2021 – It’s been a year, but I remember my first day like it was yesterday. Walking into class, a myriad of emotions ran through my mind. A new country, new people and a plethora of questions clamoured for space in my head.
Months of planning and prepping led to this day, and suddenly, everything was very real. The excitement was palpable. I sat in the classroom on the first day of the MBA International Healthcare Management, a proud representative of my multi-culturally diverse country. At that moment, I felt a deep sense of pride and gratitude to be given this opportunity to share a stage with some of the brightest minds around the world. However, the trepidation was real too. Was I out of my depth here? Would my inexperience be seen as a disadvantage, with most people in the cohort being far more tenured in their field? The thought was intimidating.
Fast forward to 2022, I have come a long way since that first day. From the very first module in Frankfurt, a sense of belonging set in, a feeling of homecoming to a field that has always been close to my heart. A space where I instinctively knew I could forge my own identity and destiny. That’s what the MBA programme does to you. It allows you to explore beyond all boundaries and yet reins you in to focus on what’s real and achievable.
“Cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity” – Robert Alan.
Coming from one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse nations in the world, I was no stranger to working in a multicultural environment, but the MBA International Healthcare programme embodies this quote perfectly.
Classroom lectures and the learnings of the economics of healthcare, strategising different marketing techniques and seeing in real time some of the best innovations in the world was a wondrous experience. Every team assignment was eagerly awaited with bated breath. It meant brainstorming sessions with new people from different backgrounds, each bringing their own perspective and rich experience to the table. It was truly unity in diversity at play!
There were other learnings too, outside of the classroom, from exploring the city of the hour with my course mates to sampling Christmas treats at the Christmas market, gorging on fresh seafood from the Baltimore Harbour and being awestruck by the panoramic view from the top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The passionate discussions and debates that followed these activities were enriching and stimulating, to say the least. Indeed, a wholesome experience that took my breath away.
Our class visited Singapore in September 2022. Right off the bat, I was in awe of the place. On the first day, we were introduced to the representatives of the National University of Singapore for the Biomedical Innovation & Healthcare Start-ups in Asia Day. Here, we were given a holistic overview of the healthcare market in Asia, comparing strategies for commercial innovation in healthcare. We heard from some of the best entrepreneurs from Singapore sharing their journey of biomedical innovation with us. This was followed by an illuminating panel discussion and a networking session by the riverside.
The Singapore module focused on two of the most talked about topics in healthcare, Quality and Risk. Cathy Jones, a visiting faculty from Australia, spoke about some of the key quality measures and risk assessment tools, a subject of avid interest to everyone, regardless of their field of expertise. A quick glimpse into the Australian healthcare system and a technical subject like process management simplified by Professor Sibbel brought the week in Singapore to a close.
We had the privilege of hearing Mr. Bernie Poh, an MBA alumnus and the Chief Executive Officer of Allium Healthcare, who gave us a neat overview of the Singaporean healthcare system. In the end, he left us with a statement which remains engraved in my memory. “Enjoy your travels and make good friends, that is something you will cherish lifelong”.
While I inch closer to the end of my programme, I am left with mixed emotions. A sense of loss of leaving behind my course mates, who I today consider as family, and a sense of excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead for me in my professional journey. The takeaways from this programme are plenty; what remains is how I forge ahead with these learnings to serve society and make a better future for myself.