To fulfill her career goals, Filipino expatriate Nerissa Camposano decided to pursue a part-time MBA programme at NUS Business School. She felt that would sharpen her skills in finance while applying what she has learnt to her work, and fast-track her career without losing touch with the corporate world. As she is self-financing her studies, the economic cost of a part-time programme would be easier to manage, she says. Ms Camposano also appreciates the support of her husband and colleagues, which she says is important.
Tell us about yourself and your interests.
Prior to my part-time MBA, I worked in an international bank in London for three years. I was responsible for managing the credit risks of a portfolio of project finance and structured finance transactions. I have always wanted to move back to Asia, so I seized an opportunity to move to the risk team of a project and asset-backed finance company in Singapore. My company aims to act as a catalyst for Singaporean companies in the infrastructure and offshore marine sectors that are looking to expand internationally. It feels great to be part of achieving this overall purpose.
I love to travel. I lived in the Philippines and Indonesia when I was young and caught the bug early on. I tried to make the most out of my stay in Europe by travelling to a lot of cities in and around the continent. One of my most memorable experiences was getting to see the northern lights in Iceland. My next project is to travel around Asia with my husband. I also love to read and indulge in television-series marathons whenever I have free time.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA, and what were the key factors for you?
There was never any question in my mind that I wanted to do an MBA. Certain positions in my long-term career goals require an advanced degree. However, I also wanted to do a part-time MBA programme for the following reasons. First, I was already keen on furthering my skills in specialised finance, and felt that a part-time MBA was an excellent way of accelerating my career while not losing touch with the corporate world. Second, with a part-time programme I would have the opportunity to make my MBA experience more meaningful by applying what I learnt immediately in my work. And third, on a practical note, as I was going to self-finance my studies, a part-time programme would be easier on the wallet.
I also recognised that a part-time MBA would require a lot of sacrifice (40 per cent, no, 50 per cent less social life) and extensive time management skills.
So it was extremely important to make the potential stress all worthwhile. I wanted a top-notch, part-time programme that is well-recognised in Asia and flexible enough to accommodate what I was looking for. Naturally, NUS was my top choice. It was an added bonus that the campus is located in Singapore, which is a well-established financial hub in the region.
Who supported your decision?
My husband is very supportive, tolerant of the late nights and lost weekends involving team meetings for projects. In some cases, he stayed up late with me when I had papers to do. My manager and teammates are also extremely supportive, which I really appreciate. I have to leave the office somewhat early twice a week to reach NUS on time for my evening classes. There was once when one of my teammates even reminded me to leave and catch the bus as I was so focused on our meeting that I completely lost track of time. The support of everyone around you is really important, particularly for part-time participants.
How was the transition from the Philippines to Singapore for you? How is the work culture in the two countries different?
The transition from London, where I was living right before moving to Singapore, has been fairly smooth. We had a significant increase in visitors from my native Philippines since we’ve moved. One of the things I love in Singapore is the richness and variety of the food available. My husband and I are eating our way through most of Singapore’s notable hawker stalls using a nifty little book from food blogger Dr Leslie Tay.
In terms of work culture, Singapore is somewhat similar to my old workplace in Makati. There are birthday cakes and singing on colleagues’ birthdays. The team goes on city marathons together, and jokes are shared across the whole office floor. It almost feels like coming home.