I left the bus stop along Parker’s Piece with 4 bags in tow, determined as any driven MBA student to haul and drag them along the pavement, all the way to the college. My excitement for the first 5mins was soon overcome by the enthusiastic wobbling of my trolley bags – its small wheels were no match for the cobbled stone sidewalks. If I had brought a little dog along with me, I would have said, “Toto, I don’t think we are in Singapore anymore”.
As I settled in, I realized that my experiences this year would be a comfortable balance of stability and excitement. The friendliness and warm welcome given by the JBS and college staff immediately made me feel at ease in my new surroundings; the traditions of the college and the esprit de corp of the student body reminded me of the military life I was used to; and the services and amenities available in the city ensured that I would be as comfortable as I would be at home. On the other hand, the city and University, with its many short-cuts and running routes would offer interesting adventures for the curious mind; the many social events lined up by the business school and the college would allow me to meet people from all walks of life and enlarge my worldview; and the classes I would take at JBS would broaden my understanding of leadership and management.
I have often been asked how an MBA would be of use in the military, and the short answer is “quite a lot”. I am certain that the series of Economics lectures would help me better understand the responsibilities and expectations of delivering a credible and reliable public service such as national defence; the Management Science and Consulting series would help the military professional to manage a range of defence resources sustainably and with prudence; and the entrepreneurial aspects of the course would help engender a mindset shift from a largely hierarchical one, to one that is more innovative and adaptive.
I know that this year is going to be a fantastic year for me in Cambridge – exciting, useful and life-changing. It is often said that the first impressions are the most lasting, and certainly some of my first impressions of Cambridge will definitely last me a very long time.