The NUS MBA is ranked #14 in the latest Financial Times Global MBA

Shikha Malhotra, India

The NUS MBA Class of 2020
Job Title

Describe your personal brand.

A full-time creative thinker, a part-time fitness and sustainability enthusiast, and a lifelong proponent of chasing dreams.

What were you doing before The NUS MBA?

After completing an engineering degree in India, I started my career as a Business Analyst in advertising strategy and campaign management at a global ad network. After more than three years of working with some of the biggest brands and experiencing accelerated professional growth, I moved to a digital agency based out of New Zealand, a year-long stint that got me exposed to the challenges encountered by small and medium businesses. Right before coming to Singapore in 2018 for MBA, I worked as Head of Strategy (Marketing and Sales) for a corporate apparel business, helping them set up and grow the online retail division.

Why did you pick NUS?

NUS Business School was at the intersection of my interest in the Asian business environment and my desire to share the room with people from different geographies, mindsets, and schools of thought. Having spoken to many alumni and hearing their stories from the classroom to the boardroom, I learned that at NUS, I’d be able to carve out a galaxy of my own with the plethora of opportunities around me, both personal and professional.

Please share your key achievements and leadership roles on the programme.

What has been the single most stand-out experience of your MBA?

Held in January every year, the MBA Olympics brings together sporting teams from various B-schools in Singapore for one day of adrenaline-pumping moments. At NUS, we take the Olympics very seriously (winners for three years in a row from 2017 to 2019), so the tradition is to start the trials and preparations (led by The NUS MBA Sports Club) as early as September, only one month after our official orientation! Despite tricky schedules marked with semester deliverables and internship hunting, students step up, take ownership, and motivate each other to team up and bring their A-game on the day. As a member of the core team, I saw my peers struggle with pain on some days, yet they never backed down, so when you lift the trophy together, the feeling is extraordinary. More than 25 nationalities play together for one spirit – NUS. The strong support from the school is proof enough of how a culture of passion, persistence, and partnerships is fostered throughout the programme.

Tell me something about The NUS MBA that others might not know.

A lot of students think that NUS is focused only on academic learning, and the extreme pressure of lectures, assignments, and exams will interfere with their holistic business school experience. What they do not know is that NUS prepares you for the business world by providing you with both academic and experiential learning opportunities. You only need to know how to make the best of it in the 17 months of the programme.

Who is your personal hero? What is it about him/her that you admire?

In the current context, someone who has inspired me beyond imagination with her fearlessness and perseverance in the ongoing battle against Covid-19 is my aunt, Ms Vandana Verma. She works as a Senior Dietitian at one of the busiest hospitals in New Delhi, India. Although I have seen her fight the toughest of circumstances ever since I was a kid, I have been at a loss of words looking at her commitment to her patients, her team, and her family these past few months.

Where do you see yourself in 5 - 10 years’ time?

With the unprecedented crisis that we are facing right now, so much has changed about where we wanted to be and what we wanted to do. I am glad that I channelled my MBA programme towards learning and preparing for digital innovation and enterprise transformation, and that is something I’d like to focus on, at least for the next few years.

What advice would you give to other MBA aspirants?

The pandemic has had a sweeping impact on economies and people. As an aspirant, you should be prepared for the new world. Your skills will definitely help you, but as a future leader, you must value empathy and optimism and build a strong character as you navigate unchartered territories. Don’t hold yourself back. Be proud of who you are. Start your MBA journey with zero expectations. Let it surprise you.

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