Conquering the Gobi Desert

The NUS team displayed consistent team spirit and teamwork throughout the gruelling four-day trek through the Gobi Desert

Harsh terrain and unforgiving climate conditions did not stand in the way of the NUS contingent, who successfully completed Gobi Desert Challenge 2018 from 2 to 5 May. The 48-member group, spread over Teams A, B and C, included students from the NUS Executive MBA (Chinese) Programme, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS Business School Dean Professor Bernard Yeung, NUS Enterprise CEO Dr Lily Chan, as well as faculty, staff and alumni.

The event is an annual test of endurance and teamwork for top Asian business schools with Chinese Executive MBA programmes and sees participants traversing 112km in the Gobi Desert starting from Ta’er Temple (塔尔寺) and ending at Bai Dun Zi (白墩子). During the journey, participants battle a wide variety of demanding terrain, ranging from rolling hills and volcanic pebbles to salt beds and hot desert sand. The 2018 edition saw more than 60 schools taking part in the race.


The jubilant team members with Prof Tan (standing in the centre)

Prof Tan and Prof Yeung participated in the one-day challenge on the first day of the race alongside faculty members. Prof Tan is no stranger to the Gobi Desert Challenge, having participated in three previous editions of the Challenge, while Prof Yeung is a first-time participant. Dr Chan, also participating in the Challenge for the first time, took up the gauntlet of participating in the full four-day race. In all, some 36 NUS participants consisting of students, faculty and staff participated in the full race.

The annual Gobi Desert Challenge is an important component of the Executive MBA programme and NUS has participated in every edition since 2007. The students began training for it about two years ago, after they enrolled in the programme. Training was ramped up in the last year, with the students training once every three months.


The team members experienced riding on camels

The participants did the University proud, winning the Endeavour Award (奋进奖) for demonstrating impressive team spirit and excellent resilience, as well as the Shackleton Award (沙克尔顿奖) which is awarded to schools whose Teams A and B showed 100 per cent completion. This is the fifth time, and third consecutive year, that NUS has been presented with the Shackleton Award.