Power Woman of European Private Equity

VeronicaEngbigNUS Business School graduate Ms Veronica Eng (BBA Hons 1976) is the only Asian and only female in the ten-member Board of Permira, a leading European-based private equity firm with more than € 22 billion of funds under its management.

“My career in corporate finance started when I was first recruited into a finance firm upon my graduation from NUS,” said Ms Eng. “Although I did not know exactly what I wanted at that point of time, I knew I wanted to work in the corporate finance industry. So when opportunity came to do something related to the industry, I took it.”

It was this seizing of opportunities and focusing on what she wanted to do that made Ms Eng the Head of Corporate Finance at Schroder Investment Bank by 1985.

A true opportunist, Ms Eng chose not to pass the opportunity when the Director of Schroder Investment Bank invited her to be the founding partner of Permira – even when the switch from corporate finance to private equity was at a time of grim market outlook and required her to venture into uncharted territory.

“I figured I might as well take the plunge, do something adventurous and seize the opportunity,” shared Ms Eng. “It turned out to be the best investment I have ever made in my life.”

Today, with an established wealth of insight and experience in banking and finance, it was no surprise that Financial Times cited Ms Eng as the “most powerful woman in European private equity” in 2007. She was also named one of the Top 100 Women in European Finance and being described as “a pivotal figure in the firm”.

On what she thought was the reason for her accomplishments, Ms Eng felt she “was lucky” because she had a good mentor and had worked at “enlightened organizations” that looked beyond race, gender or nationality.

“Whether I was a female or an Asian was of no relevance,” she said. “Ability counted much more than age, sex or nationality.”

Ms Eng also attributed her success to her alma mater. She was thankful that the School gave her “incredible opportunities” and hoped that students would use the opportunities given by the School as launch platforms.

“My work at Permira required me to call on all that I have learnt at NUS as well as all my skills and knowledge from banking and finance,” said Ms Eng. “Without the school, I would not be here today.”

On what advice she would give to graduates, Ms Eng said: “Take opportunities. Travel as much as you can. But remember you are a Singaporean graduate so do much as you can.”

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.

A rockin’ good time at the NUS Business School Alumni Association Members’ Night!

Date: 22 May 2014 (Thursday)
Venue: Actors the Jam Bar, *SCAPE Mall
Organiser: NUS Business School Alumni Association

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nusbsa_members_nightIt was a heady night of music, fun and laughter as members gathered for the NUS Business School Alumni (BSA) Association Members’ Night on 22 May 2014, and the last one Simon Phua (BBA Hons 1976) would be attending as the association’s president.

Held at the Actors the Jam Bar, *SCAPE Mall, the event was a chance for alumni members to not only network and build connections, but ultimately unwind and have a good time among familiar faces and music. The bar is especially designed to hold jamming sessions, with electric and bass guitars, drums and even a resident keyboard player supplied. This allowed our musically inclined alumni to pick up their instrument of choice and jam the night away to a world of songs, with all lyrics provided onscreen.

The night revealed some talented alumni, with Lee Jun Xian (BBA 2008) on guitar and Lee Ming Hui (BBA 2008) on drums while other alumni showed off their dancing chops with a smooth rendition of the Cha Cha at one point. Many joined in the fun, letting their hair down as they sang and danced to favourite tunes. Others preferred the quiet ambience of the night as they took to the tables outdoors. Even an engineering alumni member joined in the festivities, fostering new relationships with business graduates.

The evening culminated in a karaoke competition with prizes sponsored by CapitaLand up for grabs. After much deliberation from the judging panel, duet partners Angela Sim (BBA 1998) and Yong Ching Lian (BAcc 1987) walked away with the first prize with Yeo Keng Joon (MBA 1985) and the duet team of Kelly from GANO and Julianti Ng (BBA 2011) receiving the second and third prizes respectively.

Lo-Hei Lunch with Alumni Associations

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Date:
13 February 2014 (Thursday)

Venue:
The Scholar, NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House

Organiser:
Global Alumni Network Office

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Members of our three alumni associations (NUS Business School Alumni Association, MBA Alumni-NUS, NUS Business School Mandarin Alumni) got together with mentors from the NUS Business School BBA Mentorship Programme to celebrate Lunar New Year at The Scholar, NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House on 13 February 2014.

Prof Hum Sin Hoon, Deputy Dean of NUS Business School gave the welcoming speech and each GANO staff member greeted alumni with auspicious Chinese New Year greetings before the 60 attendees, a mixture of alumni, faculty and staff, took their places for the traditional CNY lunch serving of Lo Hei.

