew up in a kampong, where he was one of eight children. His father was a fisherman and his mother was a housewife. Those early years left their mark on him.

“Like most of the kampung boys that time, we did not have much. We had to learn very early in life to make a living for ourselves. We made do with what we had.

“The deprivation part of it (childhood) is the very seed for me to strive hard to get out of poverty.”

He made it to university but he had to sell insurance while juggling his studies. The one consolation was that he was so busy with studies and work that he had no real time to get distracted.

At university, he described himself as being not a “terribly bright student.”“I had to work very hard to pass my examinations. That was a good lesson. I learned that in life, if you work hard, you get what you want. With those foundations, he went on to build his business empire.

Today, he is still persevering. Raffles Education Corp used to be a stock market darling but the share price has languished in recent years. However, this does not bother him as he takes a long-term perspective.

“I’m a builder of business. I’m not a stock market player. To me, this business has a long way to go. Asia has 3 billion people and education in most of the countries is underprovided; the growth potential for RafflesEducationCorp is enormous.”

Mandarin Alumni AGM and inauguration of the 12th Mandarin Alumni Committee cum Dinner

Date: 28 June 2014 (Saturday)
Time: 4.30 pm to 10pm
Venue: NUS Business School Mochtar Riady Building, Seminar Room 2-2
NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House
Organiser: NUS Business School Mandarin Alumni

Photo Gallery

mandarin_alumni

It was an exciting day for the Mandarin alumni as they gathered for the AGM, where they were treated to an informal yet fruitful lecture on legal matters by Mr Seah Chwee Lim, the legal Adviser of NUS Business Mandarin Alumni. Bringing humour and intelligence to some very serious matters, Mr Seah provided free-of-charge legal consultation to alumni on any legal concerns they raised, on both personal and business issues.

After an enjoyable and informative afternoon, members took a short break before proceeding to NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House for the evening’s festivities – the official inauguration of the 12th Mandarin Alumni Committee. Hosted by Ms Zhang Ning (MBA Chinese 2002) and Mr Jing Xiangyang (MBA Chinese 2000), the dinner event was graced by Guest-of-Honour Ms Sim Ann, Minster of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information.

In her address, President of the 11th Committee Ms Zhang Yiru highlighted the activities and achievements of the outgoing 11th Committee, which included the alumni’s establishment of the S$300,000 scholarship for NUS Business School students. She also shared her vision and expectations of the new Executive Committee before handing the mantle to new President Mr Kwek Chok Ming (BBA 1978/APEX MBA Chinese 2009).

Taking the stage, Chok Ming expressed his appreciation to 11th Committee and elaborated on his direction for the Mandarin Alumni. Ending his speech on an inspirational note, he said: “Although we do not need to plant the tree, our committee members will climb the tree together.” Professor Bernard Yeung, Dean of NUS Business School, presented appreciation awards to the outgoing committee and welcomed the members of the 12th Mandarin Alumni Committee by proposing a toast.

It was a fitting end to a truly unforgettable night as Committee members, professors and alumni proudly raised their glasses in appreciation and celebration of the 11th and 12th Mandarin Alumni Committees.

The many ways to give back

The Alumni Appreciation Dinner 2014 got us thinking about the many different ways our alumni contribute to the School, be it time, skills, knowledge, mentorship, organisation or fundraising. So we took the opportunity to talk to some of our alumni volunteers, both in Singapore and overseas, to find out more about how they contribute and what motivates them to continue to do so despite their busy schedules and lives.

Yeo Keng Joon (MBA 1985)

fa_keng_joonA familiar face at most alumni events, Yeo Keng Joon has been an active alumni member since his graduation in 1985. After serving as President of the MBA Alumni – NUS, he set up the NUS Business School Alumni Association (NUSBSA) in 2000.  He also served two terms on the NUS Alumni Advisory Board from its inception in 2005 to 2011.

However, over the last six to seven years, Keng Joon has been involved in fundraising, an activity he has found very rewarding and, with the network that had nurtured over the years, something he finds relatively easy to do. “You give back in the best ways you can, and at this stage in my life, this is the way I am most able to contribute,” he says.

In 2007, he almost singlehandedly started the endowed NUSBSA Bursary Fund to help needy students in the NUS Business School. Even when travelling, he can initiate emails to contacts to garner support for worthwhile causes, including endowment bursaries, some in the names of former classmates and professors who have passed away. These bursaries provide ongoing funds to support needy NUS Business School students. He also helped raised funds for the NUS BSA Students Experience Fund, which enables students to take part in exchange trips to further their outlook.  “The good thing is that all funds donated by alumni go towards helping the beneficiaries,” he explains. The Endowed Funds in NUS are structured so that donors of $25,000 or more get sub-naming rights of their choice for the bursary fund, and they will be helping a student each year in perpetuity with the funds disbursed from their endowed fund.

