Saturday, 8 October 2011

WIB Inauguration

By Clarie Kwa (Nanyang MBA intake 2011)

On the 28th of September, the Nanyang (MBA) Women in Business club held its inauguration at the school's One-North campus. The inauguration's theme centered around "Carpe Diem", translated as to seize the day. 

This theme was chosen for its relevance to us at this stage of our lives. MBA is nothing short of demanding. Other than studying and playing hard, many of us are learning to balance work and family with studies, projects, club activities and even competitions. Quoting Steve Jobs,  “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." Consciously or unconsciously, we all know we want to change something and thus are in this MBA program.  The challenge is, as modern women, we hold multiple roles and are almost obliged to meet expectations as dictated by the society. This inspires a critical question - how do we stay true to ourselves? How do we seize the day? 

Being the pioneer batch, we were extremely privileged to have the support of not just the school, but also our networks. Dr Siri Chutikamoltham, Senior Teaching Fellow and Director for Banking and Finance from Nanyang Business School gave us the honour of making the welcome speech. Our two keynote speakers were Ms Cheong Pik May, Group Director for Integrated Healthcare Information Systems and Mr Soon Loo, CEO and President for Elevation Group and Director for IPIT.

The audience was presented with a question – If you have just 100 days to live, what would you do?

We were privy to our speakers’ sharing and wisdom that stretched our minds. A participant commented that she would like to be with her loved ones. This was countered with a proposition that perhaps our loved ones would want us to be doing something great for ourselves instead.  Dr Siri suggested that she would want to be at peace with herself and thus she would want to seek closure and tie up loose ends. Soon wanted to leave a legacy to impact as many people as possible while Pik May preferred to make a difference to her circle of influence.  The audience was given the chance to interact with one another to share. Someone even wanted to make use of the 100 days to grow her money so that her parents’ future would be secure. While amusing, the question got everyone reflecting on their values in life.

Soon shared a video of Susan Boyle’s first audition. Susan Boyle was a contestant in the reality TV programme “Britain’s Got Talent”. All odds were against her at first glance, given her age and looks but she proceeded to silence her critics with her rendition of “I dreamed a dream”. Soon drove home the message of the importance to stay true to self, have the courage to dream big and live it.

The speakers also made it clear that a support system would be vital. As Dr Siri put it very aptly, the WIB club is a forum for sharing and support. Girlfriends can always be relied on. Pik May recommended having a good team throughout one’s career. She continued to propose the importance of family and marriage. In fact, marriage can be a source of stability for one working in a competitive environment.  She made a clear distinction between equal balancing and juggling of roles and responsibilities. Many mistook a work-life balance as an equilibrium in which both aspects are in equal proportions. However, it is really a juggling act where neither aspect should be allowed to fall through.

It was a very fruitful evening for everyone. The event ended with a toast in the splendour of “Yum Seng” (a Chinese tradition of toasting). New friendships were formed. Contacts were exchanged. Most importantly, everyone went home, with something close to their heart to muse.