Voices: An Eye on Southeast Asia – Masana Takahashi’s MBA Story

Thinking of an MBA in Southeast Asia that will expose you to the region’s growing markets? Looking for a base from which to experience Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and more? This post is part of the NUS MBA Blog’s “Voices” series, where MBA candidates at NUS Business School share their personal stories.

MBA in Singapore

Photo credit: Scott Walsh

Masana Takahashi came to NUS with a background as a consultant, and Southeast Asia on his mind. In the course of less than 2 years, he’s consulted for a venture capital company, learnt about technology innovation from a serial entrepreneur, scuba-dived in Thailand and Bali, and interacted with people from a multitude of cultural backgrounds. Read on to find out why he says that the NUS MBA has been “a perfect fit for me.”


Masana, why an NUS MBA?

I wanted to do a MBA because I wanted to learn how to start a business in Southeast Asia (SEA). I chose Singapore because it is one of the core economies in Asia and a melting pot of people and cultures. Singapore is also the geographic centre of SEA and will give me easy access to the region. I also liked the fact that Singapore is safe, clean and a lively place to live and study in.

The NUS MBA is a perfect fit for me because it had diversity in its cohort as well as the international faculty, an outstanding reputation and vast networks all over Asia. My experience was further enhanced by my daily interactions with international classmates from all over the world. This allowed me to network with people from a multitude of cultural backgrounds. By studying in an Asian business environment and meeting senior management in different companies in Asia, I was able to get first hand insights on what it means to do business in Asia.

What are you doing at the moment?

I am doing the “Management Practicum” module, which is essentially a consulting project, with a group of 3. Our client is a 2-year old venture capital company aiming to triple the size of their business in 3 years. For the practicum, we have to present our proposed marketing strategy to the company’s management team. The decision to adopt the strategy is entirely up to the company but nevertheless I am excited that if our proposal gets adopted and implemented, that we will be the compass of the company and lead it to greater places.


Photo credit: Eric Molina

Besides school, I am also travelling around Asia. I have visited India, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia and I am planning to go to Myanmar and Vietnam very soon. As a scuba diver, I really love the Andaman Sea in Thailand as well as Bali in Indonesia. For me, SEA is indeed a treasure box of amazing diving spots, Singapore being the ideal base for the trips.

What do you like about the NUS MBA programme?

I like the programme’s focus on Asia. For example, one of my favourite modules was “Macroeconomics”. The professor had proficient and practical knowledge about the history and formation of the Asian economies as he had been a top-tier economist for a long time. In every class, we discussed how Asian and Western countries are connected and what challenges SEA countries are confronted with. This class is packed with intellectual stimulation, helping us to understand the background of global business from an Asian perspective.

Another module which I really liked is “Market Zoom”. The module focuses on the commercialisation of technology invented in NUS and is organised by a professor who is a former serial entrepreneur. I worked with an inventor and several engineers to investigate various market opportunities, the specific target market and market size. With the presence of the actual inventor and technology, it made the meaning of “real commercialisation” more practical than ever.

Could the NUS MBA be the perfect fit for you, too? Find out more about the curriculum, faculty, and opportunities available on our website, mba.nus.edu.sg.

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