“Seeking meaning, impact and effectiveness in society.”
Fun fact about yourself: When I was young, I dreamed of being an actor. In some senses, I’ve succeeded. Not by being a Hollywood celebrity, but by having my actions mean something.
Undergraduate School and Degree: Stanford University, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Bachelor of Arts in Economics
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I am an Administrative Officer working for the Government of Singapore. My last role before enrolling in business school was as the Director of the Public Service Commission Secretariat, Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office. This role entailed overseeing the formulation of conduct and disciplinary policies for public officers, as well as developing potential future leaders in the Public Service through PSC scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Prior to this, I had been seconded to the National Trades Union Congress (Singapore’s federation of labor unions) and served in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Manpower. I was also involved in various non-profit organizations focused on community and youth development, such as the National Youth Achievement Award (the equivalent of the UK Duke of Edinburgh’s Award) and *SCAPE Co. Ltd.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Global Strategy Division, Schneider Electric, Barcelona, Spain
Where will you be working after graduation? The Government of Singapore. I will be expected to return to lead a key department in one of the government’s ministries or agencies.
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I chose not to run for formal positions in IESE in part because I wanted to learn more about how one could contribute in less formal settings. Thus, I’ve had the chance to, among others, help startups refine their business plans to change the world (we hope), run a marketing campaign for a local social enterprise, publicize sustainable business practices through online platforms, coach fellow students in preparation for their job interviews and help connect people with opportunities to do more and learn more.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I prefer not to talk about pride and more about meaning. Pride is fleeting, but meaning can be profound and sustained.
One of the things I really appreciate about IESE is how the school has the higher purpose of business and management tools in its DNA. This came out very strongly in many of my classes, including one led by Professor Iñigo Gallo where we had the opportunity to run an internet advertising campaign for a local social enterprise, Brafa, that focuses on youth development and education. We managed to bring in 39,000 impressions and 1,300 clicks in less than two weeks on a limited budget for them. This was meaningful on different levels. First, as a student, I had the opportunity to learn new skills ranging from Google Adwords to Content Marketing. Second, and more importantly, it allowed me to apply these new skills in an impactful way to help society. It’s moments like that make me cherish my experiences in IESE.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Similarly, I found great meaning in many of the things I had the opportunity to do with the Singapore Government. I’ve had the chance to coordinate national efforts to support economic growth with the right type and number of manpower, propose legislative changes to safeguard the security and public order of our country, and play a role in finding and developing talent for the Public Service.
I’d be hard pressed to say which was the most meaningful, but I would say that some of the most touching and personal experiences have not been the “big” things, but rather the times where I had the chance to engage and interact, personally, with the people whose lives my actions touched.
I’m reminded of one time a team I was in was about to propose changes to regulations for a sector of the economy. We had met with the large players, who had seemed supportive. But we still had one more person to meet – the leader of an association of the small companies, those with whom the big ones would sub-contract. This gentleman was elderly, walked slowly, spoke cautiously and seemed concerned when we shared the proposals with him. I can’t go into the details, but in the end, we took into account some of his concerns and tried to make the changes less tilted in favour of the big players. It might be a small gesture, but it can mean a lot to people like him.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Rather than my “favorite,” I’d like to name a Professor I think other people should know about as they think about the type of education IESE offers. I’ve already mentioned Professor Iñigo Gallo. In addition, I’d say that Professor Eduard Calvo has been a very positive force with his energy and dedication to making sure clueless and clued-in MBA students learn enough about operations to be useful in the world.
What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? A very meaningful course was the one on Management Control taught by Professor Eric Weber. There we learned different variants of control and empowerment, and that, ultimately, these had to be driven by values and purpose.
Why did you choose this business school? IESE’s mission of developing leaders to leave a “deep, positive and lasting impact on people, firms and society” resonated with me, as did the idea of having the two years to learn, grow and transform.
What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Meeting new people, debating ideas, and putting dreams into action.
What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? The breadth of personalities and backgrounds of business students, and the commitment of many to making the world a better place.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be clear of your values, and let these drive you in what you do and say.
What is the biggest myth about your school? In general, that academics and business schools operate in ivory towers.
IESE is on a hill, a pretty steep hill to walk up every morning, that perhaps serves as a metaphor for the resilience that it hopes to impart in its graduates.
What was your biggest regret in business school? Not being able to extend the course for another year! There is still so much to learn, so many people to meet and so much more to do.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I’d say Jessica Fallon, who was a teammate. She exudes a positivity towards living, working, studying and serving that is quite rare.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I saw how such an experience would complement my decade of public service and enable me to learn new and different ways of shifting paradigms for society.”
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…two years older and lacking a phenomenal experience.”
If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I don’t think one day is the correct timeframe for this question. Such changes need to be longer-term and sustainable. It is dangerous to think any one person has the correct answer to issues affecting living, breathing organisations that touch the lives of people, especially in one day.
What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I’d like to be able to lead an organisation that leaves a large, positive impact in society.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? My wife, my family, and all the people I’ve worked with or studied with who have given me support and learnings in one form or other.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? They don’t need to, but I hope I’ve left a positive impact on them.
Favorite book: The Little Prince. I identify with the idea that the essential is invisible to the eye.
Favorite movie or television show: The Dark Knight
Favorite musical performer: Nature.
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere without internet.
Hobbies? I read, run, rollerblade, swim and sleep.
What made Terence such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?
“I know Terence as his Academic advisor. In addition to that, I was the mentor of Terence’s team during his 1st year of MBA program.
From the start, Terence has shown high level of leadership abilities, excellent team building and project management skills, quick adaptation, and a continuous desire to learn and grow. Most importantly, he has been willing to put that to he service of his peers specially to those in need for academic or personal help. He has been instrumental for one member of the team to do well academically. After he realized she was lagging behind on several classes offered and helped her with those classes.
His high level of energy and connecting with people accompanied by high level of professionalism and work ethics made Terence an important part in the success of his team. His team was composed of 8 people from 7 different nationalities, including Asians, Europeans and Americans. When conflict arose as a result of deadline, different backgrounds, and strong personalities, Terence was able to help in managing such conflict constructively.
Terence keeps himself to the highest levels of standards, continuously pulling himself to do better than before. However, he is willing and open to advise and help others who might not have such personal drive.
Terence work drive does not diminish his interest for other life dimensions. Specifically during his MBA he has been supporting his wife’s career, helping her to find ways to develop it successfully.”
Mireia Las heras
Associate Professor of Managing People in Organizations