MBA @ Singapore on your radar? Here’s a close look at the Nanyang MBA

Fewer people will definitely be crossing oceans and going to business schools as the number of GMAT registrations has reduced for the first time in five years. The Asian MBA may just prove to be a good option in these times and Nick Soriano, Admissions Director at Nanyang Business School, Singapore takes us through the nitty-gritties of the MBA programs at the institute and explains the admissions process, financial assistance and other important issues concerning the institute.

What would be an overview of the MBA program at Nanyang Business School?

The Nanyang MBA comprises 16 courses and students also choose between an International Business Study Mission (a short two weeks stint in a foreign location), a dissertation and two full courses. The Nanyang MBA program has a duration of 16 months (four trimesters) full time. Students can opt for a general MBA, a specialized MBA program or a Double Masters. There are eight specialized MBA programs which offer specialization in accounting, finance, marketing, strategy, international business, international studies, technology management and knowledge management. The fee for The Nanyang MBA is S$ 50,000. Nanyang Business School also offers a Double Masters MBA in association with Waseda University, Japan(12 months, $ 58,000, conducted in Singapore), Essec Business School, Paris (2 years, $ 50,000 excluding tuition, air fare and accommodation) and St Gallen, Switzerland (2 yearss, 60,000 Euros plus S$ 20,000). The Double Masters global MBA at the latter two schools would involve spending a year each in Singapore and in France or Switzerland.

How does the Nanyang MBA program deliver value to students who enroll in the program?

The learning experience in the program is dominated by case studies, as well as team projects and simulations. There are 16 core courses of which nine are compulsory courses. Apart from these courses, Nanyang offers 90 electives of which there are 7 functional electives. Diversity also figures prominently in the program – this year’s intake consists of students from 24 countries in the MBA class and a minimum of 20 countries is represented in the class, coming from numerous industry sectors. Thus the full time program has almost 80 percent international students and the remaining are local students. Of the international students, 20 percent students are from Europe and America. Such collective knowledge from the participants plus the knowledge and caliber of the faculty ensures you get the most possible learning from the program.

What is the admissions process followed at Nanyang Business School?

The 2010 intake will be conducted in two rounds, starting in October; end December and the other endMarch. The admissions process is a three step process in which the Admissions Committee (AdCom) conducts assessment of the application, followed by a shortlisting for interview, which is conducted either through phone, video or in person and finally, a final selection is made to make the admit offers. Eligible applicants must be holders of a Bachelor’s degree and have a minimum of two years of professional work-experience in a reputable organization. As far as test scores are considered, applicants need to have a minimum GMAT score of 600 and a TOEFL score of 100. The average GMAT score in 2008 was 658 and the figure for 2009 is expected to be more or less the same. There are 20 percent Indians in the present full time MBA program and there has been a 40-50 percent growth in applications from India over the years.

Which three qualities do you primarily look for in applicants?

There really is no such thing as an ideal candidate, as we shape the cohort based on several parameters, including what is required by the present economic environments. In general, we give relative importance to 1) outstanding academic accomplishments 2) more importantly than career path, strong career potential and 3) leadership capabilities. We gauge presence of these qualities through structured interviews, essays and referees or recommendation reports. At the end of the day, we look at how and how much will the prospective applicant contribute to the Nanyang MBA experience.

What are the differentiating factors of the Nanyang MBA program?

In most cases, the program content of most MBA programs is the same as far as core course or fundamental courses are concerned. The Nanyang MBA program is known for its rigor and relevance in instilling global perspectives. The program has been recognized as Singapore’s highest ranked MBA program, one of Asia’s top MBA programs and ranked 24th in the world. It is among the few MBA programs with dual accreditation by reputed higher education quality standards such as AACSB and EQUIS (Europe), hallmarks of a high quality program. An overseas business study mission allows for a more globalised outlook as well while a career focused program embedded in the program enables and prepares the participants of their life after the MBA program.

Top notch faculty at the b-school are internationally well known, and experts in their respective fields, whose collective industry experience and numbering at 160, the strength of the business faculty is among the finest and largest in the world.

The global alumni network is another differentiating quality of the MBA program. Alumni from the MBA program are working in various leadership positions in top firms across the world. A truly global experience is available for students in Singapore which is home to many MNCs, a hub of global trade and represents a miniscule globe-where many people from different countries are present.

What kind of financial assistance is available for students?

There are a number of limited scholarships available for prospective students. In the July 2009 intake, four Indians secured various scholarships ranging from 25 to 50 percent of tuition fees while a few were helped by the school to secure bank loans from local banks in India. Scholarships are primarily merit based and financial conditions and the number given depends on many factors and the strength of the intake. The b-school does have tie-ups with local and international banks based in Singapore but these offer loans only to local students. Foreign loan applicants must obtain a local guarantor to apply for such loans

What has been the impact of the world economic slowdown on the Nanyang MBA?

There has been a 20-30 percent increase in applications received for the batch admitted in 2009, whilst we would normally record a 20 percent increase. People were applying more during the initial months of the crisis and then applications took a slowdown after that. Asian economies have been noted to have recovered faster than other economies. In the past, American and EU recruiters were only looking at employing blue chip US MBAs for their requirements in their respective locations, but with the downturn, the Nanyang MBA has become more attractive. The Asian MBA continues to progress as blue chip companies are now choosing to recruit from Nanyang Business School because of the quality of students here.