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MBA Uncle Mastering Business In Singapore

Reynold Dai talks about his time at Nanyang Business School and his exchange to Tel Aviv

By  Harriet Murdoch

Fri Oct 14 2011

BusinessBecause
BusinessBecause interviewed Reynold Dai about his experience of Nanyang Business School (NBS), NTU, in Singapore. The 36-year-old from China is now in the last three weeks of his MBA study at NBS and enjoying “the most stimulating period of the whole program.”

For five years from 2003 Reynold was a market analyst for industries like lighting, DIY, hardwares and auto parts. “In that capacity I had face-to-face contact with more than 250 top entrepreneurs, chairmen, CEOs and executives across China. Witnessing the economic miracle I was excited by the national energy I experienced every week.”

In 2008 Reynold decided to transform himself from a business ‘observer’ to a ‘player’ by joining China Wheel Co., the number-two car wheel manufacturer in China with an annual revenue of US$400 million. A brilliant opportunity to examine how the entrepreneurs had steered the phenomenal growth since the company was started in 2001.

Sadly in the beginning of 2009 a family emergency called for Reynold’s departure from the company. After his emotional recovery, Reynold teamed up with two of his high school classmates to launch an online distribution platform focused on medical examination. “Within half a year, I recognized that we entered the wrong battlefield and killed the project.”

Even after the fold of his start-up Reynold felt the burning desire to ‘master’ business and in order to start up again he recognized the need for hard skills such as strategy, marketing and finance aswell as so-called soft skills such as communication, negotiation, and leadership. “I looked for a rigorous, global top MBA program with a focus on Asia. Eventually I applied for NBS of Singapore, Indian School of Business (ISB), and IE of Spain. Between the two offers by NBS and ISB, I chose NBS for the credentials of professors, diversity of students from around 30 countries, and cultural context.”

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Reynold with some of his friends (MBA family!) on his MBA

In taking a general MBA with a focus on strategy and entrepreneurship Reynold has found himself absorbed by strategy: “It is conceptual but makes the difference in corporate performance. The best and most inspiring course to me is Corporate and Business Strategy, taught by Professor Neo Boon Siong… He challenges us to think again, think ahead, and think across: think as a strategist to deliver excellence.” Reynold also recommends the Technology and E-business, Competitive Strategy, and Negotiations courses.

But the highlight for Reynold of the MBA was his exchange to Tel Aviv University (TAU), Israel in his third trimester. “It was a great experience spiritually, culturally, and academically. At TAU, I encountered one of the most inspiring instructors in my whole MBA study, Prof Meir Karlinsky for pricing policy. In a mere five sessions he illustrated how to price to capture the value from microeconomic perspective.” You can read a full account of Reynold’s Israel experience at The Asian Correspondent.

Reynold was impressed by his MBA cohort, “my fellow participants from 27 countries are such an amazing group of talented, versatile, and energetic professionals that I have learned more from them than from textbooks. The fraternity fostered with them ever since day one is the single most meaningful product of the whole program. Thanks to all the guys for the support granted to the ‘MBA uncle’ from China!”

The MBA has given Reynold a greater understanding of himself, has a renewed sense of purpose and principles of life. As a Christian Reynold found the Church services at Grace (S.C.C.) Church particularly nurturing and empowering and found inspiration and purification after his visits to religious sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. “As a Christian, I totally agree with Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen, who stated that intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness in his article “How will you measure your life.” Reynold advocates that every MBA student or aspirant should read this short article in the Harvard Business Review.

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The new Nanyang MBA cohort letting loose at the welcome drinks


Reflecting on his MBA study, Reynold has found it challenging, fulfilling and rewarding. He plans to return to China as he believes that he can have a higher impact on the lives of people around him by working in China rather than in Singapore. “I feel lucky that I am pursuing my MBA study at Nanyang Business School. And regarding my career plan, I will seek for a challenging and rewarding role in corporate planning/development. Within 3 to 5 years I aspire to be a strategy director with a large company in China. Then I may pursue an EMBA and seek a general management position.”

Reynold has three main pieces of advice for anyone thinking about studying for an MBA:

1. Have four to six years of job experience from at least two different job functions: “The reason behind is that conceptual courses like strategy demand students to relate to their experience and exposure to internalize the models for maximized learning. Students need to think at the level of general manager to capture the dynamics of management and leadership. (Of course there are many fellow MBA participants with two years of employment experience demonstrating exceptional capabilities and qualities, a WOW experience for me to reflect on myself.)”

