Team InsideIIM spoke to Ms Angelyn Ang who is the Head of Marketing & Admissions for the NUS MBA programme. In this comprehensive interview she answers a lot of questions sent to us by the readers of InsideIIM. She spoke about the non-existence of a 'typical' NUS MBA student and the focus on diversity. She also told us about the curriculum review done at NUS recently and introduction of Soft Skills and Experiential Learning Component. Angelyn also thinks Singapore is a terrific city to study and work and has been ranked as No.2 only behind Switzerland. We highly recommend all our readers to go through this interview and pose more questions below if need be.
We have already covered an introduction to NUS MBA in August which gives more general details about the programme.
What is the profile of a typical NUS MBA admit? In other words, who should apply to have a good chance of getting an interview call?
It is difficult to define the ‘typical’ NUS MBA student as our students come from such diverse backgrounds and cultures. That is what makes the student life of our NUS MBA students truly enriching and exciting! However, some common traits would have to be that they are self-starters, motivated and extremely globalised.
What have been the major changes in the admissions procedure and the curriculum over the last few years?
There have not been any significant changes in the admissions procedure over the past few years. The admissions criteria remain the same and NUS still looks to recruit the best and brightest students from diverse backgrounds, who are well-rounded, confident and future global leaders in today’s fast-changing world.
NUS Business School has recently completed a curriculum review, which was implemented this year. This was based on feedback from industry leaders and after benchmarking the NUS MBA programme against top MBA programmes around the world. The outcome is an MBA curriculum that is more relevant to businesses today. This review has led to the introduction of a Soft Skills & Experiential Learning component, in which students get to undertake a Management Communications module, modelled after the training that top consulting firms provide to their new associates, as well as a Management Practicum that gives students the opportunity to work closely with the industry.
What is the procedure for applying for and obtaining a scholarship (if any)? What are the profiles of people likely get a scholarship (if any)?
Scholarships are awarded to deserving full-time students of all nationalities who showcase well-rounded, exceptional and promising profiles. Scholarships will be given based on a candidate’s background, performance during the application process and overall leadership potential. Scholarship recipients are those who perform the best amongst the cohort in the application process.
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Can you throw some light on diversity of students at NUS and the kind of international exposure available to students?
Every year, there are around 40 different nationalities represented among the NUS MBA students. In addition to that, there are also MBA students who are on exchange in NUS for a semester. This adds to the international diversity of the group. The NUS MBA students also come from different industry backgrounds before joining the MBA programme. This ensures that discussions in class are dynamic because of their varied past experiences.
The NUS MBA students are given various opportunities to gain international exposure. Firstly, our 17-month programme includes a semester for an overseas student exchange. There are over 60 partner universities which our students can choose from. Universities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions are well represented and this gives the student the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new environment for a couple of months.
Secondly, students also have the opportunity to take part in an overseas study trip. For example, our MBA students have visited the U.S., Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong this year. These trips are conducted 3 to 4 times every year and the objective is to provide international exposure by allowing students to learn the best corporate, entrepreneurial and governmental practices in another country. During these trips, students visit companies and organisations and they get immediate access to top management personnel and leaders, engaging in insightful dialogues with them.
Lastly, MBA students are also encouraged to participate in various Business Case competitions held all around the world. These offer our students a chance to network with students from other participating universities and if their teams qualify for the finals of the competitions, they will also be able to represent NUS on a global platform.
How has the NUS MBA program adapted to the recession which is seen to adversely affect enrollment and employment opportunities for MBA graduates in general?
The economic downtown did not have an adverse effect on the NUS MBA. Regardless of the economy, prospective MBA students are always on the lookout for ways to stay relevant and keep ahead of their peers. This is essential if they want to accelerate their career, start a new business or switch to a new career track. The NUS MBA is the perfect platform for students who are keen on achieving these end results. That being said, NUS Business School understands that the needs of the average MBA student are changing, with a growing emphasis on networking, diversity and globalization With increasing competition for faculty and students amongst the International and Asian business schools, the challenge is thus for the NUS Business School to differentiate itself. To be the leading business school in Asia, NUS Business School must understand the region’s needs and strive to meet them.
What are the major functions (finance/consulting/marketing) and sectors of the economy (real estate/financial services/media/technology) in which the NUS MBA graduates find employment?
