Fintech, artificial intelligence, green energy, ecommerce—innovative industries like these provide ample opportunities for ambitious professionals.
Landing a role and thriving in one of these sectors can be tricky, but an MBA could help you make the transition by helping you build a diverse network and future-proof skillet.
BusinessBecause caught up with two MBA graduates who moved into forward-looking industries after business school to find out how the Nanyang Business School MBA helped them pivot their careers.
You’ll network with professionals from innovative industries
Being able to build a far-reaching network is one of the key benefits you’ll get from an MBA. Networking is especially crucial if you want to enter a burgeoning industry when you graduate.
Within emerging innovative industries, companies tend to be younger and recruitment pathways less established. Fortunately, connecting with professionals who are working in the space can help you get your foot in the door.
This is how Karim Bugglé (pictured), a 2018 graduate from the Double Degree Master's program at Nanyang Business School and the University of St.Gallen, broke into the world of fintech.
This is a common route for MBA graduates at Nanyang. According to the school’s latest careers report, 20% of alumni enter the tech space, and a further 19% enter financial services. In 2021, Nanyang was ranked as the best school in Asia for engineering and technology by Times Higher Education.
During his MBA, Karim connected with a Nanyang alum working with digital wealth management platform, StashAway, and managed to secure a business intelligence and data analytics internship with the firm. At the time, the company comprised just 20 employees, so Karim was able to make an impact quickly.
At the end of the internship, Karim was offered a full-time role with the Singapore-based company, working on KPI reporting and a mix of strategy projects. Today, he’s StashAway's group head of strategic development. “The internship was a really good way for me to step into the corporate world in Singapore,” he explains.
Besides alumni connections, Karim’s post-MBA network extends to his peers and professors. Even today, he regularly keeps in touch with his network to discuss new developments and opportunities.
You’ll develop crucial communication skills
In innovative industries like fintech, technological change happens rapidly and technical skills can quickly become obsolete. So you’ll need a solid base of ‘soft’ skills to fall back on.
According to Laura Denise Lutao (pictured), a Nanyang MBA graduate who works as a sales performance specialist with food delivery platform, Foodpanda, communication is one of the most important skills you need to thrive at an innovative company.
Because Foodpanda attracts employees from around the world, being able to communicate with people from different cultural and industry backgrounds has proved crucial for Laura.
Throughout the MBA, she had opportunities to develop her communication skills by working with a diverse range of peers, which she said helped her develop as a cross-cultural communicator.
In the Nanyang MBA, a capstone module in Leading People Globally exposes students to areas such as leadership, cultural intelligence, talent management, and negotiation, helping students hone their soft skills.
“That’s one of the most important skills I’ve acquired from the MBA,” she says. “What helped me is having experience in being culturally intelligent in terms of communicating with people from different backgrounds.”
As well as the diverse cohort, students at Nanyang also get to interact with academics from diverse backgrounds due to the interdisciplinary curriculum, which allows students to take courses from departments across the university.
Presenting to key stakeholders is another skill Laura was able to hone during her MBA. Prior to the program, she produced reports, but rarely presented or recommended them.
“One thing we often did during the MBA was to present in front of the cohort, using both quantitative and qualitative data,” she says.
You’ll get tailored career advice
As well as helping Laura hone her communication skills, the Nanyang MBA gave her access to career support that helped her break into Singapore’s vibrant tech scene.
After graduation, over half (54%) of MBAs break into Singapore’s jobs market. The Nanyang MBA curriculum supports them by balancing Asian-specific insights with a global outlook.
MBA career offices typically have connections with employers across a broad range of sectors, and can help you with everything from working out your personal brand to tailoring your resume for a new industry.
“The careers team got in touch with alumni and circulated our resumes,” Laura explains, "then companies started reaching out to us for interviews.”
Karim, too, connected with the careers team during his time at Nanyang. The Graduate Studies Career Development Office (GSCDO) offers one-to-one career coaching to every student, collaborating with them on a post-MBA career roadmap.
At the same time, recruitment fairs, networking opportunities, and workshops support students in following this roadmap.
Through conversations with sector consultants, students can also get to grips with what innovative industries are looking for in their hires, and how the skills they've developed in their careers so far could be transferred.
A lack of industry experience doesn’t matter if you can show your target company you’re agile, Karim discovered.
“Not having all the hard skills isn’t a problem, but [at StashAway] we expect people to have analytical abilities and a hunger to learn,” he says.
Although both Laura and Karim emphasize that breaking into a growing sector can be tricky, both think it’s worth the effort.
“I’m so keen to stay in tech now because of the pace that it’s going at,” Laura concludes. “There are a lot of opportunities and companies are always looking for good candidates.”
“There are a lot of opportunities and companies are always looking for good candidates.”