Mr Daniel Wong took the MITHM-MBA at JCU to be equipped with skills related to innovation and entrepreneurship to set up a restaurant business
Jan 10, 2019
Previously an interior designer, Mr Daniel Wong, 28, made the unlikely switch to be a restaurateur.
After he obtained his Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management — Master of Business Administration (MITHM-MBA), Mr Wong opened The Obelisk in August last year, a restaurant in Tanjong Pagar serving Singapore-European cuisine and unique cocktails.
When he enrolled in the master’s degree programme at James Cook University Singapore, he had wanted to start a business and signed up for the university’s MBA to learn business strategies. But he had no particular industry in mind then.
Things changed when he met Dr Jenny Panchal in the MBA elective module Hospitality And Gastronomy. She saw his interest in the area and encouraged him to switch from the MBA to the MITHM-MBA.
There were some overlaps in the modules between the two programmes, so Mr Wong could make the switch comfortably.
Mr Wong got the idea to open The Obelisk while he was doing the MITHM-MBA module Innovation And Entrepreneurship, which required students to draw up a business plan. He came up with the concept for his restaurant from discussions with his lecturer Adrian Bradshaw.
“Dr Bradshaw was constantly helping to refine my ideas and guiding me,” says Mr Wong.
Another lecturer, Dr K. Thirumaran, who also teaches MITHM-MBA modules, nudged Mr Wong towards the food and beverage industry too.
Mr Wong says: “Among many other skills he taught us, what I learnt from Dr Thiru was to take that first step and never be afraid of trying.”
The comprehensive modules were also useful. For example, the course materials from the module Marketing And Customer Engagement guided Mr Wong in the handling of the restaurant’s marketing strategies. Mr Wong credits his family for being supportive, especially his mother and wife.
“I wouldn’t have opened the restaurant had it not been for their encouragement and belief in me,” he says.