2023 MBA To Watch: Remy Tran, National University of Singapore

Remy Tran

National University of Singapore – The NUS MBA

“Charismatic extrovert with a natural leadership style; a multilingual, sporty, sociable, curious, witty, and bubbly character.”

Hometown: Paris, France

Fun fact about yourself: I can bake all sorts of things even with a hand mixer on a chair and a non-functioning oven.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Ecole Centrale de Marseille (Master’s Degree – French Grandes Ecoles) / Cranfield University (MSc Aerospace Vehicle Design)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Kopter Group AG (Zurich, Switzerland) – Project Manager / Avionics System Engineer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Allianz – Management Consulting Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? TBD – London

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • 39th NUS MBA Student Council Sports & Wellness Club President
  • 40th NUS MBA Student Council Club Advisor
  • NUS MBA Achiever Scholarship Awardee
  • Paul Yap Outstanding Contributor Award Nominee
  • The NUS MBA Alumni Leadership Award Nominee

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? One of my proudest achievements during business school was leading the NUS MBA Sports & Wellness Club to victory in the MBA Olympics (yearly sports competition among all the business schools in Singapore). As the president and team captain, I organized internal selections with my core team of seven students, built a cohesive team of athletes through regular communication, and shared activities with them, and helped the team adapt to COVID restrictions to ensure we were ready for the competition. The challenge of bringing the trophy back to our school after a few years and being personally tasked by the Vice Dean added to the pressure, but the collective effort paid off with a win in the overall ranking. I also contributed to the win myself by earning a gold medal in table tennis. This experience taught me valuable leadership skills, such as people management and adaptability, and demonstrated my potential as a leader.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One of my proudest achievements in my professional career was contributing to the design of the AW-09 helicopter model while working as an aerospace engineer in Switzerland. Besides getting the opportunity to work for my dream company, Boeing, in the UK, my role in the development and launch of this new product was a significant accomplishment that required collaboration and technical expertise. Additionally, my experience working across multiple countries, including France, UK, Switzerland, and now Singapore, has given me valuable skills in adaptability and cross-cultural communication. Overall, I am proud of the impact that I have made in the aerospace industry and the opportunity to work with some of the best companies in the field.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose NUS Business School for several reasons. Firstly, the school has an excellent reputation in Asia, which was important to me as I was seeking a new challenge in the region after spending almost 30 years in Europe. I wanted to expand my horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the business landscape in Asia, and NUS was the perfect place to do so.

Additionally, I was drawn to Singapore as a location because of a trip I took in 2017, during which I was deeply impressed by the country and its culture. As someone of Teochew descent who was born in France, I felt that going back to Asia was a natural move to explore my roots and gain a greater appreciation for my family history. It was also a way to bring closure to my family’s experience of leaving Asia nearly 40 years ago due to civil wars.

Finally, I was impressed by NUS Business School’s focus on innovation and sustainability, and its global perspective. I was excited about the opportunity to learn from a diverse and talented group of students and faculty, and to gain new skills and knowledge that would help me make a positive impact in the business world.

Overall, I believe that NUS Business School is the ideal place for me to pursue my goals and aspirations, and I am confident that my experience here has been transformative and meaningful.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I had many excellent professors during my MBA program, but if I had to choose one as my favorite, it would be Professor Ruth Tan, who taught Financial Management at NUS Business School. Coming from an engineering background, I was a finance illiterate when I started my MBA, but Prof Ruth’s teaching style really ignited my interest in finance.

