Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” This teaching philosophy has inspired one of the School’s core initiatives: the NUS MBA Management Practicum.
Part of the NUS MBA programme, the Management Practicum (MP) is one of the key initiatives for the School. MBA students take many different courses to develop understanding of business fundamentals. But how do they fare, when faced with real-life business challenges? The MP allows our students to apply theories and concepts they learn in the classroom, to real-life business issues, all through extensive, hands‐on consulting projects. Led by Adjunct Professor Sheila Wang, teams of three to four students work with a corporate partner of the School to solve business issues and recommend a business plan, all under the guidance of a faculty supervisor.
On January 24, the School launched the MP as a mandatory module for full-time and part-time NUS MBA participants. The event brought together corporate partners, MBA students, faculty and the School’s leadership to take stock of the MP projects in its first year, key achievements, and its benefits for the parties involved.
“Starting this semester, we’ve introduced two training modules in the MP, based on the feedback from students: One, to train the students on making presentations to companies, and two, on how to act as effective management consultants and manage resources,” says Adjunct Professor Sheila Wang, Academic Director of the MP module.
The initiative has indeed turned out to be a win-win proposition for companies, students as well as the School. Teams of MBAs, supervised by an expert academic faculty members, provide companies with innovative, yet implementable business solutions. Students get rich experience, exposure to real business issues and an opportunity to make an impact. For the School, this adds tremendous value to its education programmes.
Dr Humberto N. Macias, Vice Principal of Integrated International School (IIS), one of the corporate participants, agrees: “What we were really excited about working with NUS MBA students was the creativity. They’re all seasoned professionals coming from different backgrounds, and good businessmen who have strong theoretical background. So we’d bounce ideas off each other and this process has been very helpful for our business.”
But with a rigorous academic programme like MBA, how do students manage to act as management consultants, solving strategic issues for businesses as well? “This project takes us beyond textbooks, challenges us to learn to apply all the theories and management concepts we learn in a classroom, to real business situations. It adds great value to our overall academic experience to become a leader,” says Masana Takahashi, NUS MBA student from class of 2014, who advised ISS for his MP project.
If skills like leadership, collaboration and communication cannot be taught through books, for our MBA students this is clearly the next-best way to learn and grow as leaders.