Saturday, January 27, 2007
We are happy to present you with our NUS MBA Club website which would give you comprehensive information about the various clubs here and their activities. Please check out the following links:
http://www.bschool.nus.edu.sg/ -> Current Students -> Student’s Business Club -> MBA/IMBA
http://www.mba.nus.edu.sg/ -> Students -> MBA Club
You can also contact the anchors to get more details about their club.
NUS MBA Team
Friday, January 26, 2007
Mr. Hsieh Hu Fua, CEO SGX (Singapore Stock Exchange), was the first to get unplugged. In case you are wondering about ‘unplugged’, this event was formatted like the Oprah Show. So, it was more of a personal interaction as an individual, than about vision, mission and strategy. Mr. Hsieh started off in a very interesting note about his first class at the NUS Business School long time ago. This was about modeling the entire management theory using cycling as an analogy. His lecturer spoke about balance, coordination, moving ahead and all other aspects, he said. Interestingly, he left his first class with a negative impression of what lay ahead. Mr. Hsieh kept the audience in a lighter mood all the time. He spoke about how critical it is to be a global person and become a part of the global talent pool which is what companies look for these days. While revealing himself as a lazy person who never had a long-term plan for himself, he was being very frank and laid the connecting platform really well. He mentioned that his greatest fear would be letting down people. His experiences during the early days and the struggles he had gone through carried a strong message to the audience as did his firm note on ‘never-say-die’ attitude which he said is needed for any CEO.
Mr. Owen Ow, CEO Yeo Hiap Seng (Malaysia) Bhd, was the next CEO whom we got to hear from. He had an entirely different personality. He never had a tertiary degree which made it an uphill task for him to find a job. He started off as a mechanic and through a contact he got there, was able to break into a job – that of a delivery boy! But once he was in, he knew exactly where he wanted to go. ‘CEO by 35’ was his mission and he went through a lot of experiences in getting to his mission. Nevertheless, he was there by 32. He was always inspired by successful people, he said. He talked not only about his multi-national experiences with Bristol Myers, Sara Lee & Danone, but also about his flash wedding, his family and his children. His message was from the Nike tagline that goes ‘impossible is nothing’ and his greatest fear was disappointment (in not achieving what he intended to). He spoke passionately about losing battles on the way, which he said was acceptable, but focusing and ultimately winning the war. Sharing incidents like being rejected for a job since he was short and wore glasses, he kept the audience smiling all the time.
There were some good questions from the floor towards the end which brought out specific and inspiring answers from the CEOs. We wanted to ask more and hear more. But we ran out of time. However, we got a lot of ideas that we could think about as we looked at the road ahead. We were more confident about finding the right way!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Can an actuarial firm compete in the consulting space? Is it possible for a firm specializing in pension fund audits to extend its relationships with existing clients by offering consulting services?
NUS Consulting Club gathered to find answers to these questions two weeks back. The guest speaker was Associate Professor Jochen Wirtz (Academic Co-Director of UCLA-NUS Executive MBA Program).
Prof. Wirtz, in the classic case-method-teaching-style, asked us to come prepared with a case centered on 'failed attempts of cross selling". The discussion began with "a-day-in-the-life-of-consultant" and then quickly moved to the case discussion in general.
Some of the points highlghted during the discussion were: (Actuarial Services vis-a-vis consulting services)
- Difference in target customer segment
- Both are at the extreme end of the consulting value chain ( management consulting is at the top end where each project is dynamic and can command a premium for their services while the Pension fund auditing is a repeat business and cookie cutter approach forming a lower end of the value chain)
- Management consulting invests & relies heavily on the people while actuarial services relies heavily on the process and software developed and as a result, their strengths develop in their respective focus areas.
- Difference in marketing approach
After the case discussion, consulting as a profession was touched upon. Briefly put, life of a consultant is not easy but at the same time, it is a good base to start your career with. The key skills required for a consultant are - no prizes for guessing - communication & analytical skills.
Prof Wirtz also shared his experiences as a consultant and shared various instances of his life as a consultant.
Some of the books which you'd find interesting if you have plans of taking up consulting as career:
- CONSULTING DEMONS “Inside the Unscrupulous World of Global Corporate Consulting” By Lewis Pinault
- Confessions of an Economic Hit Man By John Perkins
- WOODEN: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections By John Wooden
- The McKinsey Way by Ethan M Rasiel
Other recommended reading to help you be more prepared for the game:
- Flying High in a Competitive Industry: Cost-Effective Service Excellence at Singapore Airlines by Loizos Heracleous, Jochen Wirtz, Nitin Pangarkar - This book provides insights into a simple but intriguing question: How has SIA managed to outperform other flag-carriers for decades, in an industry where it is notoriously difficult to succeed consistently?
- Services Marketing by Christopher Lovelock and Jochen Wirtz - Textbook with a strong focus in managerial orientation and strategic focus, using conceptual frameworks that have been classroom tested for relevance, incorporating key academic research findings, and including selected readings and cases to accompany the text chapters
-Compiled by Anshuman and Vamsi Krishna Reddy
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The business plan contest attracted 238 executive summaries. Out of these, 40 executive summaries were selected and were asked to send their complete business plan. Six business plans were short listed and the teams were asked to present their plans on the IIM Calcutta campus.
In addition to the team from NUS, teams from ISB Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, FMS, XIMB were selected for the final round. The teams gave a 30 minute presentation followed by a QA session. The panel members comprised of Venture Capitalists and few professors. The NUS team which proposed a social venture, involving the cultivation, processing and marketing of aloe vera plants won the first prize. The second prize-winning plan came in from ISB, Hyderabad.
This is was a collaborative effort between the NUS team (Nitin Girotra, Karthik Venkatesh and Srikanth Karthikeyan) and two engineering students from West Bengal (Jaydeep Mandal, Koel Ghorai). The engineering college students have extensive experience of working in the grass roots and had good contacts among the self help groups.
The team won a cash award of Rs 50,000. Quite a few Venture Capitalists expressed keen interest in our plan and have expressed willingness to fund the venture.
Srikanth Karthikeyan - MBA Class of 2008
The entrepreneurship festival has witnessed a 114% rise in the number of entries from 111 last year to 238, while seed capital for the business plan contest has gone up eight times to Rs 20 lakh.
Of the six business plans that made it to the finals, the winning one from us, NUS deals broadly with social entrepreneurship, involving the cultivation, processing and marketing of aloe vera plants, thus helping the rural poor. The second prize-winning plan came in from ISB, Hyderabad
The 238 entries for the contest came in from across leading management and engineering institutes including the IIMs, the IITs, XIMB, FMS, ISB, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai as well as NUS.
Following are our NUS team members of the Sarvodaya team which won the i2l Business Plan competition at IIM Calcutta:
1) Nitin Girotra
2) Karthik Venkatesh
3) Srikanth Karthikeyan
Let us extend our heartiest congratulations to the winning team!