Make the MOST out of your NUS MBA Experience!

Former NUS MBA student and current Director of Graduate Studies Marie-Antonie Chua shares her advice for a successful MBA experience.

nus mba intake 2011
NUS MBA Orientation for 2011 Intake

It has never crossed my mind that one day, I would be standing at the podium in Hon Sui Sen Memorial Auditorium to address an incoming cohort of MBA students – as the Director of Graduate Studies, NUS Business School. Yet some 8 years ago, I was sitting in one of these lecture halls, feeling smug that I managed to get a much coveted seat in the NUS MBA. I could not wait to put on my NUS jacket & wished that my friends would catch me drinking from my NUS water flask. Afterall, this is the National University of Singapore.

Looking back, its been nothing short of a fantastic journey. From being a young, slim & carefree student – to literally, an admin heavyweight now 🙂 I’ve grown & am still growing under the tutelage of wonderful mentors, friends & colleagues here in NUS Business School.

I’ve decided to pen a few lines in this blog to show support for the NUS MBA community & to share with all of you on what I have learnt here.

(1) Hone your Leadership skills! Serve (with love) in the Students Council, the Interest Clubs, possibly even the Graduate Students Society. It may take up some of your time & energies but investment in Character Building will go a long, long way.

(2) Expose yourself – to new experiences! Be bold & adventurous enough to take up a Double Degree program in a strange & foreign land, go on a Student Exchange to an exotic location or embark on a short Business Mission to learn about a new culture.

(3) Pay attention to your career. Start building your portfolio by taking up Internships, which is especially important for the full timers. Look for good jobs that fit & are in line with your passion, value employee loyalty by doing well & progressing in the company, build your competencies & hone your EQ, find your niche & competitive advantage. And if you are young & without family commitments, consider jumping at Global Opportunities. But remember, we all have to start from somewhere. Do not compare – for what $ others are getting, you do not know what they need to handle. Cherish the opportunities to learn & develop yourself into a strong, competent professional. Do your best & believe that you will get there in time. Why not & why shouldn’t you, if you are armed with an NUS MBA & is willing to work hard?

(4) Network widely, possibly pick up a new language – and learn how to drink. Keep in touch with your friends. Other than being a source of comfort & joy, you will never know what valuable opportunities the friends you make here will present. Free lodging? Job opportunities? Or perhaps an introduction to your future spouse 🙂 Everyone seems to be scrambling to learn Chinese. But don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to learn Hindi free of charge from your classmates. Imagine the competitive edge you’ll have if you can reach out to the 1.3 billion Chinese Nationals and the 1.21 billion Indian Nationals 😀 And finally, use this opportunity amongst the safety of friends to test your alcoholic limits. Master the art of drinking but know your limit so that you do not overdose when you’re really doing business.

Finally, ENJOY your NUS MBA Experience! Trust me on this – you may be so eager to start work that you forget that when you start, hopefully you will not stop till you reach 62? 70? 75? 85? Never? Cherish where you are at now, whatever you are doing. As you move up the ladder, work only gets tougher as you’ll have more people to manage. I look back & wonder when my little break is going to come – while my team simply laughs at me for getting into more & more ‘trouble’ every year! Then again, I’ve learnt to cherish what I have now so I’m enjoying every moment. So should you!

Carpe Diem!


Chua Nan Sze, Marie-Antonie
The NUS MBA Double Degree with Peking Univerisity, Class of 2005
Director, Graduate Stuides
NUS Business School 

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