2. Identify business schools with a strong reputation in specialisations that match their career interests. “Extensive research into the credentials of professors and talking to alumni and current students are critical.”

3. Talk to your seniors. “Once enrolled you need to talk to your seniors, especially those with the same specialisations, to get their perspectives. By doing these the candidate can allocate his/her limited time wisely, for time is always a scarce resource in any rigorous MBA program. 

Student Reviews

Nanyang Business School

Student

Verified

6/07/2020

Good campus life and extra-curricular activities

This is a great place to learn and interact with more like-minded people. The campus is something that stands out to me. The infrastructure is great and the university is very well-built. There is lots to do on the high campus, from a large number of eating joints to the numerous clubs and sports activities. I also quite like Singapore as a country, as there is so much to do around not very far from campus. The educational facilities are extremely good, there are lots of opportunities to take on research projects and do industrial projects, which I really enjoy. The only thing I dislike about NTU is that the number of international students is really low and I would like to see a larger international intake in the future. Definitely recommend for the amazing educational facilities and on-campus social life.

Student

Verified

12/06/2020

An international campus that provided diverse choices for students

It's a beautiful campus with a high degree of internationality, providing diverse choices for students in terms of research opportunities and career consultation. Also, scholars are knowledgable and very inspiring, and are good at motivating the thinking of students.

Student

Verified

12/06/2020

Great University

In overall, the university has met my expectations with its wonderful lectures and research staff. However, there are some issues with the administrative side, i.e. administration may give you different answers on the same question. Also, the university’s website often provides outdated information and it takes time to get what you need; perhaps there is not enough people for managing it.

Student

Verified

1/06/2020

Good resources

I would recommend. Good resources for research. Knowledgeable professors and instructors. Conducive environment for studying and doing assignments. Helpful staff and faculty. Food options are good. An overall good place to study.

Student

Verified

18/09/2023

On Campus

inefficient communication and lack of transparency

The administrative team at the university is slow to respond and is often inadequate in their responses and solutions. The uni is also unclear and resistant to explain their actions and motivations when carrying out policies or when questioned

Nilah

Verified

13/03/2024

On Campus

Formative experience for success

NTU prioritizes giving students ample time for independent research. The academic schedule consists of 6–7 weeks of study, followed by a week without classes, allowing students to catch up on any material they may have missed. This is succeeded by another 6–7 weeks of study, culminating in a week dedicated to final exam preparation and exams. The curriculum is designed to be student-friendly, minimizing burdens such as excessive assignments, projects, exams, quizzes, and attendance requirements. This approach affords students the freedom to pursue personal interests and self-development. In my experience, each of the four courses I took had a comparable workload, typically comprising 2 assignments, 3 easy labs, 2–3 quizzes (some without), and 1 final exam. In contrast, comparable courses at other universities often entail significantly heavier workloads, including 3 homework assignments, 5 projects, 5–6 pop-up quizzes, mandatory attendance, 2 midterms, and 1 final exam. Moreover, each project typically demands 3–4 days of work. It is hard work, but it pays off.

Lim

Verified

11/04/2024

On Campus

Academic atmosphere

Nanyang Technological University offers a vibrant academic atmosphere that fosters innovation and excellence. The strong emphasis on research and practical learning equips students with real-world skills. Positives include access to state-of-the-art facilities, collaborative projects, and a diverse student body. However, the competitive environment can be intense, leading to high stress levels. NTU's academic atmosphere encourages growth but requires resilience to thrive.

Xu

Verified

11/04/2024

On Campus

Diverse professors

As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I have been extremely impressed with the quality of education I have received. The professors are knowledgeable, approachable, and passionate about their subjects, which makes learning engaging and enjoyable. The teaching styles vary from lecture-based to interactive discussions and group projects, providing a well-rounded learning experience. The use of technology in the classrooms also enhances our understanding of the course material. One of the things I love about NTU is the diversity on campus. Not only are there students from all over the world, but the professors also come from various backgrounds, making the learning environment truly global. English is the main language spoken on campus, which makes it easy for international students to feel at home. In terms of examinations and coursework, the workload can be challenging at times, but the support from professors and classmates makes it manageable. The exams are fair and assess our understanding of the material effectively.

Lee

Verified

11/04/2024

On Campus

Video lectures

As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I am extremely impressed with the transportation options available on campus. The buses and shuttles make it easy to get around the huge campus. The beautifully landscaped garden campus adds a peaceful and scenic vibe to studying. The facilities, from the state-of-the-art labs to the comfortable study spaces, are top-notch. The video lectures are a convenient and effective way to supplement classroom learning.

