International learnings hit home for MBA cohort

Having completed their capstone, MBA students reflect on insights from the international component of their studies – which included a trip to Singapore.

University of Auckland Business School students got the chance of a lifetime to experience Singapore’s innovative business environment earlier this year, with a week-long trip touring some of the country’s top commercial hot spots.

The international visit is an essential element of the Business School’s MBA programme, giving students an opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom – and a crash course in the scale of innovation and growth happening outside of New Zealand.

For MBA candidate Vanessa Williams, the most welcome surprise from the trip was the willingness of leading industry figures and innovators to meet with them and share their knowledge.

The culture of Singapore, coupled with the University’s powerful brand name meant it opened doors for us to support our learning and research.

Vanessa Williams MBA candidate

During the trip, the group heard from speakers including Maggie Christie, New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner to Singapore, and experts from the Hinrich Foundation Centre, whose mission is to advance sustainable global trade.

Students sitting in chairs in front of a speaker with a presentation on the screen in the background.
The group visited the Hinrich Foundation, a philanthropic organisation working to advance sustainable global trade.

They saw first-hand how innovative businesses are supported through initiatives such as Innovate 360 (Singapore’s first Food Accelerator and venture fund) and One-North LaunchPad, which acts as an incubator for the next generation of revolutionary businesses. The group were also able to get a look at innovation in practice with a tour of the research and development facilities at Shiok Meats, the world’s first sustainable seafood company cultivating cell-based seafood and other lab-grown meats.

“The ecosystem they’ve developed to support startup businesses and drive innovation is impressive,” says MBA candidate Brett Sweeney.

“The level of infrastructure, support and collaboration devoted towards these initiatives shows forward planning with the potential of significant economic prosperity. Singapore is doing exceptionally well in this space, driving innovation.”

A group photo of the MBA students with NZ Trade Commissioner to Singapore Maggie Christie
Maggie Christie, New Zealand's Trade Commissioner to Singapore, spoke with the students during their trip.

Fellow MBA candidate Heera Bhullar says his time in Singapore helped him understand what it really takes to set up an international business venture – and the fast-paced itinerary proved inspirational.

“The pressure of having a condensed time frame and the pull factors for the available learning opportunities resulted in a high-risk, high-reward situation that heightened my aspirations and ambitions,” he says.

For these students, the business trip helped solidify the transformational experience of studying towards the MBA.

“It is not easy, but it is so worth it,” says Vanessa.

“You grow so much as a person, meet some truly amazing people and advance the way you see the world.”