Published on 26 Apr 2022

Paying It Forward

Signing up for a complimentary class and inspired by the instructor, some 35 alumni decided to give their ‘tuition fees’ to the NBS Student Aid Fund as a way of paying it forward

A group of alumni from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore, Nanyang Business School (NBS) found a creative way to give more than $6,000 to the NBS Student Aid Fund. It began when they signed up for the “Introduction to Private Equity and Venture Capital” course designed and conducted by Ashok Samuel, formerly a Senior Vice President at GIC. “The complimentary course was offered to alumni who were keen to learn about private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC),” said Ashok.

Apart from sharing his knowledge and experience with the participants, Ashok emphasised the importance of seeking positive social impact in the PE and VC space. This includes improving practices that encourage greater diversity, equity and, inclusion as well as giving back to the community.

Passionate about social causes, he encouraged the course participants to reflect on the privilege of attending the course on a complimentary basis, and to consider contributing to those in a less privileged position.

Sharing Is Caring

Ashok explained why the class made the collective decision to contribute to NBS Student Aid Fund, which was set up by the School to provide direct financial support to NBS students experiencing financial hardship, and allow them to focus on their education and well-being.

“Tertiary education can transform one's future, particularly if it is from a leading university like NTU. It is unfortunate that many young people are unable to seize opportunities for further education just because they come from a financially disadvantaged background." he said.

Acknowledging that he is a beneficiary simply by being able to attend the course, Jeremy Tan, Senior Strategy Associate at Abdul Latif Jameel, explained why he was inspired to contribute.

“I see myself as being both a recipient as well as a donor. Those of us who participated in the course benefited as recipients of Ashok's time and wealth of knowledge, which he offered freely. Further education serves as a key tenet of social mobility and I am glad to have the opportunity to pay it forward,” said Jeremy.

Rekindling the Connection

The course, which took place over six Saturdays from 15 January to 26 February, was attended by 35 alumni participants with diverse backgrounds and industry experiences. Being able to network and interact with a diverse group of fellow alumni members proved to be a rewarding experience. 

Ashok delivering a class on investing in PE Funds, explaining typical PE deal organisation structures and deal-related activities

 Edwin Wong, who graduated from the Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA programme more than 10 years ago, said that the course was a great way to reconnect with NBS.

“Many of us had graduated some time ago and this helped us to rekindle the lost connection with the school” he said.

The Chief of Staff (APAC) at Global Blue added: “Having the chance to apply the learned concepts during the weekly case study discussion created a topic of common interest where like-minded individuals were able to debate and exchange ideas both during and after class,” Edwin added.

Learning to Stay Ahead

Conducted over six physical sessions spanning two hours each, the participants learnt the technicalities of deal-making in the PE and VC space. Through case study discussions, they delved into the thought processes of how PE and VC firms operate, aspects of investor and investee selection, as well as terms negotiation.

Course participant Hazel Chen, Senior Manager, Group Business Development & Partnerships, at Grab, commented on why she found the course insightful.

Said Hazel: “In my current role, I occasionally work with our Corporate Finance teams to evaluate if certain companies are worth partnering with or investing in. This course helped me to understand the methods of evaluation and the technicalities of deal-making.”

“It is heartening to know that our alumni courses are beneficial in fuelling the continued professional growth of the participants and helping them to reconnect with other alumni and NBS,” said Assoc Prof Chung Lai Hong, Assistant Dean for Alumni Affairs at NBS.

“We are grateful to be able to tap on the expertise of distinguished professionals such as Ashok Samuel to create courses that are not only relevant and practical but also instil passion in our alumni to make a positive social impact. We encourage all NBS alumni to continue their learning journey with us and discover how our programmes can enrich them.”

Class representatives presenting a token of appreciation to Ashok Samuel (centre) at the end of the course 


For more information about alumni continuous learning programmes, please visit our website