Jain

Verified

11/04/2024

On Campus

Focus on science

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) excels in its focus on engineering and science degrees. The curriculum is robust, integrating theoretical knowledge with practical applications. Professors are industry experts, providing invaluable insights. State-of-the-art facilities enhance learning experiences. Opportunities for research and internships abound, fostering innovation and professional growth. NTU's emphasis on cutting-edge technology prepares students for real-world challenges. NTU's commitment to engineering and science education is unparalleled, shaping tomorrow's leaders in these fields.

Haidar

Verified

10/04/2024

Blended

great canteens

While at Nanyang Technological University, I can confidently say that the quality of education here is excellent. The professors are knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects, and the curriculum is challenging yet rewarding. The campus itself is green and natural, providing a peaceful and inspiring environment for learning. The canteens offer a wide variety of delicious and affordable food options, catering to different dietary preferences. From local delights to international cuisines, there is something for everyone. The student housing facilities are also well-maintained and comfortable, providing a home away from home for students. NTU's reputation as a top-ranked university is well-deserved, with cutting-edge research and a strong emphasis on innovation.

Naili

Verified

10/04/2024

On Campus

high quality education

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is a top-notch educational institution that offers a wide range of programs and opportunities for students. The campus is well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and the faculty members are highly experienced and knowledgeable in their fields. As a student at NTU, I have had a positive experience so far. The university provides a conducive learning environment and encourages students to think critically and creatively. The campus is vibrant and diverse, with a strong sense of community among students and staff. I would definitely recommend NTU to prospective students looking for a high-quality education in a supportive and stimulating environment. The opportunities for research, internships, and extracurricular activities are plentiful, and the university is committed to providing a well-rounded education that prepares students for future success.

Tan

Verified

11/04/2024

On Campus

Student experience

As a student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the experience is vibrant and enriching. Surrounded by lush greenery, the campus offers a serene environment for studying and relaxation. While parties and nightlife options are available, the focus leans more towards academic pursuits. The campus buzzes with activities, clubs, and events, catering to diverse interests. However, the tuition cost is competitive, offering value for the exceptional education and resources provided. I recommend my university

Ilyanajwa

Verified

11/04/2024

On Campus

High quality of life

As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I'm thoroughly impressed with the quality of education. The faculty is highly knowledgeable and supportive, fostering an engaging learning environment. Tuition fees are reasonable for the value provided. The campus food options are diverse and delicious, catering to various dietary preferences. The transport system is efficient, with easy access to public transportation. NTU offers a high quality of life, combining academic excellence with a vibrant campus culture.

Shi

Verified

12/04/2024

On Campus

good value for money

At Nanyang Technological University, I find the tuition fees reasonable considering the quality of education and resources provided. The university offers diverse programs, experienced faculty, modern facilities, and opportunities for research and internships. While tuition costs are substantial, the value for money is evident in the comprehensive learning experience and the potential for career advancement. NTU delivers on its promise of excellence, making it a worthwhile investment in one's future.

Yu

Verified

7/05/2024

On Campus

Educational experience

I am a student at Nanyang Technological University and I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of my program. The lectures are engaging, delivered by knowledgeable professors who make complex concepts easy to understand. The classroom setup is modern and conducive to learning, with interactive technology enhancing the educational experience. Exams are challenging yet fair, testing our understanding and critical thinking skills effectively. In my leisure time, I appreciate the vibrant campus life, with a variety of clubs, events, and facilities to explore, fostering a well-rounded university experience.

Li

Verified

15/06/2024

On Campus

Studying in Singapore

Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is an incredible place to study. The campus is vibrant and modern, with excellent facilities. Academically, the university offers a wide range of programs taught by top-notch professors who are experts in their fields. The emphasis on practical learning through internships and research opportunities adds immense value to the education here. Outside of academics, student life is equally fulfilling. The campus is alive with various clubs, societies, and events. It's easy to find like-minded individuals and form lifelong friendships. The multicultural environment exposes students to different perspectives and cultures, enriching their overall experience. Singapore itself is a fantastic city for students. The efficient public transportation system makes it easy to explore the vibrant food scene, cultural attractions, and green spaces that the city has to offer. Safety and cleanliness are top priorities, making it a comfortable place to live and study. Balancing studies with leisure activities is manageable, thanks to the plethora of options available.

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