By Joey Low (15A01C)
Some of you may be carefully considering how to spend your Monday mornings now. Other than those of you who are determined to further your relationship with your bed or your lecture notes and tutorials, there’s pretty much a plethora of options available through the Monday Enrichment Programmes, one of which is the Business Leaders Programme (BLP). Hopefully, this article will help those who are considering this particular programme better understand what it is all about.
For starters, the name should already give you a general idea of the programme: it’s for aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to push the boundaries and conceptualise a visionary plan for their own dream businesses, moulding them into the Warren Buffetts or Larry Pages of tomorrow. After all, if you dream of being like Gru, with little minions to execute your every command, even embarking on ambitious (albeit less villainous) plans, BLP is the programme that should teach you the little details of how to get there.
Exactly what does this programme entail?
We meet once a week every Monday, just like all the other enrichment programmes in the allocated venue, typically the Hodge Lodge (yay for bean bags!) or one of the seminar rooms. But for our first session last year, we divided ourselves into groups of around six to work on the nine-month long ‘business’ project. I put this in quotation marks because all this consists of is writing a business plan (which, by the way, most of us can probably tell you, is harder than it sounds, but wholly satisfying in the end) and presenting it to a group of judges at the end of the year. Whether or not your group and you choose to make it a reality is really a matter of choice.
While writing a business plan is definitely not an easy task, rest assured that the programme does provide you with the necessary information on how to craft your plan and do your research. The two hours you spend every week with your BLP peers routinely involve discussions with your ‘business partners’ and lessons by Mr Francis Tay, who is a very respectable and knowledgeable person in the field of business leadership. He is also very friendly and enthusiastic, even bringing us snacks every week to start each session on a high note! Occasionally, there will even be talks by other successful businessmen in which they share some of their innovative tips and secrets that helped their businesses grow.
But other than sitting in classrooms week after week (which, to be honest, can be a little tiring when you have CCA and endless tutorials being thrown at you), there are other things to look forward to. Did I mention we had the chance to attend an actual pitching session at the Singapore Management University (SMU)? We were presented with some amazingly creative business ideas, even having the opportunity to interact and network with people familiar with the current business environment. It was quite the eye-opener.
Beyond all that, the biggest and most interesting activity in the program is really the week-long internship that you get to experience during the December holidays. I spent 8 days at Fish&Co. with 5 other students in BLP learning about both the back- and front-of-house operations in their establishment. You may not like F&B, but don’t worry because there were many other options available to us and there will be for you too, from start-ups to big name businesses like A.S. Louken.
Well, you don’t have to take my word for it. Ask any other year 6 who has gone through BLP and I’m sure they’ll tell you that the internship was awesome.
Now, the first lesson we learnt was that you should always capture your reader’s attention in a short and sweet executive summary, so I’ll stop here. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what BLP is all about. And before I go, yes, I did enjoy myself. For all those applying, I hope you do too!