Best Full-time MBA Programs in Singapore & Hong Kong

We’ve just posted extremely thorough (and updated) reviews of the best MBA programs in Singapore and Hong Kong at our sister site, Touch MBA.

Many applicants struggle with identifying differences between programs – now you can compare top full-time programs head-to-head across many key dimensions including class profiles, rankings, academics, scholarships and careers.

We worked really hard to put these together and hope you find them insightful.

Best MBA Programs in Singapore – Insead, NUS, Nanyang, SMU

Best MBA Programs in Hong Kong – HKUST, HKU, CUHK

“China Attracts a Growing Slice of the MBA Sector” – Asia MBA News September 2014

China attracts a growing slice of the global MBA sector… CEIBS launches Dual MMH-MBA Degree with Cornell… Insead teams up with Columbia’s Teachers College to launch a joint MA/MBA program… and NUS launches China Business Centre…

China Attracts a Growing Slice of the MBA Sector (Financial Times)

A number of top US business schools (MIT, Olin, Duke, etc) offering double degrees with Chinese schools

CEIBS Launches Dual MMH-MBA Degree with Cornell (PR Newswire)

“China is the second-largest economy in the world, and its hospitality industry is poised for dramatic expansion. As the Chinese middle class grows, domestic hospitality companies are building new brands and international brands are expanding into the country,” said Michael D. Johnson, dean and E. M. Statler Professor at the School of Hotel Administration. “CEIBS is one of the top-ranked business schools both in this market and the world, making it a perfect partner for our first MMH-MBA dual degree.”

Teachers College, Columbia University Launches MA/MBA Programs to Prepare School Leaders in Education and Business Management (Herald Online)

“The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership – the nation’s preeminent organization of its kind, based at Teachers College, Columbia University – has teamed with Columbia Business School and with INSEAD to launch innovative MA/MBA dual-degree programs.

NUS Launches China Business Centre (Channel News Asia)
“Singapore-China business links received a boost with a new China Business Centre launched on Wednesday (Sep 24). The centre is helmed by the National University of Singapore’s Business School and is the first China business-centric outfit set up by a local university.”

IE Business School and SMU Launch IE-SMU MBA

I recently spoke with Prof. Gregor Halff and Prof. Lieven Demeester about SMU’s new collaboration with IE Business School. In order to accommodate working professionals in SE Asia who can’t afford to leave their job/city (say in Jakarta, Bangkok or Manilla) but are still looking for a top-tier MBA, the 2 business schools have launched a 10-month blended IE-SMU MBA. Graduates are awarded a joint-degree from both schools and get access to both schools’ alumni.  Learn more about what makes this program unique as well as what admissions is looking for here:

NUS EMBA Programs Ranked 5th and 17th by Financial Times – Singapore MBA News Aug – Oct 2013

INSEAD receives a huge donation… NUS and NTU EMBA programs climb the Financial Times rankings… Nanyang’s new Dean shares his vision for the school… and will the MBA scene change as Asia becomes a center of the business world?

INSEAD Receives $5 million Donation to Help with Expansion of Campus (Asia One)

“A leader among INSEAD’s international alumni who has a passion for sustainability has stepped forward with a donation of S$5 million to support the expansion of the school’s Asia campus in Singapore.

The gift from André Hoffmann, Vice Chairman of F. Hoffmann-LaRoche, the global pharmaceutical and medical diagnostic pioneer, and 1990 graduate of INSEAD’s MBA programme, is directed towards the construction of INSEAD’s innovative new Leadership Development Centre in Singapore.”

NUS EMBA Programs Ranked 5th and 17th in the World by Financial Times (Straits Times)
“The National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School’s double-degree programme with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has retained its position at fifth in the world, while the School’s Asia Pacific Executive (Apex) Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme climbed nine places to 17th in the Financial Times’ (FT) Global EMBA Rankings 2013. Nanyang Technological University (NTU) too performed will, debuting at 13th place.”

Nanyang MBA ranked 64th in World by the Economist (Channel News Asia)

“Nanyang Technological University’s business school has climbed eight places in The Economist’s global ranking of full-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes. It has moved up to the 64th position, from 72th a year ago. That is the highest placing ever by a Singapore business school in the magazine’s ranking, said the university in a statement.”

New Dean Shares Vision for Nanyang Business School Graduates (Nayang Business School Web Site)

“Sharing his vision for the school, he said students will be trained in a more holistic style, encompassing thought leadership and tapping cross-faculty modules such as psychology.”

