What’s the Average Salary for Singapore MBA Graduates? (Singapore MBA News: Mar 5-18)

In this week’s news, the MBA degree represents the highest paid postgraduate qualification worldwide… average salaries of Singapore MBA graduates revealed… Singapore seen as an attractive MBA study destination for its affordability and improved chances for an international career… this handy checklist summarizes what MBA admissions officers are looking for in MBA programs worldwide.

Singapore MBA Salary Indicators (MBA Singapore)

“There is a growing salary differential between MBAs and non-MBAs in job markets around the world as employers battle to recruit the best young business school talent. Results of a survey of 489 international MBA employers, featured in the QS TopMBA.com International Recruitment Survey and Salary Report, reveal that, compared to the previous year, MBA salaries have increased more rapidly than salaries for non-MBAs with four years work experience, and this is true across most major industry sectors and geographies.”

“The QS TopMBA.com Report confirms that the MBA represents the highest paid postgraduate qualification worldwide, across all major industry sectors.”

“Singapore is one of the most sought after job venues. Each year thousands of graduates pass out from best graduate school in Singapore and many other institutes offering professional course. The main aim for such students is to land up with a lucrative job in their sector. Though the economic recession has hit the job sectors of countries far and wide it has least affected the job scenario in Singapore. The credit goes to the Singapore government and the Universities in Singapore. Taking into consideration the changing job world there are many innovative courses that are offered at these institutes.

As a potential employee, you will have to weigh the benefits of accepting a position with a higher base salary against a position with a lower salary that offers bonuses and other perks. These perks can include annual bonuses, car allowance, tuition reimbursement, relocation costs and more. According to Payscale.com the majority of MBA graduates can expect to earn on average $50,427 in their first year. As your length of time on the job increases, so will your income. Here is a sample of average salaries you can expect as your time on the job increases:

  • Under 1 year – $50,427
  • 1 to 4 years – $56,090
  • 5 to 9 years – $74,053
  • 10 to19 years – $94,038
  • Over 20 years – $103,600

MBA Still Top Choice for Prospective B-school Students (Market Watch)

“The mba.com Prospective Students Survey results for the first time offers insight into the reasons why prospects choose study destinations. Similar to GMAT score sending patterns, the top three preferred destinations were the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. Reputation of a country’s educational system was the most cited reason for choosing a specific destination. Prospective students intending to study in the U.S. cited better career preparation, whereas improved chances for an international career was cited for non-U.S. destinations. Notably, affordability was cited among respondents selecting Canada, Singapore, and India.”

What Are the Criteria for MBA Admission (MBA Prep School) – this is a very useful checklist for how MBA programs (in general) evaluate your candidacy.

Academic Profile

  • High cumulative GPA and GPA in major
  • Above average performance in quantitative or business-oriented courses
  • GMAT score above the school’s median
  • TOEFL score above the school’s median (if applicable)
  • Undergraduate degree from a school with an excellent academic reputation

Career Progress

  • Extensive evidence of career progress
  • Visible progress made in the direction of career goals
  • Employer is known to have very high standards for hiring
  • Excellent references/recommendation letters
  • Plenty of evidence of managerial potential

Leadership Portfolio

  • Evidence of leadership at work
  • Evidence of leadership outside of work
  • Self-awareness of leadership capabilities and development needs
  • “Servant-Leader” leadership style as opposed to autocratic or self-serving

Career Goals

  • Defined career goals
  • Career goals reflect a sense of purpose: passion, meaning, and significance
  • Admissions committee can connect the dots between prior skills/experiences and post-MBA career goals
  • Convincing motivations for pursuing an MBA
  • Rock solid case for pursuing an MBA from the school(s) you are applying to
  • Career goals reflect a global perspective

Other Qualities

  • Evidence of self-awareness
  • Evidence of maturity/life-experience
  • Dimension (e.g., not too much of a “poet” nor too much of a “suit”)
  • International/cross-cultural experience
  • A great fit with the school’s culture”

Inside the Nanyang MBA, SMU MBA and NUS MBA Programs (Singapore MBA News: Feb 20 – Mar 4)

Inside the Nanyang MBA (Nanyang MBA Website) – an informative series of videos that shows what happens behind the scenes of Nanyang Business School.  The program blogs are a good way to get a feel for the types of students (and activities)  at NUS , SMU and Nanyang Business Schools.

