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​Transformative leaders with a social cause

Published on: 24-Mar-2020

Our current Nanyang MBA students Tirimurti Vishwajit, Poh Liang Siang Suriani, Malanda Muthamma Ganesh, and Jha Shashank participated in the First Annual Deans' Challenge on 6 March 2020. The challenge, hosted by National University of Singapore (NUS), focused on social innovation; participants had to create and present an innovative business solution targeting plastics in the world's oceans. 

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From left to right: Muthamma, Shashank, Suriani and Vishwajit

Along with the team from NTU and NUS, three other teams from premier schools – Singapore Management University (SMU), INSEAD and ESSEC - also participated in the challenge. Despite the stiff competition, we are proud to announce that our Nanyang MBA team clinched the top prize. We asked the NBS MBA team to share their winning strategy and insights.   

Despite the triumph, the team spoke about their fair share of struggles while prepping for the competition. One of their biggest challenges was finding the best idea to develop into a comprehensive solution that is differentiated from the market and yet still has a significant impact on plastic reduction.

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The Nanyang MBA team being presented with the certificate and trophy 

One of the academic supervisors, Associate Professor Soo Han Sen from the School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), guided the team throughout the duration of the competition. Assoc Prof Han's expertise in technology helped the team to better understand the technology and the parameters to consider, while scaling the technology beyond the laboratory. In addition to his guidance, the team also conducted multiple interviews with their target audience to comprehend how they can introduce the product into the market.

The team shared 3 key factors which they felt contributed to their victory. Firstly, the integration of expertise from the two faculties – Nanyang Business School (NBS) and SPMS - in developing an innovative and comprehensive business proposal for the challenge. Secondly, apart from the environmental impact of the solution, the team also ensured that the business case was feasible, which included the business model, financials and operational elements. Lastly, the friendship and knowledge gained during the MBA curriculum enabled the team to be critical yet supportive of one another's ideas. This enabled them to be able to develop a robust and comprehensive business proposal that they are proud of.

The winning team shared this piece of advice with future MBA participants: It's beneficial to reach out and connect with the science and engineering faculties to find out about the innovative work or research that has been done or is in-progress, as well as build a strong partnership to prepare for the challenge.

The win reflects what NBS stands for: Innovate. Lead. Transform. It establishes how NTU's tech and innovation ecosystem can be leveraged in every business domain to deliver sustainable results for a better future. 

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The winning team with their classmates who came to give their support 

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