The MBA’s New Dawn (Forbes)

“The balance of world economic power is shifting east, and the potential impact on business education is huge. Though the Graduate Management Admissions Council  reports that candidates from Asia Pacific make up 57% of the applicant pool to U.S. two-year M.B.A. programs, the heavy flow of applicants to schools in Europe and North America may drop off as the East’s brightest and best opt for study closer to home, and case studies about Asian companies become more relevant than those about their Western peers.”

Chicago Booth EMBA Moves to Hong Kong – Singapore MBA News July 2013

With the Fall application season right around the corner, there is much news to report in the Singapore MBA scene. Chicago Booth decides to move its top-ranked EMBA program to Hong Kong with the last “Singapore” class graduating in 2015, after being in Singapore for 15 years… which although a blow to Singapore’s education hub aspirations, should open up opportunities for NUS, NTU and SMU in the EMBA space…  The NUS / UCLA Anderson EMBA ranks 3rd in the inaugural Economist EMBA rankings…. the only other Asian MBA EMBA program ranked is HKUST / Kellogg… INSEAD launches a Masters in Finance degree on its Singapore campus… As always, my comments are in italics.

School News

Chicago Booth Moves Its EMBA Program to Hong Kong (Bloomberg July 23) – here’s the Asia One piece

The UCLA Anderson / NUS Executive EMBA Program Ranked 3rd in Inaugural Economist Rankings (Economist July 18)

Nanyang Business School Hires New Dean (NTU Website) – Dean Kumar spent nearly 3 decades at USC Marshall and most recently, spent 2 years as Dean of Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology’s MBA program. 

NTU’s Nanyang Business School Launches Nanyang MBA Business Advisory Council (NTU Website July 16, 2013) – the council includes 10 senior business leaders in Singapore and is part of the school’s renewed focus on being “industry relevant.”

SMU Signs 6 MOU’s with Top Indian Universities for Masters and Executive Education (The Hindu July 17)

INSEAD launches Masters in Finance Degree (Insead Website) The post-experience degree is “designed to provide experienced financial industry professionals with the competitive skills to advance their careers and make greater contributions to their organisations—while they continue working.”

Useful Admissions Tips

How do B-Schools Factor IR Scores into MBA Admissions (Business Because) – looks like the IR score will become more important to business schools, especially for those planning careers in consulting.

“With only a year of information, the initial surveys reports MBAs that go into Consulting, Operations, and Finance have higher IR scores than the MBAs who go into human resources, marketing, or general management. In the middle of a conference call with GMAC – it was announced that top consulting firms like McKinsey and Bain have taken interest in knowing an applicant’s IR scores.” 

The Truth About MBA Applications (Bloomberg Business Week June 13 2013) – Wow! 57% of candidates surveyed used consultants during the admissions process. Candidates should at the very least get a family member or colleague or friend to read and edit their essays.

“A survey of more than 350 business school applicants by a group that represents MBA admissions consultants found that 57 percent used consultants during the admissions process—far more than previous studies have found. And 38 percent were asked to write their own letters of recommendation, with some groups—including international applicants and those in finance—reporting far higher numbers.”

Nanyang MBA Unveils New Website; Essec Signs Deal for Brand New Campus in Singapore (Singapore MBA News – Nov 10, 2012)

My comments are in italics.

Nanyang MBA Unveils Brand New Website (Nanyang MBA Web Site) – Following its announcement of a new 1-year MBA program, Nanyang MBA has a brand new website which states their differentiators as global perspective & experience and asian focus, and their mission to groom leaders for a sustainable world.  In addition to this focus on leadership in Asia and sustainability, the program has 2 tracks (down from 6 one year ago): Strategy & Innovation and Banking & Finance.

Essec Signs Deal for Brand New Campus in Singapore (Financial Times) – looks like Essec is following Insead’s footsteps in creating a dual-country program in France and Singapore.

“Starting from January 2013, the school will teach its Grange Ecole Masters in Management degree in Singapore, and teaching of the school’s Executive MBA and full-time MBA programme will follow, in autumn 2013 and September 2014 respectively.

“Now it will be possible to follow the Grande Ecole programme 100 per cent at Essec without putting one foot on European land,” says Prof Tapie.

NUS’s double degree programme with the Anderson School of UCLA ranked 5th in the world by Financial Times (Channel News Asia) – and here a participant of NUS – UCLA EMBA degree shares his thoughts on the program.

