NUS MSc 22 April 2020

From filmmaking to business management

Nayan Dhameja (standing) with his classmates

There is a saying that a person’s path is built step by step right from the beginning of their life. For Master of Science in Management student Nayan Dhameja, this saying holds so much truth.

Inspired by his father who is a dedicated and successful businessman in India, Nayan knew he wanted to run his own business since he was a young boy.

When he was a teenager, he started dreaming of becoming a filmmaker starting when his father gave him a camera in high school. This simple gesture many years back stoked his interest in film and photography and has informed his career and life choices.

Nayan with his parents

Nayan pursued an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications in New Delhi where he focused on subjects such as advertising, photography and project management. He then translated his passion into his work and became a freelance filmmaker for various advertising agencies and web channels.

As Nayan gained more experience, he felt that it is time to take the next step. He knew he had the creative skills to make his dream of a digital media agency a reality. However, he realised he needs to learn how to run a successful business. “I knew how to create content but now I wanted to master the skill of selling it,” he said.

Nayan during his filmmaking days

He sees the MSc in Management programme as his next step in becoming an entrepreneur. While he might not have much relevant business knowledge, he sees an opportunity to push his limits at NUS Business School and grow as a businessman.

Nayan sees his future in Asia and believes Singapore, with its status as the gateway to Asia, as a natural choice. By studying here, he says, he can better understand the region’s markets.

Create business opportunities with problem-solving

NUS Business School offers not just a platform to build Management skills but is an innovative learning experience for Nayan. For instance, he says, the Knowledge and Innovation 4.0 module teaches students to explore the negative impact of innovation. Self-driving cars can lead to a reduction in road accidents, but these vehicles can be potentially hacked, he said.

The students also get a chance to apply their new-found blockchain and artificial intelligence knowledge to business ideas. For instance, his team proposed leveraging blockchain technology to make organ donation a secure process. “This module teaches us to create business opportunities through solving existing problems,” he said.

Nayan presenting his blockchain project

Nayan initially had some doubts about whether he would be able to cope with the programme as he had little accounting or finance knowledge. “I was going into a new field of study and had to compete with peers who had business backgrounds,” he said.

Fortunately, the faculty were on hand to coach him until he could keep up with his class. Nayan also worked hard, putting in hours of study and preparation until “I was on par with my classmates within four weeks.”

Some four months into the programme, Nayan says the course is a perfect transition from student to professional life. “I really enjoy the classes here because teaching focuses on experiential learning,” he said.

“At NUS, I am challenged to apply what I learn. There’s a safety net where I am not scared to make mistakes because ideas are respected here, and no one is going to fire you for your failures. The faculty has groomed me to become an impressive presenter and communicator.”

Nayan adds that staying by himself on campus has turned him into an independent person. “I have learned to manage my time efficiently since I now have to look after things like utilities and laundry, along with my classwork and projects.”

He also had time to keep in touch with his hobby of filmmaking using NUS’ Mac-equipped computer labs to edit his videos.

Nayan (centre) with the members of the Masters Club

To have a more holistic NUS experience, Nayan joined the student council body The Masters Club as Director of Event Management to run student events. This, he says, gives him a sense of responsibility to improve students’ learning experience. He is also taking the opportunity to widen his network.

So, what does Nayan have to say about his MSc experience so far? “It has been a positive experience that goes so much beyond just learning, it is life-altering,” he concluded.