International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year where the spotlight is shone on women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality. This year, the campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter.
We take the opportunity to showcase success stories and the journeys of our Biz Sch students, alumni and faculty.
Fung Hui Xin, BBA Year 2
NUS Bizad Charity 2019 Committee
Recipient of SEA Games 2017 Bronze and ASEAN University Games 2018 Gold
Hui Xin has been training and competing in Wushu events for the past 14 years since she was in Primary 1. She said, “The journey is definitely not easy and it takes a lot of perseverance and resilient to remain competitive.”
Even after tearing her knee ligament in 2015, she stayed strong and kept the “Never give up” spirit. Her personal mantra: It is important to trust yourself and always challenge your own capabilities and limits.
NUS MBA Women in Business Club
Led by President, Shikha Malhotra and Vice President, Jessa Hontiveros
Shikha said, “We started the club to start conversations about gender diversity, build on the culture of inclusion, expose students to multiple ways of breaking stereotypes and gender-driven myths and drive them to overcome societal influences when making career choices. As a club, we are looking at building an online platform to bring together current and past women alumni to work closely on corporate level initiatives. There’s so much to be done and we are up for it.”
Deborah Chew, UCLA-NUS EMBA Class of 2015
Chief Operating Officer, Emergenetics Asia Pacific
Co-Founder, Project Happy Feet
Deborah shared, “20 years back, I never thought I’d be a woman leader. I didn’t start off my career being ambitious. Instead, I started off knowing I wanted to give my best in everything I chose to do, even until today. So whether it be leading my company, or giving back to the community, I always seek to give my best, and to learn from others around me along the way.”
Her advice: We determine what success looks like. Success isn’t about not failing. As women, we are sometimes hard on ourselves when we fail. But we need to remember that failing doesn’t define us. Rather, it gives us an opportunity to learn; an opportunity to be better, every time.
Neha Tripathi, PhD Year 5
Management and Organisation
As an engineer by training, Neha never thought she would pursue higher education after her Masters. However, after working in various corporate roles, her intrigue by human motivation and behaviours in the workplace inspired her to further her studies while raising a child.
She said, “The most common question I get asked is whether it is tough pursuing a doctoral course and raising a toddler at home. While it’s not easy, I feel I’m more focused due to my strong family bond. For me, I think both are complementary to each other.”
Huang Kuo-Fen, EMBA-C Class of 2011
Deputy General Manager, First Cosmetics Works
President of Taiwan Alumni Chapter
Besides organising alumni activities for the School, Kuo-Fen has also been leading transformation within her family’s business where she successfully launched lifestyle DIY products that are easily customisable and available for women.
Associate Professor Sarah Cheah
Management and Organisation
Just this year, Assoc Prof Sarah has published two new titles – Entrepreneurship: An Asia Edition and Unlikely Innovation. The former showcases entrepreneurship theory and practice in this region while the latter is a collection of case studies illustrating technological disruptions, challenges and success in corporate innovation.
Harmony Tee, BAC Class of 2016
Founder & Funeral Director, Harmony Funeral Care
Upon graduation, Harmony worked as an auditor at Ernst & Young. Having a grandfather who was the pioneer of the undertaker business in Singapore, and also wanting to do something different, she decided to switch careers, going all in into the funeral trade. Despite many objections, including her mum, Harmony said, “I took the plunge and entered a trade I knew nothing about. After months of being in the funeral trade, I knew that this would be something I’d like to do for a lifetime. In fact, i do not see it as just a job. It is more like a ministry to me where I minister the bereaved through this difficult time of coping with their loss.”
Sylvia Saw McKaige, UCLA-NUS EMBA Class of 2011
CEO and Founder, Salween Group
Founder of current affairs magazine Frontier Myanmar and social enterprise KeKokua Group that promotes beekeeping and honey production in rural Myanmar
Sylvia sees herself as an entrepreneur at heart. After a long career in traditional media, she founded Salween Group in 2012 to help business people and brands get their voice heard through engaging storytelling. She quotes Winne the Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Her advice: This is your world, shape it or someone else will. We should always protect our dreams, ideas and goals. At every twist and every turn, just remember, “You got this!”. When every big opportunity arises for you to become the best version of yourself, step toward it and just remember, “You got this!” The bar is only as high as you set it.
Yi Suqin, MSBA Class of 2020
Assistant Vice President, Data and Analytics Team, Singapore Exchange
Suqin joined SGX as a Technology Associate (a 2 years management associate programme for Technology) and went on to the Data and Analytics team where she assumed a dual role: To drive innovation and culture change within the company to adopt new technology, and the other is to develop program and analytics to ingest data, provide insights to business and automate operation activities. Suqin also recently emerged champions at the Chengdu FinTech80, a FinTech Design and Development hackathon where she had to develop a working prototype within 80 hours.
Naithy Cyriac, NUS MBA Class of 2014
Managing Director, YCP Solidiance
Naithy believes her non-conventional choice of being based in a frontier market like Myanmar after MBA has allowed her to be at the forefront of the country’s growth; directly advising Clients like Nestle, Toyota, World Bank Group, other Fortune 500 companies and large Asian conglomerates on market entry and expansion, and more. Naithy is also a pro bono advisor to “Plan Bee”, a Myanmar based social enterprise aimed at empowering beekeepers in Shan state as well as the candles and soap produced by the women in the communities in Northern Myanmar.
Naithy said, “True leadership is a conscious choice. I have had to put in a lot of conscious effort, embrace unfamiliar environments and take on unique challenges to overcome my self-doubt to be able to hold my own and provide advice on critical business decisions to a room full of senior executives. Continuous learning and development are only possible after a period of pause and reflection aimed at identifying your “zenith”. Leadership comes from within and as women, we can seize opportunities by leveraging our natural strengths while not hesitating to reach out to the right people for support. Positivity and persistence definitely go a long way as you continue on your personal journeys.”
Dr Chen Chunhua, EMBA-C Class of 2000
Dean of Beijing International MBA (BiMBA), National School of Development, Peking University
Dr Chen has been named among Top 25 “Most influential female business leaders in China” for four consecutive years. She singlehandedly promoted cooperation between the Mulan Welfare Foundation and Peking University, that led to the establishment of the Mulan Academy with its three programmes which began in 2017: China Women Leaders 20; New Leaders’ Camp and Female Entrepreneurs. The Academy has created a new professional platform for Chinese women in business and was this year’s most innovative and significant milestone in Chinese business education.
Associate Professor Audrey Chia
Management and Organisation, and Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
Co-director of the NIHA (NUS Initiative to Improve Health in Asia) Healthcare Leadership Programme
Assoc Prof Audrey collaborates on research with colleagues in Public Health on the integration of workplace safety and health in Singapore. Using leadership and change as theoretical foundations, she studies how social and health problems can be addressed by social entrepreneurship and innovative philanthropy.
We thank all of them for their inspiring stories and are excited to hear more of their personal journeys in the days to come. #IWD2019