MR CALIN Remus Stefan may be a veteran in the gaming industry, but he did not take a gamble when it came to advancing his education.
The director of casino operations at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) did extensive research before embarking on his Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) offered by the University of Hull at PSB Academy.
Says Mr Stefan, 41, a Romanian who relocated with his family to Singapore from Macau in September 2015: “I did an online comparison of various universities that run EMBAs in Singapore — looking at price, starting timelines, topics covered, length of the programme and accreditations. I then scored them on a scale of 1 to 5 on each of the points and did a running total.”
The University of Hull’s EMBA offers experienced managers the opportunity to gain deep knowledge in fields ranging from accounting and finance to marketing communications and project management.
A key appeal of the programme from one of the United Kingdom’s leading business schools is the flexibility it affords busy senior executives like Mr Stefan, who has to juggle work, family and school.
It should give you, besides the qualification, a more in-depth and expanded knowledge of today’s business managing environment; prepare you for entrepreneurship; and expand your network.
MR CALIN REMUS STEFAN, director, casino operations, Marina Bay Sands
He particularly appreciates the carousel system, which allows one to start studying as soon as one is ready, fitting into the next module.
“I decided upon University of Hull because it fit my current needs and I could study and work without jeopardising either one.
“Hull’s schedule is unique because it allowed me to commence my studies right away, without having to wait until the next intake. “Also, I wasn’t required to go to school every week, which would have been nearly impossible for me,” says Mr Stefan, who works 10 hours a day, five to six days a week, depending on the period.
He manages the daily operations of the various segments within the casino, ensures that his team provides top-notch customer service and that all gaming activities are conducted within the regulations set by the government and MBS.
The EMBA programme requires him to attend school for six consecutive days every five to six weeks, and take 13 modules, in addition to writing a dissertation.
Altogether, the course will take about 500 contact hours to complete on a part-time basis. Mr Stefan is on track to graduate in 2018.
Having worked in the gaming industry for 23 years, Mr Stefan has no lack of technical know-how, but he wanted to better understand how businesses compete in today’s globalised world.
He is already applying the lessons learnt in school, despite having only completed three modules so far: Complex Project Management, Research Methods and Dissertation, and Marketing Communications in a Digital World.
The ability to directly translate classroom knowledge into actionable strategies at work makes Hull’s programme a value-laden one for Mr Stefan.
“As a company and department, we have many projects in progress and under development. The module on Complex Project Management gave me a better understanding of how to run projects and how to crunch timelines and budgets.
“The Marketing Communications module was extremely helpful too, as we run marketing exercises such as tournaments and events all the time, and communication is key to success,” he says.
Balancing the rigours of work and school is no easy feat, and Mr Stefan is thankful that his employer is supportive.
“This year, I’ve had to travel several times on business, and managing work, family and study on top of that is a big ask.
“I am lucky to have a very understanding and supportive wife, and I have also received a lot of support from my managers,” says the father of a 12-year-old girl and eight-yearold boy.
His wife also works at MBS as a manager of services in the Very Important Person (VIP) area.
Mr Stefan says MBS sponsored 60 per cent of the overall fee for his EMBA programme, which costs around $32,000.
He feels the extra time, money and effort spent is worth it. “It’s definitely worth the investment, and I am, in a way, sorry that I haven’t done it earlier in my career.
“It should give you, besides the qualification, a more in-depth and expanded knowledge of today’s business managing environment; prepare you for entrepreneurship; and expand your network,” he explains, adding that he has already recommended the programme to several colleagues and friends.
“I am confident that I will be better prepared for whatever will happen from here on,” says Mr Stefan, who hopes to move up to a vice-president role one day