The Nanyang MBA Corporate Social Rresponsibility Club is the group that recently brought Singapore MBAs together to raise funds for the Special Olympics in Singapore.
Eric Oandasan is Co-President of the Club. He grew up in Singapore and the Philippines and attended college at the University of California, Irvine, where he earned a BA in Economics. He returned to Asia in 2006 and worked for advertising and marketing firm BBDO Guerrero in the Philippines for over four years before enrolling on the Nanyang MBA.
He is currently on the full-time Nanyang MBA and took time from his busy schedule to share some of the club's future plans. Asia is the future of the world economy and Eric feels it’s important for CSR to play a significant role in this growth, and for MBAs to be directly involved.
Is the CSR Club well established as part of the Nanyang MBA?
The CSR club at Nanyang is relatively new. It's not as established as the Women in Business Club, who are simply phenomenal but I would say we are getting there. It has taken some time for us to find our feet and get accustomed to the way things work here and so the success of the Nanyang Olympics is something we are very proud of.
What were some of the challenges you faced in organizing your big event?
When this batch took over our main goal wasn’t just to execute events but to find a way to unite the Singapore MBA community with the local community. The Nanyang Olympics was one of those initiatives but it took a long time to coordinate because many of the schools have different schedules, we had to liaise with sponsors, and decide on a date that would maximize participation.
The idea for the Olympics was actually one from members of the CSR Club from two years ago but it was only executed last year and this year. The Club wants to organize initiatives that are more than just giving Nanyang publicity. We see the role of the Club as bringing change within communities, not only in Singapore but also extending to other parts of South East Asia.
What long-term initiatives do you have planned?
We would like the Olympics to be a staple for coming batches. We also would like to do some more outreach in places like Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and Myanmar. We want to organize trips to go to these places to help out with the microfinance initiatives and other sustainability and development work that’s going on in those countries. Another idea we have is to organize more educational talks focused on how businesses can really change how they work to make them more socially responsible.
What do you think are the biggest changes in CSR?
What people involved in CSR will tell you is that the era of donations is over. Businesses are becoming more aware of their impacts and are looking at how they can adjust their business practices. Companies in Asia, notably Singapore, are doing a lot in terms of CSR and sustainability work.
I think the main area of focus now is increasing the level of awareness so that businesses know what other firms are doing and can learn from best practices.
How many members does the Club have?
Strictly speaking, there are 13 registered members but because our MBA class is such a tightly knit group, we've had nearly everyone get involved.
What are you most looking forward to in the rest of your MBA programme?
There’s a lot left to happen. I’ve been interning with Adidas and that will end soon. I’ll be off on a study mission to China in the coming weeks but right now, I’m job hunting. I know it’s early but I’m very excited to see how what I’ve learned will boost my career. I’ve been researching firms where I can use my advertising background in a marketing role doing brand management for consumer goods or consumer technology products.