Keng Joon is currently active in raising funds for the NUS Alumni Student Advancement Committee, and his participation in golf fundraising events and other themed events goes towards this. One themed event that particularly thrilled him to initiate is the NUS Campus Couples Fund , which appeals to alumni who met their spouse on campus. Ten couples are now on board the programme and the aim is to reach 40 couples. “This was a fun one for me,” he explains. “I was blessed to meet my wife on campus.” Keng Joon is now working on the NUS Campus Couples Interest group, a platform to help couples network and explore how they can give back, not only through fundraising but in other ways. On top of that, he is always looking out for other creative ideas to theme fundraising events. “It’s never too late to take part in alumni activities,” he advises. “If you see it as fun, as I do, and not as a chore, you can contribute, and do good by giving not necessarily money, but your time, experience and skills in many ways that will help others and impact their lives.”

Are you a campus couple? Would you like to support the NUS Campus Couples Bursary Fund? For more information about the NUS Campus Couples Bursary Fund, or to make a gift, please contact kjyeo@alumni.nus.edu.sg.


 Peter Yap (MBA 1986)

fa_peter_yapPeter lost touch with the Business School for many years due to his heavy travel schedules and overseas postings in corporate life but was re-acquainted with the alumni through his friend and MBA coursemate Yeo Keng Joon.  With the encouragement of another course mate, President Mike Teng, he now serves on the MBA Alumni-NUS Board as the Assistant Secretary.  He enjoys being an active participant of events and interacting regularly with students and other alumni members.

Peter believes that students must be challenged to think out of the box in their learning.  He is a firm believer that education in the business schools must combine the study of management with the practice of management.  Facilitating lectures in the Alumni Lecture Series, he applies this principle as he relays his experiences and engages students in open discussions.  He enjoys sharing his experience and is a firm believer in open dialogue with students rather than adopting a top-down approach to teaching. Through his sharing, his hope is that students appreciate being able to see the theories they learn in classes come to life.

Peter appeals to alumni to try their hand at being more active within NUS and to give something back to their Alma Mater from the much they have gained from it.  He asked that the giving be based on an altruistic motive; if it is not, it will be unsustainable.  As another way to give back to his Alma Mater, Peter has also signed up for next year’s MBA Mentorship Programme.

Sonny Yuen (BBA 1985)

fa_sonnyAs co-founder of an executive search company, Sonny has the flexibility to devote time out of his day to various alumni activities. Always active in hostel during his university days, being involved in alumni activities was a natural progression.

A life member of the NUS Business School Alumni Association since 2000 , Sonny has taken on different roles on the Board over the years, including that of Assistant Treasurer and Vice President. This year, he assumes the mantle of President for the next two years. It was Sonny too who organised the first CEO Breakfast series, running six talks over two years as well as more informal CEO Unplugged sessions, where students gain insights from CEOs as to what makes them tick. Yet another example of his contributions is the 2013 Bizad Charity Run , which grew in iconic popularity when he took over, raising a record sum of over $175,000. This funded five bursaries of $25,000 each, with the remaining funds going to the three adopted charities. With his business and contacts, he has also been referring job and internship opportunities to Business School alumni and students by connecting them with interested corporate partners.

Asked how he manages his time, Sonny says he carefully picks events that allow him to contribute the most. While he acknowledges that there are benefits to be gained from connections made through the NUS network, he advises fellow alumni to get involved with the altruistic purpose of making a difference to others.

Joseph Tan (MBA 2011)

fa_joseph_tanFollowing an enriching MBA year where he made many connections and friendships, Joseph Tan decided to dedicate time to giving back to NUS Business School. Spurred on by his experience as a mentee under Yeo Keng Joon, he believes that giving back is made easy by simply contributing in areas in which you naturally excel. In between his work in the Air Force and spending time with his two young children, he was the committee chair for the NUS Biz School Golf Reunion Challenge over the last two years. Joseph is no stranger to organising major events as he is also the Chairman of the Parade and Ceremony of the National Day Parade 2014. As the Vice President of the MBA Alumni-NUS association board, Joseph helps to coordinate events that connect students with alumni, and encourages new graduates to participate as they have fresh perspectives to offer. Like his mentor, Joseph hopes to be a role model and friend, and to pass on valuable life experiences and knowledge.

Ryan Peh (BBA 2009)

fa_ryan_pehRyan’s decision to be an active alumni member boils down to one thing: gratitude. Having switched from Engineering to the Business School in his years as a student, he recognises the unique opportunities that the Business School presents. He believes the chance to network and create connections with others in his time at the school was one that he would not have gotten elsewhere and is determined to see others benefit from this in the way he has. An active alumni, he helps organise events that bring together both graduates and undergraduates from the same industry in order to maximise networking opportunities. He also takes part in BSA-led events such as Members’ Night and makes an effort to boost attendance at GANO-organised events such as Mind My Business.

