NUS BBA 07 April 2016

Learning beyond the classroom via field projects

Real learning starts when students apply what they have learnt in school to serve the community.

Field Service Projects (FSP) provide such an opportunity – for students to work with an established organization. They get to learn directly from the organisation’s management while engaging in real-world business issues. It is also an excellent networking platform for students as they prepare to enter the real world when they graduate.

Most importantly, FSPs challenge students to deliver as they must ensure that their recommendations can be executed, and is not merely a paper exercise.

When Khoo Teck Puat – National University Children’s Medical Institute (NUHkids), wanted to determine the level of awareness of paediatric services offered by NUHkids, as well as to study the intended behaviour of parents when their children fall ill, they roped in a team of Business School undergraduates.

This group of students – Bryan Wang, Joshia Kwa, Shirlynn Oh and Eunice Tan –were also tasked with proposing strategies on how NUHkids could reach out and build greater awareness amongst the target audience.

FullSizeRender (002)

Clockwise from bottom left: Shirlynn, Bryan, Eunice and Josiah enjoying their experience with their supervisor, Assoc Prof Ang Swee Hoon of Marketing.

Starting with the project objectives and deliverables, the team had to manage all aspects of the project from:

  • Deciding on sample size and target audience
  • Sampling methods
  • Designing a fair survey questionnaire
  • Conducting the survey
  • Analysing the results
  • Delivering the findings in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.

timelineThe project timeline shows the scope of work involved and the range of skills, in particular, project-, time- and self-management as the project stretched over six months:

Team members shared their learning experience:

Joshia Kwa – The FSP has been an insightful and meaningful experience. A key takeaway was identifying strangers who would be willing to accept an interview. The process of brainstorming, data collection and analysis was also really fulfilling because I could envision how it would have a positive impact on the clients and future patients. More importantly, the application of theories from paper to practice appeared to be the most daunting and challenging as I attempted to marry the two to the best of my abilities. Truly, for all its intents and purposes, this consulting project has achieved its purpose.

Shirlynn Koh – I have learnt so much from the experience. Skills-wise, I learnt how to translate numbers into significant findings and managerial implications for the client. I also learnt how to interact and engage with strangers as part of conducting the public survey. The FSP allowed our team to showcase the skills that we have picked up from school over the years, culminating in the execution of this project. To work with external vendors to aid them in their business operations whilst under the guidance by our professor is truly an experience that is unique to the FSP.  

Wang Bryan – The most important lesson was learning to interact with strangers we approached on the street to conduct our survey. This was not helped by the comprehensive survey we designed! We learned that crowded areas like malls were not the best place to approach people as they were generally in a hurry. Instead, we used a strategy of walking out to the heartland playgrounds and approached mothers with their children playing outside, engaged them in conversation, which made them more likely to do the survey! Learning to interact with strangers is definitely an important lesson I will remember for a long time!

Interested in taking part in an FSP too? Check it out at http://bba.nus.edu/bba/fsp.htm