Biz Alumni 11 April 2017

Adjunct profs bring industry insight to the classroom

At NUS Business School our faculty come from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some of them balance jobs in industry with teaching roles at the School as adjunct professors.

We asked two of our adjuncts, both of them NUS alumni – Anuprita Bhomick, (NUS MBA class of 2003) a Director at Hewlett Packard, and Maurice Tan (NUS BBA class of 1991) a Director at Microsoft – to tell us more about what they do.

Adjunct Prof Maurice Tan (second from right) and his class

 Why did you become an adjunct professor at NUS Business School?

AB: As an MBA student, I used to often contrast what I was learning in class from my textbooks and professors with what I had learnt on the job from my colleagues, bosses and mentors. Also, I appreciated the insights that the part-time MBA classmates brought from their functional or industry expertise. I became an adjunct professor to keep the classroom learning experience as close to the real world learning experience for our students.

MT: I’ve been in close contact with the NUS alumni association since I graduated, and for several years have been mentoring business students with leadership potential. I found myself energised by the interaction with my mentees and watching them embark on successful careers. That gave me confidence to take the next step to explore teaching and eventually join the adjunct faculty. I find it a privilege to work with a group of smart and motivated students in Asia’s top business school.

Adjunct Prof Anuprita Bhomick (front left), together with one of her classes

What do you think adjunct professors bring to the learning experience at NUS?

MT: I like to think that we help bring concepts alive with real examples of how they are put into practice. We provide a perspective on how strategic frameworks are applied and highlight what it takes to ensure successful planning and execution. Personally, I try to keep it real and relevant for students who are always curious to understand how their acquired knowledge can connect and be more relevant at their future workplace.

AB: Adjunct professors bring a wealth of industry knowledge. They have learned how to navigate and survive in the corporate world and students can lean on their practical, hands-on experience. Our adjunct professors not only solve case-studies, they’ve actually lived the case study. It’s a whole new level of understanding when you’ve been there, experienced that.

Adjunct Prof Anuprita in action

 How does being an adjunct professor contribute to your own learning?

AB: When you have to teach, you have to learn doubly hard – not only to satisfy your own curiosity, but to satisfy the collective curiosity of the students. I take student feedback very seriously, and implement as many improvements as I can. Over the years, I realise that I’ve made substantial progress, not just as a teacher, but also as a corporate citizen.

MT: I consider this my Continuous Learning Platform and a source of self-motivation to reflect on what I have learned so far in my career. Synthesizing those learnings with academic concepts and then structuring them into an MBA Module has been a very instructive exercise. As an adjunct I’m constantly on the look out for real examples that can be incorporated into my class sessions.

What are the current big trends in your industry that get you most excited?

MT: In the last 10 years, the centre of gravity in Consumer Tech has rapidly shifted towards more powerful software, cloud computing, big data analytics resulting in a flood of disruptive business models with broad impact across the economy. Currently we are at the beginning of the next technology revolution characterizes by Artificial Intelligence, Deep Machine Learning, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality that are transforming the way we work and play. In a recent case study on the mobile phone industry, our class discussed the emerging technology forces shaping the future and the implications for industry and consumers. I have the opportunity to leverage and bring into class unique industry insights relevant to my industry.

AB: Working in the tech industry, what gets me excited is getting more and more people connected to the internet, enabling them with information at their fingertips, and making their lives simpler using technology. Big data is enabling us to make decisions with vast amounts of hitherto unreachable information. Algorithms tell you constantly what people like you would have done, bought, eaten, the list goes on. High speed data processing is happening not only in data centres but also at the intelligent edge – for example, split-second decisions have to be taken by driverless vehicles. The entire gamut of corporations like to describe themselves as technology companies now. This makes me very proud.

Adjunct Prof Maurice calls this class a roomful of future CMOs

What’s your one piece of advice for future leaders going through business school today?

AB: There is absolutely no substitute for hard work and there are no shortcuts. Dream big and work incredibly hard every single day to achieve your dreams. Work harder than everyone else around you.

MT: The surface area of human knowledge and understanding continues to expand at an exponential rate. This is fuelled by the internet democratising the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Our future leaders need to be great connectors of ideas and talent to create new economic and social value enabled by this expansion of knowledge.

 Anuprita Bhomick teaches the MBA courses Strategy and Big Data and Current Trends in Growth Markets; Maurice Tan teaches the MBA course Big Picture Marketing