The MBA Dilemma – Are MBAs Worth It? (Channel News Asia) – SMU MBA Program Director Jenifer Raver, Director of NUS Graduate School  Chua Nan Tze and NUS MBA Alumni Ivan Lee chime in in a round-table discussion.

The NUS MBA: Gateway to Asia (El-Emergente.com)

“The typical full-time NUS MBA class is around 100. ‘The average age of our MBA students is 29, with approximately 5 to 6 years of work experience,’ says Ms. Chua. According to the NUS Business School, the typical full-time MBA class is 90% international. ‘Typically, 25 to 30 nationalities are represented in our MBA student cohort. What [all students have] in common is that they are very motivated individuals who seek to leverage the NUS MBA for a transformational experience that will push their knowledge and career to new heights. They also have a very keen interest in Asia, be it to work in Asia or to immerse themselves culturally,’ Chua concludes.”




Interview with Sander Bogdan, SMU MBA Valedictorian – Video (Singapore MBA News: Feb 6-19)

In this week’s news, Asia’s economic growth leads to the growing clout (and value) of Asian business schools… SMU MBA’s valedictorian is interviewed about what it’s like to study in Singapore… Nanyang Business School launches a women’s club… and make sure you answer these 3 common interview questions in your application and interview.  As always, my comments are in italics.

Enter the Dragon (The Times of India) – Asia’s growth and relatively cheap tuition leads to the growing clout of Asian business schools.

“The harsh reality for the West is that the most exciting business opportunities of the next decade may emerge on the other side of the world, which raises the question whether the balance of world intellectual power may also be shifting. And the future business school of choice may not be in Massachusetts, London or Barcelona but in Shanghai, Hyderabad or Singapore.”

Interview with Sander Bogdan, SMU MBA Valedictorian (SMU MBA Website) – you can learn a lot about studying at SMU and in Singapore from this 20 minute interview.  Sander is an American who came to Singapore to get his MBA; he shares the adjustments he had to make and the unique perspective gained while studying in Singapore.   

Nanyang Business School Launches a Women’s Club (Business Because)

“Clarie Kwa co-founded the first Women in Business Club at Nanyang Business School while studying part-time for an MBA, holding down a full-time job and being a wife.

Nanyang’s MBA alumni and faculty have been very supportive. Clarie said that female alumni have been very happy to come in and speak or present at events. They’ve organized dinner dates where senior execs from top companies and private banks come to share their insight into the business world and they’ve also been involved with mentoring current MBA students.”

Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three Key Job Interview Questions (Forbes) – MBA admissions members are looking for the same 3 criteria when reading your application and interviewing you – strengths, motivation and fit.

“The only 3 true interview questions are:

1.  Can you do the job? (strengths)
2.  Will you love the job? (motivation)
3.  Can we tolerate working with you? (fit)”

Should Aspiring Entrepreneurs Get an MBA? (Business Insider) – although most MBA programs promote the entrepreneurial learning in their programs, in the end they are most concerned with placement.  If you have short-term entrepreneurial goals post-MBA, make sure you demonstrate a track record.

“After getting an MBA from Wharton and now in the middle of doing my second start-up, I can confidently say that an MBA is not the ideal path for entrepreneurs to follow.

…All MBA programs were designed with one goal in mind.  To educate students with business skills that would make them successful within professional organizations.  All the marketing courses, finance courses, and strategy classes at an MBA school are made to help you get a job at a Fortune 500 company and rise through the ranks.  An MBA is great for someone who wants to work at an investment bank since you’ll get a detailed education on finance.  An MBA is also great for someone who wants to work at a Fortune 500 company and move up the ladder.  The degree will give you the general management skilled needed to rise to the C level suite someday.”


