ECOSOFTT – 2019 ‘Business as a Force for Good’ Winner

Congratulations to ECOSOFTT for winning the ‘Business as a Force for Good Award Singapore 2019 Edition’. Sam Al-Schamma (TIEMBA ‘13 ), a board member and investor in ECOSOFFT, accepted the award on behalf of Marcus Lim (TIEMBA’13) and Stanley Samuel (TIEMBA’13). ECOSOFTT is a social enterprise aimed at addressing the global challenge of water shortage, scarcity and quality.

ECOSOFTT was founded by two graduates of the INSEAD TIEMBA programme, Stanley Samuel and Marcus Lim, both TIEMBA’13J. Their work has helped numerous communities become self-reliant, water secure and sustainable. It has also transformed the lives of thousands of women and girls who have returned to school or learnt economically-useful skills, since they no longer need to spend hours each day collecting water.

ECOSOFTT’s vision is by 2050 to treat over one-trillion litres of water per day; enable 10,000 communities to become water smart; and protect, clean and restore a thousand water bodies.

It is wonderful to see so many INSEAD alumni enabling ‘Business as a Force for Good’. We look forward to recognising other initiatives like this again next year!

Entrepreneurship Interview Series #2

Our Entrepreneurship Interview Series continues this week with Ramya Ragupahi MBA’14D, owner and founder of Oh My Goodness! – the region’s only gluten-free certified food company. Read what inspired her to establish the business, the most enjoyable and challenging moments, and advice for alumni also thinking about starting their own company.

Name of your company and year it was established: Oh My Goodness! , April 2017

Key takeaways after graduating from INSEAD: Community is everything. When you’re surrounded, inspired and seeking out individuals who are buzzing at that same level as you, it’s all you need to make magic happen.

What motivated you to establish this business? You know what they say: “if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself!” I was trying to solve my own problem of not being able to find anything good to eat with all my newly discovered food allergies and sensitivities.

What are the most fun and difficult things about your business? The most fun part is meeting other people who are into the same kind of food and love the goodness of food as much as you do. Every single day is also different which keeps me engaged and always on my toes! The difficult part is being responsible for others. Everything changes once you hire people to work for you, which makes finance management so critical as salaries and rent make up the bulk of our expenses.

Any advice for alumni thinking of starting a similar business? Please stop the cash burn that’s so prevalent in the startup world – some of us could really do with that cash! Hahaha. Your starting point isn’t necessarily the fancy co-working space and be prepared to not take a salary – especially not your post-MBA salary – for a while.

Interesting / fun fact about yourself: If I were re-born and could choose to be anything I wanted to be, I’d be a dancer.

Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you first started out? I may have thought a bit more seriously about starting a business while $150k in debt…hahaha

How are you preparing for recovery after the pandemic? Preparing? Is that a thing? Hahaha. This pandemic is so unpredictable with its twists and turns I’m not sure anyone can really prepare prepare for it in any real way. All you have to do is keep breathing and flow, I think.

Book you’d recommend? Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog is a must for entrepreneurs starting a business out of pure (almost insane) passion and with no initial “seed funding” or “angel investment” to speak of (like me!).

What is your leadership style? Whatever the opposite of micromanagement is.

What keeps you up at night? “Will I make rent and salaries this month?”

Predictions on work trends post Covid: Possibly a fervour for wanting to connect as humans more at the workplace. Well, that’s what I hope! Ha!

Future plans:

  • For the company: to grow it to a point where it makes sense to handover to someone who can turn it into what it can truly be, with our fullest potential realised.
  • For me: spending a year in France in 2024 while the company runs itself and I watch from afar in pride.

One thing you’ve yet to cross off on your bucket list:

  • For the company: exporting our first container.
  • For me: a holiday in the Galapagos islands or an Alaskan cruise!

** Ramya is offering all alumni based in Singapore a special discount of 10% off all collections on Oh My Goodness! & an additional 5% discount off corporate orders. Please contact her directly for more details.

Check out our new Members Business Directory for more business owned and managed by IAA SG members.

Volunteer Interview Series – Week 5

In this week’s volunteer interview series we feature a VERY SPECIAL volunteer –   Virginia Brumby MBA’09J, ExCo member for social events and IAF, and recent recipient of the esteemed 2021 INSEAD Alumni Volunteer Leader Award

Virginia’s volunteering work has been instrumental to the success of numerous IAA programmes and initiatives over the past 12 years. Read about her journey and some of her most memorable moments.

2021 EGM – Electronic Voting Notice

Notice is hereby given that electronic voting will be conducted for the 1st Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of ‘The INSEAD Club of Singapore’.

We require the participation of IAA Singapore members to vote on 3 motions:

  1. To release funds of upto SGD 25,000 to seek legal advice on the future structure of ‘The INSEAD Club of Singapore’. Click here for details.
  2. Vote in Abdullah (Apo) Ozkececi, MCCC’19Dec-S as Vice-President (as required by the IAA SG Constitution Article VI.A.4).
  3. Vote in Vibhor Gupta, EMBA’21Jan as Secretary (as required by the IAA SG Constitution Article VI.A.4)

Members will receive an email from [email protected] on 16th November 2021 with the subject: INSEAD Alumni Association Singapore EGM 2021 – Voting. Do check your SPAM folder if you have not received this email. Voting ends on 3 December 2021 at 7.45 p.m.

