Monday Memory: Bad Apples come good

Cullen and Wesley’s journey as entrepreneurs began in a High School rock band and they now have their own watch company. Like

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

Cullen Chen and Wesley Kwok, 2012 graduates from the International School of Beijing (ISB), met in Grade 7 and quickly bonded over their common taste in music. They started after-school jam sessions and a lifelong friendship that led them to become co-founders of Nodus Watches.

To understand their entrepreneurial drive, you have to return to their high-school years. Wes and Cullen formed a band, Bad Apples. They produced an EP and played paid gigs. 

The rockers and watchmakers told us that in many ways Bad Apples was their first business endeavor together – they learned how to manage money and handle marketing, all while doing what they loved most at the time, playing and producing music.

The story is typical of how ISB encourages students to pursue their passions. Wes remembers weighing whether to apply for jobs after university or start a company with Cullen. He called ISB faculty member Juan-Carlos Lopez, who responded, “You two are like square pegs trying to fit into circular holes. Keep doing what you are doing,” and so they did.

Speaking at a recent ISB alumni reunion, Wes and Cullen said that even as High School students, they were best at the things they felt most passionate about, so it is no surprise that this carried over to their adult life.

ISB is proud to be celebrating four decades of helping young people find their place in the world like this. This year, everyone is invited to join in celebrating the 40th anniversary through a range of events. Check out the Celebrating 40 web page for more details.

Past and present students, parents, and staff – please send your photos and memories of ISB to for your chance to be featured here and in the Celebrating 40 Exhibition.

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Four champion language speakers would know that ISB dai biao le shi jie ji de yu yan xiang mu he shuang yu chen jin ke cheng translates as ISB has a world-class Chinese and dual language program.