Celebrating Eminent Business Leaders from Our Alumni Ranks

nus_business_school_eminent_business_alumni_awards_2012_featureDate:
7 November 2012 (Wednesday)

Venue:
Shangri-La Hotel

Organizer:
Global Alumni Network Office (GANO)
NUS Business School Alumni Association
MBA Alumni-NUS
NUS Business School Mandarin Alumni

Media Reports:
See 2012 section. Click Here

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The NUS Business School Eminent Business Alumni Awards represent the highest recognition that can be bestowed upon alumni who have excelled in business and management. While nominees come from different backgrounds and professions, what they have in common is their high level of skill, knowledge, and the shared experience of being an alumnus of NUS Business School.

On the evening of November 7, 2012, guests and nominees came together at the Shangri-La Hotel to celebrate this year’s award winners. After an initial cocktail session where attendees mingled, guests were seated before the arrival of Guest-of-Honor, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam.

Following Mr Shanmugam’s arrival, Awards Committee Chairman Mr Peter Seah (BBA Hons 1968) gave a lively speech welcoming all in attendance. Chairing the award selection committee for the third time, he related how difficult the process was, as all 18 nominees have accomplished great deeds. Whether their accomplishments were made domestically, abroad, in the public or private sector, they all led outstanding careers, and attained their foundation at NUS Business School. Following a very difficult selection process, Chairman Seah announced that four very deserving individuals were selected for the Senior Alumni Award and two for the Alumni Service Award.

After Chairman Seah’s welcome address, Mr Shanmugam gave an inspirational speech praising the night’s winners and the NUS Business School for its global accomplishments. He began his oration with some playful banter involving award winners Bobby Chin (BAcc 1974) and Yam Ah Mee (MBA 1991). He then praised NUS’ focus on not just equipping students with technical skills, but challenging them to improve their critical thinking, communication, reasoning, and decision-making skills. In particular, he focused on the NUS Business School’s internationally recognized programs and its prominent international rankings.

Mr Shanmugam’s speech then ventured into the difficulties faced by businesses in the last five years, which have raised questions about the viability of the free market. While he feels that the world is moving “left” in response to market abuses and the income gap is widening across the globe, he points out that the vigilance of government regulators has prevented such incidents from occurring in Singapore. He also commends the efforts of active citizen governance and public-private partnerships in monitoring and raising the alarm on market failures, as well as ensuring good Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is followed. Closing his speech, Mr Shanmugam elaborated on the moral and lawful obligations that business leaders have to grow society and the economy in a responsible manner. He reiterated his strong belief that the free market system benefits society, and that NUS Business School should continue to instill this concept in its students.

Following Mr Shanmugam’s speech, an exquisite dinner was served while I-Sis Trioprovided soothing musical entertainment. A video presentation showcased each individual award winner before they were called to the stage to receive their awards from Professor Bernard Yeung, Dean of the NUS Business School.

After the presentation of the awards, a token of appreciation was given to Guest-of-Honor Minister Shanmugam. First-year NUS Business School student Irwin Fua then came on stage to deliver a breathtaking rendition of the song “I believe I can fly,” and ‘梦想 his personal composition, illustrating the point made that NUS graduates come with diverse talents in addition to business acumen.

In his closing speech, Dean of the NUS Business School, Professor Bernard Yeung, thanked everyone for the wonderful event, bringing everyone’s attention to the great strides NUS Business School has made since 1965 to become a leading school in Asia. He highlighted how our graduates continue to contribute to the world’s economic growth, being model ambassadors for the University everywhere they go, and he called on everyone to do more to help their alma mater. He thanked the awards committee for their months of hard work.

A closing performance by I-Sis Trio brought a peaceful conclusion to the delightful evening, and the remainder of the night was spent with attendees mingling to congratulate the winners and catching up with familiar faces.

NUS Business School Eminent Business Alumni Award Winners

bobby_chin_thumbnailBobby Chin – The Value of Hard Work
Mr Bobby Chin has led a distinguished career. After graduating from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a Bachelor of Accountancy in 1974, he joined the global accounting firm Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co., which would later become KPMG Singapore. Read More

lim_how_teck_thumbnailLim How Teck – Kampong Boy Made Good
Growing up poor gave Mr Lim How Teck a hunger for success that propelled him from senior accountant of the national shipping giant Neptune Orient Line (NOL), to the Group Chief Financial Officer and prime mover of NOL’s acquisition of American President Line (APL), its much bigger rival. Read More

yam_ah_mee_thumbnailYam Ah Mee – The Enterprising Civil Servant
Mr Yam Ah Mee may seem like your typical Singaporean public servant who started in the military and then rotated through various senior postings within the Civil Service. While he may look every inch the Chief Executive Director of the People’s Association that he is, behind the smooth facade of the civil service Mandarin is an entrepreneur-officer at heart. Read More

dr_yin_wei_dong_thumbnailDr Yin Wei Dong – Saving Lives as a Doctor-entrepreneur
As a trained physician, Dr Yin Wei Dong could be saving lives one at a time. As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of vaccine producer Sinovac Biotech, Dr Yin is in the position to possibly save millions of lives. Nasdaq-listed Sinovac is a vaccine manufacturer that develops, manufactures, and sells vaccines to protect against viruses such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and the swine flu. Read More