“Average annual salaries of group participants were upwards of $250K USD.”

NUS’s APEX EMBA, which has teaching segments in India, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Vietnam was ranked 26th.”

A Rolls Royce Opportunity (Financial Times) – a participant of the NUS-UCLA EMBA degree shares his thoughts on the program.

The course offers a global perspective – there are six segments, four of them in different countries (Singapore, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Bangalore). The visits to companies in these locations give you a sense of what it means to operate in divergent business cultures.

Nanyang’s EMBA Program celebrates it’s 5th graduating cohort (Nanyang Website) – for a comprehensive list of all EMBA programs in Singapore, go here.

“In July, students and faculty members together celebrated the graduation of 60 participants…This year’s graduates included 29 General/SME participants, 18 Shipping, Finance and Offshore, and 13 with Energy Specialisation. With students from 15 different countries”

NUS Organizes Cerebration, of the world’s largest student organized case competitions (NUS Website)

3 ways to prepare for your admissions interview (Veritas Prep) – preparing an “airtight” 1-3 minute summary of your CV is crucial, as is having 2-3 good questions to ask your interviewer.


Interview with Ms. Angelyn Ang, Head of Marketing & Admissions NUS MBA (Singapore MBA News – Oct 29, 2012)

My comments are in italics

“There is no typical NUS MBA Student” – Interview with Ms. Angelyn Ang, Head of Marketing & Admissions – NUS MBA ( – looks like the NUS MBA is placing greater emphasis on management communication which is greatly desired by corporate recruiters.  The key takeaway?  Make sure that the way you communicate – in your essays (written or video), resume, and interview – your professionalism. One of the three major questions admissions officers have when reading your application is your employability – and aside from your work experience and network, the way you communicate and present yourself will be the difference maker in getting your desired job. 

“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.”

NTU Steps Up with a new MBA Curriculum (Singapore Business Review) – Nanyang MBA is focusing more on leadership in an Asian context.

“So what sets this new programme apart from the old curriculum and that of other MBAs? Chung noted that one component of the new curriculum is to address the changing concept of leadership by making it compulsory for students to go through a leadership development module focusing on skills needed to lead multi-cultural teams.

The new programme will help students understand leadership practices and business models across Asia, as they will be required to solve management dilemmas presented in cases, network with experienced practitioners at industry talks, and complete projects, including a 20-hour module on corporate governance and ethics.”

“As Chung puts it, the key mission of the business school is to produce leaders for a sustainable world. “If you want a programme that helps you become a leader today, and that prepares you to manage challenges in corporate Asia, come to us.”




NTU’s Nanyang Business School Launches New MBA Curriculum (Singapore MBA News July 16 – Aug 25 2012)

NTU’s Nanyang Business School Launches New MBA Curriculum (NTU Website) – NTU is following in the footsteps of INSEAD and SMU which both offer 1 year MBA programs with a heavy soft skill component. It will be interesting to see how NTU changes its MBA application this Fall.

“From July next year, incoming Nanyang MBA participants can expect a sharper focus on leadership development, greater emphasis on industry application – especially in the Asian context, and deeper insights into corporate governance and social responsibility. They will also complete the course in 12 months, instead of 16 currently, reducing their time away from work and enabling them to progress more quickly in their careers.”



NUS, SMU Top Asia’s Economic Schools (Singapore MBA News: April 9 – July 15)

In this week’s news, Cass launches a joint finance masters with SMU… IIMB and SMU tie up for joint research… NUS and SMU are the top economic schools in Asia, according to Tilburg University’s 2012 ranking… and Singapore is fast becoming a global education and business school hub

Cass to Launch Joint Finance Masters with SMU (Financial Times)

“The joint programme will follow the syllabus of Cass’ established masters in quantitative finance degree, with the first semester to be taught in Singapore by SMU faculty. In the second semester, this cohort will join Cass single programme students for classes in London, before returning to Singapore for elective modules.”

NUS, SMU Top Asia’s Economic Schools (Channel News Asia)

“The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Economics (SOE) have emerged as Asia’s top two economics schools in a prestigious worldwide ranking. According to the 2012 Tilburg University Top 100 Worldwide Economics Schools Research Ranking, NUS is ranked 60th while SMU SOE is ranked 65th.The Tilburg University website showed that SMU rose 19 places from its 84th position in 2011. NUS on the other hand slipped seven places from its 53rd position in 2011. The findings were based on research contributions in 36 leading global economics journals.”

