#Why Guanghua# is a special feature on our MBA students' stories with Guanghua School of Management. Jeremy comes from Singapore and works in the government sector. With more than 10 years of working experience, he not only has rich practical experience in a variety of professional fields, but also has never been content to stay in the comfort zone. There is no "impossible" in his dictionary, but only "meet the challenge, rise in adversity". Let's read his story.
Hometown: I hail from sunny Singapore, a busy nation that toiled to transform her early geographic advantage into competitive financial and commercial growth. Singapore is a beautiful country, and I can spend days telling you how proud I’m of my country!
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love challenging myself and finding the silver lining in face of adversity. “Impossible” is just another word for “interesting”. I’ve faced more quagmires than I can count, and the biggest reward for me is finding that unique spark that turns the situation around.
Previous School and Major: Animal Health, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Senior Manager in a Singapore statutory board
Q: A brief introduction of your experience:
While I’ve worked for the Singapore Civil Service for over a decade, my experience has been a spread across government and industry roles, in both Singapore and China. My area of expertise has also shifted across animal husbandry, animal disease control, and food safety. My portfolios ranged across general management, project management, consulting & advisory, operations control, capacity building and business communication.
Q: What's your biggest accomplishment in your career so far？
My last employer was a newly formed national government body which culminated functions across several existing organizations. When preparing for the formation, we were faced with some 800 seasoned civil servants who were experts of their own fields, but lacked vision and experience in new work areas. We took to task the planning and execution of the on-boarding program for all technical officers, by drawing on the domain subject matter experts across the various segments of operations. This allowed us to unite our staff under the vision & mission of the new government body, and provided a holistic overview of the roles and function in the new work environment, thereby allowing them to map their own competency gaps, and develop curated training plans based on their professional needs.
Q: What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?
My world changed when my infant son was born. When I looked at my beautiful, innocent bundle of joy, I wanted to tell him, “Be the best that you can be. Follow your dreams and passion. Live your life to the fullest”. That definitely sounds much better than “go get a stable well-paid job”. But how do I tell him that if I’ve not done so myself? I needed a change, a transformation, to take the step I’ve distracted from for so long. I wanted to transit from civil service to join the business world, and I found the perfect vehicle in the PKU-NUS Double MBA Program.
Q: Why China (at both macro and personal level)?
The world has always been changing, and the only question is “how”? Posing to overtake USA as the biggest economy in the world, it is inadvertent that Chinese culture and methodology will bring about the next wave of change. I have always found it wonderful how China does things so differently, but yet so well; an alternate journey to the same crescendo. How do I meld the tools in the different system, to bring about something new and unique? How can I challenge myself as a manager, to bring my team to new heights? How do I become an early adopter or even a pioneer of the emerging trends? I believe the first step is in reflecting how and why I am different, and connect that to how the world is changing. No matter how I look at it, my instinct tells me that the journey starts in China.
Q: What was the key factors that led you to determine on Guanghua instead of other schools, and why was it so important to you?
Business in China is very different from the rest of the world. Working in China is also very different from other cultures. Unless one has deep roots and experience in the Chinese modus operandi, there is a need for a fully immersive environment to facilitate adaptation. The Guanghua program allows you to learn and collaborate with some of the brightest minds in the nation. One thing that I did not expect when selecting Guanghua, was that some of these bright minds would also became treasured friends whom I would value for the rest of my life.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the admissions process?
I guess it is a cliché that admission is not easy. From my perspective as a candidate though, I worked hard on getting in and I was fortunate to be recognized by the admission committee, so I can’t point and say which part of the admission process was the hardest. However, I found the essay questions to be the most intriguing. In the process of answering the questions, I had to really reflect upon myself and find the answers from within. This allowed me to critically analyze my strengths, weaknesses, past experience and current circumstances, and help me understand myself better. The MBA learning process starts from the application!
Q: Which industry are you interested in? How and why do you think GSM has helped your career development?
I am exploring two angles at the moment: Food Industry in China, and Management Consulting. The Integrated Practicum Program （IPP） is an excellent platform for me to explore these directions. The consulting project I will be leading happens to be focused on a traditional food manufacturer, so it is really killing two birds with one stone. I look forward to a deeper understand on both aspects, and hopefully it will help me to sharpen my focus for the future.
Q: What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why?
One word comes to mind: Lucid. The word has four meanings, and it turns out that all definitions of the word applies to my friends. They are 1) intelligible & comprehensible, 2) rational & sane, 3) shining & bright, and 4) transparent. These are people you can’t help but love. When you are with them, conversations can switch from serious discussions to crazy antics in a snap of a finger. You laugh together, you cry together, and you know that they are dependable and trustworthy. I’m amazed at how the school managed to put such an incredible bunch together.
Q: What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are?
I had the pleasure of being involved in several high-profile projects, but of mice and men, the best laid plans oft go awry. Debacles and tribulations not only challenge my capability and adaptability, but also my mettle and worth. My team and I would put in everything we have to tackle such situations. Sometimes we succeed, but sometimes we don’t. Success builds assurance and confidence, but every failure is a life lesson.
Q: What’s the plan after graduation, and where do you see yourself in ten years?
We age, we get wiser, we grow. Just as there was no way for me to answer this question ten years ago, there is no way for me to see who I will be in 10 years. Otherwise life would be pretty boring wouldn’t it? Yes, I have interim goals and plans, but that is simply the best projection I can make with information on hand. It is just a way to push and stretch myself, to be the best I can be, in a focused direction. There will be success and failures. There will be unexpected opportunities which I would grab and leverage. But I can’t tell for sure what my accomplishments will be. All I know that I’ll be true to myself, to put in the best efforts in whatever tasks I set upon, and to establish new systems and infrastructure that is not just lucrative, but also meaningful to humanity.