dr_chung_tang-fong_thumbnailDr William Chung – Businessman, Research Scholar, and Community Leader
It is not common for businessmen to become academics, but Dr Chung Tang- Fong, William (钟腾芳博士) is an extraordinary example. The Chairman and Managing Director of Xi-Hong Enterprise, Dr Chung operates international trading and logistics management companies in both Singapore and China, has a Doctorate in Business Administration and is also a Research Scholar at the School of Economics at Peking University.
Read More

yang_tseng_pu_thumbnailYang Tseng Pu – Age is Just a Number
Mr Yang Tseng Pu is proof that age is only a number, not a barrier. Born in 1946, he obtained his Asia Pacific Executive MBA (EMBA) from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Business School in 1999 at the age of 53. Read More

Eminent Business Alumni Awards 2010: Honoring The Best

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Date: 12 November 2010

Venue: Raffles City Convention Centre, Padang Ballroom

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In front of 250 guests comprising Guest of Honor Mr S Dhanabalan, Chairman of Temasek Holdings & NUS Business School Management Advisory Board; Mr Peter Seah (BBA HONS 1968), Chairman of DBS Group Holdings & DBS Bank and the Awards Committee; Prof Bernard Yeung Dean of NUS BUS Business School, alumni and friends – seven individuals were honored for their achievements and contributions at the NUS Business School Eminent Alumni Awards 2010 on November 12.

In the senior alumni category, the winners were Chew Hua Seng (BBA 1979), founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of private education giant Raffles Education Corporation; Chua Sock Koong (BACC HONS 1979), Group CEO of SingTel and Lam Kwong Yu (APEX-C MBA 2004), founder, Chairman and CEO of listed Starlite Holdings. In the junior category, the winners were Huynh Quang Hai (MSC (MOT) 2000, GDBA 1999), Executive Director of VSIP Group and CEO of the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park North, and Laurence Lien (MBA 2000), CEO of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. There were also two winners for the Alumni Service Awards: Robin Ng (EXEC PROGRAM 1981), the founding president of the Mandarin Alumni, and Paul Yap (BBA 1973, MBA 1985), the long-time president of MBA Alumni – NUS.

At the event, Prof Yeung congratulated the seven winners and described the alumni as assets to the school, its link between the past and the future.

He also took the opportunity to look at how far the school has come in the last 45 years. The school started as an academic department within the Faculty of Arts and Social Science in 1965, he noted. “Today, it is ‘one of the best universities in the world and the topmost business school in Asia,’ according to the Princeton Review. The Financial Times has put us in the top 30 list of Executive MBA programs around the world. Our regular MBA program is also well-ranked by both the Financial Times and the Economist.”

All the winners made gracious speeches thanking former professors and also people close to them. In addition, Laurence Lien, who heads the non-profit NVPC, used the occasion to do a bit of headhunting. “I feel very lonely in the non-profit sector,” he quipped. “Do come and join me in the challenge.

“Don’t just do some good; do a lot of good.”

The dinner was a formal occasion, with the guests dressed to the nines, and with entertainment provided by the NUS Wind Symphony. However, it was clear that the evening was an enjoyable one. As the evening went on, the general hubbub rose as people circulated around the room.

Said Wong Soon Hwa (BBA 1980) Vice President & General Manager, Asia & Japan, Hertz International (China): “Events like this bring people together. Here, you are meeting and reconnecting with people you know and making new contacts. It’s great networking for alumni.”

Ho Nai Chuen (BAcc 1980), Managing Director of On Cheong Jewellery added that such events could also help the school. “Maybe one day, they will contribute back to the University,” he said.

For Leng Chin Fai (BAcc 1985; MBA-C 1998), Director of Fei Yue Community Services, the highlight of the evening was the video of the achievements of the winners. “I enjoyed the presentations. It lets others know what they have contributed, especially the service award winners. They’ve done a good job.”

Perhaps the best evidence of that it was a successful night came from Seraphine Sim (BAcc 1984), CEO of Secret Recipe, “This is the first time I’m attending an alumni event and I’m enjoying myself tremendously,” she said. “I have to confess I was planning to leave early but I was having such a good time that I decided to stay on!”

NUS Business School Eminent Business Alumni Award Winners

Senior Alumni Category – Video »

  • Chew Hua Seng (BBA 1979)
  • Chua Sock Koong (BACC HONS 1979)
  • Lam Kwong Yu (APEX-C MBA 2004)

Young Alumni Category – Video »

  • Huynh Quang Hai (MSC (MOT) 2000, GDBA 1999)
  • Laurence Lien (MBA 2000)

Alumni Service Category – Video »

  • Robin Ng (EXEC Program 1981)
  • Paul Yap (BBA 1973, MBA 1985)