From tomorrow, Mama will be going to school too is that what I had told my puzzled 2 year old a few months ago. I showed her my backpack; she brought out hers and we chuckled together…but in the back of my mind, I was nervous. I had not been in an academic setting in more than 8 years and the last time I had been a student things were much different, I had no filial responsibilities. This was not the first time I was getting out of my comfort zone, and decided to give the best to and get the best out of the MBA experience. While prioritizing time and activities will be vital to success; enjoying the journey will be most important.
When I reflect on my undergraduate years; I think of the friendships, on-campus jobs, mentors, student clubs, research-conferences, and internships which enriched my learning outside the classroom. I yearned for a similar student life experience through the MBA. With more than 36,000 students spanning over 100 countries, 70+ student clubs and several world class research centres, NUS offers unparalleled diversity in campus culture and opportunities.
Here is a glimpse of student life during the first two months at the NUS MBA - During the first two weeks after orientation, I teamed up with an exchange student to participate in a business plan competition, and organize a welcome party. Next were the Alumni Dinner and the NUS MBA student council face-off and elections; great networking and leadership opportunities. Some of the students formed new student clubs and new activities were being planned for the existing clubs. The cohort spent a fun evening at Singapore’s Night Safari. A few students travelled to Seoul for a study trip during the recess break and before we knew it, we were applying for the NUS MBA Mentor program and getting ready to showcase our diverse talents for International Day. Coming up in October is the NUS MBAs flagship event; it is also the largest student run business plan competition – Cerebration. Did I mention the career services events, group discussions, home works, case presentations, mid-terms and the fooz ball games which we ceremoniously (well, maybe not the fooz ball games) also engaged in during this time?
Amidst all these activities I saw a new sense of unity and purpose evolving among the cohort. Despite the pressure to perform academically, each one of us enjoyed the pleasure of coming to school each day and going that extra mile to enrich each others’ MBA journey. I knew now that I would have a lot of fond memories from the NUS MBA. As I saw some of my apprehensions put to ease, another question lingered in my mind…I realized that most of us were returning to school after several years, in that context what drives us to overcome inhibitions to perform and excel…in other words, what characterizes an NUS MBA student?
Sindhura Sunkara (Indian), Part Time MBA Student, Class of 2015