2021 MBAs To Watch: Roger Tan, National University of Singapore

Roger Tan

National University of Singapore, NUS Business School

Reliable, trustworthy and always keen to help others.”

Hometown: Singapore

Fun fact about yourself: I’ll take a good ice latte anytime of the day! (Yes, iced only.)

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Business School

Bachelor of Business (Marketing)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Kadence International, Senior Insights Executive

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Allianz Insurance Singapore, Singapore – Digital Strategy and PMO

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • The NUS MBA Excellence Award recipient
  • Vice President of The NUS MBA Students’ Council AY 2019-2020
  • Moderator for NUS Business School Postgraduate Fair 2019
  • Facilitated and moderated the Social Innovation Challenge organised by The NUS MBA Social, Ethics and Impact Club

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  It was being part of the winning team of a case challenge as part of the module Consulting 2.0, where we had the opportunity to present a case challenge to the President of P&G APAC and MEA and other senior leaders at P&G.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At Kadence, when there were operational challenges in executing a project for a global bank, I was entrusted to lead an in-house initiative, and managed to increase Kadence’s pool of mystery shoppers by 500% in 3 months.

Why did you choose this business school? The NUS MBA is right at the heart of a highly dynamic business landscape. Singapore is the regional hub for many multinational companies, and there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in this dynamic business landscape. The NUS MBA curriculum also provides the opportunity to learn more about businesses in the region.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? It was Professor Joel Goh for Operation Management. His energy during his case-based classes brought the best out of everyone in analysing the case together, and consistently stretched our thinking and perspectives. He was also very approachable, and provided my team with advice for our Consulting Project module.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? At the start of the MBA programme, as part of the orientation process, we had a dragon boat race as one of the finale events of the entire orientation process. The emphasis on teamwork, hard work, and friendly competition really did accurately reflect our time at The NUS MBA.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would probably look to stretch myself further, explore the start-up scene more, and have a better understanding of the highly dynamic startup and venture scene in Singapore. Admittedly, there were many resources and opportunities that I did not fully leverage in my time at The NUS MBA.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth that I’ve heard is that The NUS MBA is a highly academic school, where grades take utmost priority. While grades were important, academically, our professors were always quick to emphasise our learning and its application instead of just focusing on the grades. Outside of academics, there were consistently events, speaker sessions, and other learning experiences where we could engage. In the end, the MBA experience is what you make of it.

What surprised you the most about business school? It was how much of a melting pot of different cultures that the business school turned out to be. Prior to pursuing my MBA, I was often engaging clients, colleagues, and vendors from other countries in the region, and felt that I was well-prepared on this front. However, the business school was an even more diverse group of people and I had the chance to work closely with them on a wide variety of topics. Through this, I was able to learn from everyone’s unique experience and perspective.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? When I came to the decision to pursue my MBA at NUS, it was the result of extensive research and speaking with seniors and administrators at the school, and the school-fit was clear to me. I then had to be able to clearly articulate that train of thought throughout the application process, from the entry essays to the interviews. Through those, I was able to connect the dots on what I wanted to achieve post-MBA, to how The NUS MBA fits into the picture. At the same time, this also means that I was able to express how I can contribute and bring value to the cohort too.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kat Volante, President of The NUS MBA Energy Club AY 2019-2020. In addition to the achievements that she led at the Energy Club, she often unreservedly goes the extra mile and has contributed to the student body in many other various ways. Despite similarly juggling a wide range of responsibilities, I always knew that I could count on her to spend time and offer help when and where needed, and she also consistently delivers high quality output!

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Initially, it was definitely disruptive, as there was very little notice given when the switch to moving some classes online was made. Teething problems in the course delivery was evident. However, I felt that NUS was relatively quick to adapt, and was able to set in place systems and ensuring that all professors are aligned. At the peak of the pandemic, when all classes were officially conducted online, the university was much more prepared in terms of the SOP for Zoom classes, and the professors were also much more prepared to deliver the modules online. Thereafter, the transition to hybrid mode was a much more planned process, and there were minimal hiccups. This was all thanks to the administrators at NUS Business School who put in the long hours to ensure all these panned out smoothly.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? To be honest, there was no single person who had influenced my decision to embark on my MBA journey. As I progressed through my career at Kadence and setting a personal career goal, pursuing an MBA was part of the route to achieve that. Speaking with my colleagues, peers, and my family helped greatly to validate my decision, and strengthened my conviction to leap into the MBA programme on a full-time basis.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. I want to drive business growth and lead the business’ expansion from Singapore to other international markets.
  2. I want to be able to inspire and lead others in my field/team

What made Roger such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Roger is one of the most diligent and thoughtful students I have seen in many years of teaching. He always does his groundwork and contributes measured and balanced responses in discussion within as well as outside class. His high energy and tremendous commitment to The NUS MBA student community have seen him contributing to many events and thus gain varied and rich experiences.”

Professor Nitin Pangarkar
Academic Director, The NUS MBA



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