Zeeshan Khan (MBA 2012)

fa_zeeshan_khanAfter living and working in Dubai for some years, Zeeshan decided on a career change.  Recognising the diversity that the Asia Pacific has to offer and the region’s growing importance, he proceeded to do his MBA with the Business School.  He feels that the School has opened a lot of doors for him and he hopes to help students as he was helped, believing that alumni and students have a shared journey. He is now a mentor in the MBA Mentorship programme and meets his mentee once a month for drinks at Clarke Quay or for a casual catch-up. To Zeeshan, it is a two-way relationship in which both mentor and mentee learn much from each other as they exchange experiences and information. With both of them being in the oil and gas industry, Zeeshan shares his experiences and knowledge while his mentee brings new perspectives to the table. He also regularly attends MBA alumni networking events, where he has the chance to interact with students, share his knowledge and offer advice.

Overseas Alumni

Tan Yong-Wah (B.Sc 1982, MBA 2000)

fa_tan_yong_wahAs an active alumni member, Tan Yong-Wah cites a desire to give back as his reason for contributing. Exchanging experiences with students, mentoring and conducting briefings are some of the ways he does this. Being based in Hong Kong has by no means limited his possibilities to contribute as he
takes part in activities that do not require him to be physically present at the School, such as being long-distance mentor in the MBA Mentorship Programme. He also takes part locally where he can, for instance, he was one of the speakers at the alumni networking seminar organised by the Hong Kong Alumni Chapter and GANO. “Experience sharing does not take up much time,” he reveals. “Experiences, without sharing, will not reflect value,” he says, and encourages alumni to impart their own unique experiences and knowledge.

Rahul Tadimalla (MBA 2007)

fa_rahul_tadimallaA self-made investment banker by day and musician by night, this multi-talented MBA graduate has been actively helping NUS Business School since the establishment of GANO in 2007. As an alumni representative for Bangalore in India, Rahul spends a lot of time spearheading events there. From sourcing for venues and rates to securing prominent speakers for seminars, he spares no effort in making sure everything stays on track.

Besides organising events, Rahul actively offers his assistance and time to ensure that the full-time MBA students and UCLA-NUS APEX MBA students on study trips are able to get the most of their overseas experience. Not only does he take full charge of arranging their corporate visits, accommodation and sightseeing activities both in Mumbai and Bangalore, he also brings the students for shopping, dining at local restaurants and bar visits.

His various interactions with the NUS Business School alumni as a student sparked an early interest in alumni activities. Rahul looks forward to an alumni chapter in Bangalore in future which will bring those in the city even closer and foster greater communication with the rest of the alumni chapters worldwide.

His advice to those considering to give back? “None of our efforts in giving back to NUS business school would be sufficient compared to what we got (and continue to get) from the School. This is a form of saying thank you, and just a small way of appreciating what GANO and the School have done for us.”

Kirti Chopra (MBA 2010) 

fa_kirti_chopraFor Kirti, being an active alumni member is the one way to remain connected with the alma mater, professors and current students. As a regular attendee at alumni events and taking on the responsibility of class champion, he helps current students by giving them a perspective on the industry and on recruitment. When asked how he manages to find time between his work, personal time and alumni activities he promptly replies: “Frankly, giving back does not require an inordinate amount of time. But even this small amount of time I do give goes a long way in cultivating relationships.”

 Huang Kuo-Fen (APEX-MBA Chinese 2011)

fa_huang_kuofenFor Huang Kuo-Fen, it is her desire to share her knowledge, skills and experience that motivates her to be a part of the alumni community. She sees the global Business School alumni network as a platform that unites alumni members and promotes the exchange of ideas and information across borders. “Our alumni network spans across the globe, with chapters in many countries. This means that alumni can receive assistance and resources in almost every part of the world, even when they are not in their home country,” she explains. As such, she regularly organises events to welcome new alumni members into the Taiwan chapter and patiently explains the benefits of the alumni network. Encouraging other alumni members to contribute their time, she says: “It only takes a little time and effort to be able to make a big difference in the lives of others.”

David Wong (BBA 1977)

david_wongFor David Wong, it was his personal experiences with the Business School alumni as a student that motivated him to later become an active member himself. His desire to give back was so great that even being based in Hong Kong did not deter him. Today, David is the Vice President of the Hong Kong Chapter, doing for the junior cohorts what his seniors did for him. In his role, he hosts EMBA exchange students to Hong Kong, helping them to settle in and grow their network of contacts. By giving the students access to practical experience and a better understanding of the Chinese markets, David hopes to bridge the gap between studies and the real world. For those considering giving back, he says: “If you can’t give your time, give your money or fund something. Because every little bit counts.”