NUS BBA 27 April 2017

Embracing attitudes to succeed in NUS Business School

Believing in living life to the fullest, that was exactly what BBA Year 4 Lionel Tan has been doing his entire student life in NUS Business School. Specialising in Marketing, Lionel has travelled around Europe during his student exchange programme in London, competing in case competitions, experiencing hall life and much more.

Here, he dispenses advice on the attitudes to embrace during the time spent in university and how NUS Business School has prepared him for the challenges to come after graduating.

In Shanghai where Lionel’s (first row, left) team conducted market research for a company during the Bizad Leadership Development Programme

Q: How will you explain what ‘Business’ is to your juniors?
LT: Business in simple terms can be defined as creating and capturing value. Creating value refers to understanding what your target consumers need or desire and creating a product or service to meet this need. Capturing value then refers to the process of marketing and selling this solution for a profit. That to me is the foundation of ‘Business’ which can be further enhanced through great operations and financial control.

Q: How did you decide to enrol in NUS Business School?
LT: I have always been curious about how businesses operate and why some succeed while others do not. I also had a couple of brief entrepreneurial experiences previously and was keen to deepen my understanding on how one can sustain these businesses beyond just ideas. NUS Business School was especially appealing to me because of the academic rigor and I believed that it would be a good training ground for me to develop the necessary skills to succeed within the diverse business industry!

Lionel (second from left) and his team presenting their Field Service Project (FSP) recommendations at OPPO Singapore’s office

Q: What are some of the memorable experiences during school? 
LT: A personal academic achievement that I never thought possible was placing on the Dean’s List every semester. Separately, I founded my own company during my stint in school. From my exposure to some modules, I was convinced that human capital remains one of the most crucial resource of any business. I took up a certification in Emergenetics, a psychometric profiling tool that reveals one’s thinking and behavioral preferences through neuroscience. Despite being the youngest certified associates in the region, my business partner and I have shared our knowledge by training over 100 individuals over the past 2 years!

Q: How do you think you’ve achieved all these great feats?
LT: I think I’ve been guided by three main traits throughout my student journey. In fact, it would be relevant to anybody who believes in continuous learning, and wanting to succeed in this rapidly changing environment, even beyond school.

One, is drive. Setting your mind on achieving anything – whether it is academic or non-academic. I personally find it difficult to take ‘no’ for an answer and will keep pushing through until there is absolutely no chance of success.

Second, you need to be focused. People are often surprised at how I juggle so many commitments. The key is to commit to every task such that every minute of effort translates to an equivalent amount of output. Also, taking a break or breather is not ‘weak’. I would take a break when I’m feeling unproductive and return to the task when I am 100% again.

Last but not least, we must learn to collaborate. I find great joy from succeeding not as an individual but as a team. Hence, I have really enjoyed group projects throughout my university education. Watching how strangers turn into collaborative team mates, supporting the growth of one another and achieve success together, makes success even sweeter!

Welcoming a group of Swedish exchange students in Singapore

Q: What are your plans upon graduation?
LT: I will be pursuing work in the field of management consulting. The steep learning curve will enable me to grow tremendously during the early stages of my career. Furthermore, the role will definitely broaden my exposure in terms of industries, practice areas and international business as many projects will surely go beyond the shores of Singapore.

Q: How has NUS Business School prepared you for what is to come? 
LT: At the end of four fulfilling years at NUS Business School, this is a place where I have forged life-long friendships, engaged with wise mentors and stretch my limits to exploring my potential. I was presented with ample opportunities to train and participate in case competitions, work on real business problems with local companies such as Oppo, and experience first-hand the inner workings of entrepreneurship as well!

Celebrating their win at Unilever Singapore’s Future 50 competition!

Q: What’s the most important thing you would like to tell incoming students, or even juniors? 
LT: Find your interest with joy and not do things for the sake of doing. You can reap great rewards if you anchor your endeavours on intellectual curiosity and good work attitude. Speak to seniors and professors to identify the endless opportunities available and define your own journey at NUS Business School!

To find out more about the BBA programme, visit