NUS BBA 12 December 2019

An experience of a lifetime- undergraduate students work with Top 50 SMEs in Singapore

Each year students assist CEOs and decision makers of top 50 SMEs to understand and study their business models, value propositions and business operations. Through this “Enterprise 50” (E50) educational project, the students work in small groups under the guidance of a professor to propose solutions to business challenges. The project serves as a critical link between the Business School and the SME sector given their growth mind-set and School’s resourceful talent pool.

Motivated by the entrepreneurial passion and business acumen of the CEOs, they learn about their leadership ideology. As consultants, students also analyse various business processes, identify gaps and propose recommendations to the CEOs. It is an inspirational journey that helps undergraduates take a real look at how businesses work – and gives organisations a chance to benefit from the students’ fresh perspectives. The collaboration exposes students to industry and opens up the possibility of working with these companies in the future.

Students compile a special report in the form of articles profiling each company, which are published under the E50 series in The Business Times. In keeping with its ethos of championing local businesses and inspiring future generations of entrepreneurs and leaders, E50 collaborates with the School to preserve the success stories of award winners in a commemorative coffee-table book, “Enterprise 50 – The best SMEs in Singapore”. A limited number of copies are signed by the guest of honour and sold for S$5,000 each, and funds raised go towards the NUS Business School Bursary Fund. To date, a total of $593,860 has been raised to help students from underprivileged families.

From left: Boey Chun Weng, Yeo Yan Ling, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, Nahidha Shaikh, Chua Sue Yu, Prof Ruth Tan and Prof Jochen Writz
From left (Back row)- Zhuo Lin Lin, Lexus Lee, and Darren Tan

BBA Year 4 student and E50 Bursary recipient Nahidha Shaikh had the opportunity to interview two CEOs– Mr Jeremy Fong, Fong’s Engineering and Mr Hwee Li Ong, SAC Capital. “I learnt the importance of being nimble in an ever changing business environment. Both CEOs highlighted the importance of hard work and business reputation. It is extremely important to be responsible for your actions and lead by a good example,” she said.

BBA Year 4 student, Boey Chun Weng, who worked with CEOs, Mr Alan Lee, Elmich Pte Ltd and award- winning Chef Mr Collin Ho, said, “My friends and I learnt first-hand what inspired them to set up their companies, and how they overcame the obstacles they faced over the years. I admire their ability to come up with innovative solutions and turn challenges into opportunities.”

Students celebrating joy and success at the gala dinner with faculty supervisor Prof Ruth Tan (Back row, third from left) and CEO Susan Chong, Greenpac, NUSEMBA Alumna (Class of 2012)- also a donor to the E50 book.

Prof Jochen Wirtz, Vice Dean, Graduate Studies with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat receiving a copy of the commemorative coffee-table book, “Enterprise 50 – The best SMEs in Singapore.

The 25th anniversary gala dinner marks the culmination of the project for the students and supervising faculty Associate Professor Ruth Tan. It was a true celebration of the spirit of innovation, excellence and success of the students, as well as the 50 outstanding companies on 26th November 2019. Guest of honour Heng Swee Keat, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, graced the event.