Results of the votes will be announced at the virtual EGM. This event is for IAA SINGAPORE members only. You can register for the event here.

If you have any questions/feedback, please write to President, Jaz Athenia Chua TIEMBA’16Jan;Vice President-Elect, Abdullah (Apo) Ozkececi MCCC’19Dec-S; Treasurer Amy Xu MBA’14J or Secretary-elect Vibhor Gupta EMBA’21Jan

THANK YOU

We thank the below outgoing Executive Council members for their contributions:

  • Board Member for Marketing and Communication– Jean-Francois Legourd, MBA’12D for serving 3 years in this role and we wish him success in his start-up.
  • Board Member for Clubs– Julie He, MBA’13D for serving 2 years in this role. We wish her tons of energy for her new baby and continued happiness for her family.
  • Secretary– Brad Fraser, MAP’18Apr for his time and effort serving as Secretary and welcome his continued volunteering efforts as a mentor in our mentorship programs.

Volunteer Interview Series – week 3

This week’s volunteer interview series features Vineet Kumar GEMBA 2018, an IAA Singapore mentor specialising in early talent and entrepreneurship. Read about his predictions on work trends post Covid, advice for alumni thinking about volunteering, and more. 

Current job title and company: Senior Director- Industry Marketing (Asia Pacific & Japan), SAP.
IAA Singapore volunteering position: Mentor specialising in early talent and Entrepreneurship
Length you have been volunteering for: 3 years
Reason for volunteering and key takeaways: I’ve always had the privilege of learning from industry leaders and wanted to share this positive experience with others. In collaboration with my mentees, the mentorship process has also helped me understand new challenges and find innovative solutions.
Interesting fact about yourself: I joined INSEAD wanting to gain the insights and skills to start my own entrepreneurship journey however, after attending the “New Business venture” course in San Francisco, I decided to pursue venture investing instead. Currently I’m an angel investor in multiple companies across Asia, using my experience to help them scale their business.
Predictions on work trends post Covid: I feel Covid has helped society realise we need to take time out to celebrate life. I also don’t see people returning to work in an office like before. Working from a beach shack, mountain hut or jungle pod, will become mainstream instead.
Ideas on how we can support fellow alumni facing significant challenges during the pandemic: Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic in more ways than we can imagine. We should create a community for engagement and sharing that brings everyone closer and provides comfort without being judged.
Advice to members thinking about volunteering: Get on-board, don’t overthink. Knowledge increases in multiple ways when it’s shared.
What book are you reading? Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. It’s a story of a disadvantaged child who achieved great results through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work. I’m seeking inspiration from this astonishing life story and stay hungry to pursue my dreams.

Volunteer Interview Series – week 2

This week our Volunteer Interview Series features Miranda Chen TIEMBA’19, mentor and co-organisor of our mentorship programmes. Amongst other things, read what advice she has for alumni thinking about volunteering and her ideas for supporting members facing significant challenges during the pandemic.

Current job title and company: General Manager Business Development, Asia Pacific; TUV Rheinland Singapore Pte Ltd

NAA Singapore volunteering position: Mentor and co-organisor for NAA Singapore’s mentorship programmes .

Length you have been volunteering for: 1 year

Reason for volunteering: To stay in touch with alumni, continue to develop new skills and knowledge, and make a contribution to the community.

Key takeaways after graduating from INSEAD: Learning is a lifelong journey. I’ve also had the invaluable opportunity to make good, lifetime friends and meet and be inspired by great women from all over the world.

How are you adapting to the pandemic? I've had to be more innovative, creative and flexible, especially at work.

Ideas on how we can support fellow alumni facing significant challenges during the pandemic? Collect feedback from fellow alumni about their concerns and topics of interest, and then organise online seminars on the related topics.

What do you like about your job? I’m working in an international testing, inspection and certification company. I get to develop new business according to customers’ needs and interact and liaise with different colleagues globally each day.

Advice to members thinking about volunteering? Volunteering is a good way to stay in touch with INSEAD alumni, make new friends, and it doesn’t require you to retire.

Interesting fact about yourself: I arrived in Singapore alone when I was 18 years old. I’m a resilient learner: from Polytechnic (Ngee Ann Poly) to the world’s renowned business school (INSEAD & Tsinghua); from Assistant Engineer to General Manager; from Singapore to Greater China and Asia Pacific.

What book are you reading at the moment and why? I’m reading A WOMAN MAKES A PLAN by Maye Musk. She writes “You can’t control everything that happens, but you can live a happier, healthier and fun-filled life at any age. All you have to do is make a plan!” I am super inspired by Maye Musk. I think I could achieve more in the future as long as I keep on learning new things and staying positive.