Graduates from the NUS MBA programme generally find employment in Finance, Sales/Marketing and Consulting. Across industries, many of our graduates find employment in the Finance, Technology and Consulting industries. Some other industries that they go into include the Energy, Oil & Gas, Healthcare and Real Estate industries.
How does Singapore compare with Hong Kong, New York and London as a place to work and live?
Working and living in Singapore is a cosmopolitan experience – its diverse people are educated, industrious and well-travelled, while its pro-business climate and cultural heritage set the stage for a fascinating living and working environment. Political stability means that Singapore is able to focus most of its energy on shaping its economic development strategies to distinguish Singapore for the future. As a result, Singapore has achieved many economic milestones, including attracting high value-added investments in manufacturing, services and R&D. Singapore is also a leading financial centre in Asia.
As a destination, Singapore has been lauded with many accolades over the past few years. Based on a recent survey, foreign talent have ranked Singapore as the #2 country in the world to work in, trailing only behind Switzerland in this survey. It is generally safe here, even at night. Our public transportation is well-integrated and convenient to use, and our communications networks are world-class. The entertainment scene is also comparable to that of other cities, there is a growing arts and night scene with something to offer for everyone. One of the main attractions for foreigners is Singapore’s personal income tax rates, which are among the lowest in the world.
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The routine 'serious' MBA aspirant in India aims for an MBA from a top ten B school (i.e. a strong brand at least in India) costing about INR 1.2 Million(USD 21,800 approx) , with a starting salary in the range of at least INR 1.5 Million (USD 27,200 approx) . How does the NUS MBA program stack up against these programs? What are the additional costs. what are the additional benefits?
The tuition fee for the NUS MBA programme is S$58,000, which is approximately US$48,000. Based on last year’s graduating class, the average salary for the NUS MBA graduate starts ranges from around S$70,000 to S$80,000 (approx US$56,000 to US$64,000). This means that the ROI on the tuition fee is covered within the first year of employment, with a high possibility of reaping a greater post-MBA salary increase.
What are the few things that make the NUS MBA programme stand out among its peers in the Asia Pacific region?
The NUS MBA was designed based on inputs by key stakeholders including students, practising managers and faculty, and strives to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills that they will need in the workplace. We have a stellar cast of teaching faculty, top notch learning facilities and an excellent track record in terms of ranking and reputation. What sets the NUS MBA apart are its curriculum, teaching methodology, location, international exposure and strong global alumni network.
Gateway to Asia - Situated in the heart of Asia, the NUS MBA programme is the perfect place for people who keen to acquire knowledge on best business practices from around the world, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. Singapore has been ranked among the world’s best in areas such as investment potential, competitiveness, transparency and skilled labour and is one of the most ideal locations in the region to build strong networks and do business.
Comprehensive and Relevant Curriculum with a Focus on Asia - The NUS MBA is characterised by a rigorous curriculum with a heavy emphasis on doing business in Asia. It offers a strong core foundation and more than 50 electives on Finance, Marketing and Strategy to cater to specialised needs, interests and the career objectives of individual students. The programme content is kept updated and relevant to maintain alignment with the best practices and latest innovations. As it is offered at a full university, NUS MBA students can further enrich themselves by taking modules outside of the business curriculum.
Practical Problem-based Learning - NUS MBA students are trained to analyse problems from multiple perspectives and propose viable and innovative solutions. NUS Business School emphasises the importance of problem-based learning, case studies and group-based discussions. Modules like the Management Practicum give our students the opportunity to work with the industry and provide solutions for real issues and challenges faced by the companies.
Gaining International Experience through Diversity – NUS MBA students gain international experience and exposure through overseas student exchanges, student-led study trips and business case competitions. In the classroom, the NUS MBA will be able to learn from diversity as our students come from over 30 countries and have a wealth of industry experience and knowledge, ranging from Banking & Financial Services, to Consumer Goods, to Consulting, to Healthcare & Pharmaceutical, to Real Estate & Construction Services, just to name a few.
Global Alumni Network – With more than 33,000 NUS Business School alumni and over 200,000 alumni of the university in their network, the NUS Global Alumni Network Office (GANO) helps link students to alumni from different industries and job functions in major cities across the world. Graduates from NUS Business School will be part of a robust and powerful network represented in more than 40 major cities around the world.
- We thank Ms.Angelyn Ang and also Mr.Alan Chua and his team for the above interview
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