She made me realize that my interest in mathematics and my analytical skills, acquired during my time as an engineer, are a good fit with the finance industry. Her sense of humor and teaching approach made her class interesting to follow and very insightful, demystifying finance in general for me. I remember in particular the first time I did a Discounted Free Cashflow on my own, the time spent on that assignment was very enjoyable and getting the right result at the end of it felt highly satisfying. Overall, Professor Ruth had a significant impact on my learning and my career trajectory.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course was Fintech and Data Analytics by Professor Lee Yen Teik. This course provided a deep dive into the analytical tools and innovations in finance, and taught me how to connect theory with practice by building models, testing them with data, and using them for financial decision-making. I particularly enjoyed the course because it nurtured a product mindset in developing data analytical solutions in finance, and gave me the opportunity to work on creating a fintech product and I ended up producing wireframes for a potential app. Despite being held on Friday evenings, Professor Lee made the course very interesting and lively, and working with my group mates on different projects case studies was a great experience and the cherry on top.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Looking back over my MBA experience, the one thing I would do differently is to defer my start date by a year so that I could fully take advantage of everything the program has to offer. Although the program was insightful and rewarding, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the full experience of an MBA. I missed out on opportunities such as the Global Immersion Programme – an international student-led study trip – due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, which would have given me an unparalleled exposure to different markets and cultures. Additionally, the online learning format had limitations and prevented me from having the same level of interaction and networking opportunities as in-person classes. With the global job market also being affected by the pandemic, a one-year deferral could have given me a better chance to secure more favorable job opportunities after graduation. Overall though, I’m grateful for the experience.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the biggest myths about the NUS MBA is that it only attracts students with a strong business background, but in reality, the NUS MBA program welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those with non-business degrees, and provides opportunities for students to develop their business acumen and skillset. This diversity of perspectives and experiences enrich the learning experience and provide opportunities for networking and collaboration with individuals from different industries and backgrounds.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? One of the things I loved most about attending NUS Business School in Singapore is the city’s vibrant multiculturalism and the sense of economic success that permeates through its bustling streets. As an international student, I was fascinated by the diverse mix of people, languages, and cultures that coexist so seamlessly in Singapore. This cosmopolitan environment made it easy to connect with people from different backgrounds and to explore new perspectives on a range of topics, from business to politics to food. At the same time, Singapore’s thriving economy provides a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the growth and innovation that have made it one of the most dynamic and prosperous cities in the world.

What surprised you the most about business school? What surprised me the most about NUS Business School was the absence of a formal dress code. Before starting my MBA, I had assumed that students would be expected to dress in business attire every day, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case. In fact, many students wore casual clothing like shorts and T-shirts as Singapore only has 2 seasons: Hot or… RAIN! Even the Dean of the school could be seen wearing a polo shirt and shorts while walking around campus. I appreciated this relaxed atmosphere, as it made it easier to focus on academics and networking without feeling the pressure to always look a certain way.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I think what gave me an edge during the application process at NUS was highlighting my personal background and family history, rather than just focusing on my career ambitions. As an Asian immigrant raised in France with a background in aerospace engineering, being a European-born Asian added a unique aspect to my application, which I believe helped me stand out among the applicants.

Additionally, I highlighted in my application how pursuing an MBA in Asia, and particularly at NUS, would allow me to gain a deeper understanding of my family’s culture and heritage. I shared my passion for exploring and immersing myself in the vibrant and diverse cultures that can be found across Asia, and how this would help me develop a broader perspective and unique skillset that I could bring to the global business world.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire the most is Joseph Zhi Yuan Kor. I had the privilege of getting to know him in the MBA program. He was the kind of person who always had a smile on his face and a willingness to help others. He went out of his way to make sure that everyone felt included and supported, and his kindness and generosity made a real difference in the lives of his classmates. On top of all that, he is deeply committed to social causes and spend a lot of his free time working with charities and organizations that were making a positive impact in the world. Despite all of these commitments, he still manages to excel in his studies and be a great father and husband to his family. His dedication and kindness are truly inspiring to me, and I feel lucky to have had him as a classmate.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? As someone who wants to transition from engineering to finance:

  1. To lead a team of analysts and associates in a bank or financial firm, generating high returns and outperforming market benchmarks
  2. To build a successful startup with a unique product that would disrupt an industry and solve a major pain point

What made Remy such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Remy stood out among his peers with his excellent social skills. An avid sportsperson, he led the Sports club to a trophy for the school. I was also struck by his multi-faceted personality—a tech person who is interested in building a career in Finance, and has a strong interest in sports. He has been involved in multiple roles as an MBA student and I am confident that he will continue his strong engagement with the NUS MBA community as he achieves professional milestones.”

Professor Nitin Pangarkar
Academic Director, The NUS MBA and NUS-HEC Paris MBA Programs
Associate Professor (Educator Track), Strategy & Policy Department
NUS Business School

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