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and SMU Tie Up for Joint Research (The Hindu)

Singapore Fast Becoming a Global Education Hub (PR Web)

“According to a recently-released report by Universitas 21 called “U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems,” Singapore emerges as the top 11th country worldwide and first in Asia for its provision of quality higher education. The survey, which measures 48 countries based on four indicators i.e. resources, environment, connectivity and output, aims to provide insights into areas for improving living standards and how quality higher education systems contribute to new ideas, bilateral trade relations and business activity.

According to a report by Business Standard, management education in Singapore is more affordable (approximately 20 – 25% cheaper) than those in the USA and United Kingdom. For example, the total fees for a full-time MBA program in Singapore ranges between S$57,000 and S$60,000. A Masters in Fine Arts at the NYU Tisch Asia on the other hand costs under US$48,000. Thus, regional students need not go far to enjoy high quality education and students from around the world.”

Singapore, new B-school hub (Business Standard)

“Another institute, Singapore Management University (SMU), has also been a popular destination for students. “SMU is one of the youngest universities to have been awarded long-term, five-year AACSB & EQUIS accreditation. In addition, we have an interactive pedagogy, an intensive but well-balanced business education, high quality of faculty members drawn from around the world, a campus located in the heart of the business city facilitating a close interaction with the business community and a diverse mix of nationalities,” said S N Venkat, senior associate director, Office of Postgraduate Professional Programme, SMU.”

MasterCard and SMU Announce Recipients of MasterCard MBA Scholarships for Women (Singapore MBA News: March 19 – April 8)

Lots of scholarship news this week (for more about NUS, NTU and SMU MBA scholarships go here)! MasterCard and SMU Announce Recipients of MasterCard MBA Scholarships for Women… full scholarship for Nanyang’s MSc in Technopreneurship & Innovation available to members of Philippines Marketing Association, Indonesia Marketing Association and Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing… NTU ranked 7th in the world and first in Asia for accounting research… and how to apply to your dream MBA program.  As always, my comments are in italics.  

MasterCard and SMU Announce Recipients of MasterCard MBA Scholarships for Women 2012 (The Financial) – this is a great bond-free scholarship for female applicants from Asia/Pacific, Middle East and/or Africa.  Awards are usually 15,000-20,000 SGD / student – roughly one-third of tuition. More coverage can also be found on CSR Digest.

“Two MBA students from Singapore Management University (SMU), Akshita Goyal and Wu Jiachao, have been offered full scholarships as part of a three-year collaboration between MasterCard and SMU. Under the collaboration,MasterCard will make a donation of up to S$120,000 in total from 2011 to 2013 to support two scholarships per year.

The MasterCard MBA Scholarships for Women is awarded to full-time female MBA candidates from Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, who possess an excellent academic record, demonstrate strong leadership potential and entrepreneurship skills, participate actively in the community, as well as exhibit a drive to excel.”

“Professor Howard Thomas, Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at SMU said, “We thank MasterCard Worldwide for supporting the outstanding female students in our MBA programme. SMU embraces diversity as we provide a holistic education to our students. We have seen an increase in the number of female participants in our MBA programme since its inception in 2009; in fact, 52% of the Class of 2012 are women. Such gender diversity, along with diversity in professional background and nationality, strengthens our MBA programme and translates into a strong value-proposition to all our students.”

Full Scholarships Available to Members of Philippines Marketing Association, Indonesia Marketing Association, and Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing for Nanyang’s Master of Science in Technopreneurship and Innovation (Philippines Marketing Association Website) – the scholarship covers the full program fee of $45,000 SGD; deadline is 20 April 2012.

NTU Most Prolific in Asia for Accounting Research (Channel News Asia)

“The Nanyang Technological University’s accounting research has come out tops in Asia, according to the latest ranking by Brigham Young University. NTU is ranked seventh in the world based on the productivity of its accounting researchers across 11 top accounting journals in the last six years.

NTU researcher Professor Tan Hun Tong retained his standing as the world’s top accounting researcher, followed closely by Professor Clive Lennox, making them Asia’s top two accounting researchers.”

The Nanyang MBA, Singapore (Asian Correspondent) – probably sponsored placement by Nanyang MBA itself, but nevertheless a nice summary of the program’s features and benefits.

How to Apply to Your Dream MBA Program (HubPages) – solid general advice when preparing your applications.