Biz Alumni 18 March 2020

NUS Business School – A foundation to realise my documentary dreams

By Ong Kah Jing


NUS BBA alumnus Ong Kah Jing (Class of 2018) in Oslo, Norway on a documentary assignment for Young Sustainable Impact, an organisation that promotes youth-led sustainability efforts.

The choice of majoring in Business stems from a multitude of motivations. With my sights set on being a documentary storyteller, my main motivation came from the belief that an NUS Business School education would allow me to build a foundation to realise my dreams while making a living.

Few would say that producing documentaries is a viable career choice. Call me stubborn or determined, but I believed I could succeed in creating a path towards my dreams if I understood the fundamental systems of business. In this journey of understanding, I was attracted by the versatility of a BIZAD education, which manifests itself in both its programmes and in many of my peers.

My first documentary production coincided with my first year at NUS Business School in 2015. Titled “The Conservation Conversation”, it would encapsulate the experiences of 28 students who embarked on the inaugural student-run STEER (Student Trip for Engagement and Enrichment) expedition. The expedition involved 11 months of planning and production, four islands across Indonesia, and a total cost of S$40,000. This project would also be the space where I could apply the concepts that I learnt from the BIZAD classroom to the real world.

Ong Kah Jing (back row, first from left) joined the STEER Expedition with Tembusu College at Komodo National Park.

I fondly remember how Associate Professor Ravi Chandran, who taught Legal Environment of Business, would entertain my questions after class as I sought to be competent in negotiating for funding contracts. This is just one of many examples that I have on how exciting it was to put newly found knowledge to practice immediately. I believe this immediacy allowed for a greater appreciation for the content taught in class – after all, lessons are only useful in the context that one can relate to.

I make this point with confidence because I have witnessed it first-hand in my peers, especially those in the Business Leadership Development Programme. For the 20 or so of us, we share many commonalities despite our differences in trajectory and goals. They include the desire to succeed in our own measure, to “win” the game of life, and to right what seems wrong with the world. It is in their honest sharing that I learnt vicariously through their experiences.

The immediate opportunities to apply, to try, fail and to try again reaps value beyond what any grades can hope to represent – so much so that I would urge any student to put themselves in a position to apply what you learn. This position provides perspective, allowing one to be more critical in thought, thus moving towards understanding.

The true value of NUS Business School can only be experienced. And fortunately for me, there were opportunities abound.

Taking part in the Business Leadership Development Programme’s Tri-University Summer Programme, held together with Tsinghua University and Indian School of Business.

NUS BBA alumnus Ong Kah Jing, also known as OKJ, is a documentary storyteller. He has garnered a Best Documentary (Open Youth Category) award in the 2019 National Youth Film Awards, won first place in the AIC Video Competition 2019 organised by the Agency for Integrated Care, and was a semi-finalist in the 2018 Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival. Check out his work at https://okjworks.com/.