Asian MBAs on the Rise (Singapore MBA News Jan 30 – Feb 5)

In this week’s news… NUS MBA graduates enjoyed salary increases of 185 percent over 3 years… for NBS the increase was 129 percent… but NBS graduates enjoy the highest average salaries among Singapore MBA programs… NUS MBA ranked 9th in the world for its graduate international mobility… 9 Asian MBAs made the Financial Times top 100 list this year, up almost double from last year… an INSEAD alumni from India shares his experience starting a company while a student… INSEAD creates its own admissions test for its Singapore EMBA program… As always, my comments are in italics.

More Coverage on NUS and NTU’s top 35 FT Ranking (Channel News Asia, Business Because, ST701, Yahoo Finance) – it’s GREAT to see that NUS and NTU MBA graduates – on average – are getting a good return on their MBA investment.  However, your average salary 3 years out from graduation (and the percentage salary increase) will depend heavily on what industry you were in before and after your MBA.  I think it’s dangerous to use average salary figures as a baseline for what you can expect 3 years after your MBA.  Some graduates will make a lot more; some a lot less.  What’s more important to know is what employers in your desired post-MBA industry are willing to pay MBAs.

“MBA graduates from NUS enjoyed salary increases of 185 per cent over three years, compared with what they were earning before completing the programme. In contrast NBS graduates had an average salary increase of 129 per cent.

But NBS graduates had a higher average salary with an average pay of US$102,350 a year three years after graduation.

Measured three years after graduation, they had an average annual salary of US$102,350 (S$130,000), compared with NUS graduates’ US$97,625.”

The school also retained its place at 9th in the world for its graduates’ international mobility. This, the school said reflects the broad international demand from employers for NUS MBA graduates.

Singapore Management University’s (SMU’s) master of business administration (MBA) programme did not meet the criteria for inclusion in the FT rankings, which requires a college to have graduated its first class at least three years ago. SMU’s first batch of MBA students graduated in 2009.”

Come for the Tropical Climate, Stay for your MBA (Nasdaq) – Asian MBA programs are using their formidable resources to recruit top-notch faculty and students; they are also riding the wave of excitement surrounding Asia.  As Asian candidates make up the majority of their classes, these programs are hungry for candidates from the West – it is a GREAT time to be a westerner and applying to Asian MBA programs.

“The Financial Times has released its 2012 list of the Top 100 Global MBA programs  on January 30, and nine Asian schools made the cut. Five of these programs are new to the list within the last three years.

The highest-ranking Asian school is the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology at #10. Other on the list include the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad (#20), China Europe International Business School in Shanghai (#24), and the Nanyang Business School in Singapore (#34). All are actively recruiting American and European students.

According a November 2011 Wall Street Journal  article , many Asian schools are increasing recruiting efforts.  Melissa Korn reported that “Asian business schools are hoping to swipe some of the world’s best and brightest students as Asian nations stake their claim in a global economy.”

The growth of emerging market economies coupled with the financial woes of Europe and the United States has proven enticing to many MBA candidates.  Students are now turning down top MBA programs in the US. At China Europe International Business School, about 40% of the student body is from abroad.  At Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Americans are now 14% of the student body, a major increase.

It’s a trend likely to continue as long as the Asian economy outgrows the western economy.”

Sowing the Seed (Financial Times) – Insead is one of the top MBA programs for entrepreneurs – almost 50% of Insead alumni start their own businesses. I appreciate this alumni’s candidness in describing the challenges of starting a business during/after a MBA.

“In January 2011, I found myself surrounded by people of 86 different nationalities. I feared that I was in uncharted territory. Everything I was going to say in class was going to be analysed, dissected and analysed again from multiple perspectives. Was I going to fit in? In order to achieve my goals it was important that I overcame my apprehension of being judged.

There is a term at Insead that applies to the herd mentality that can take over when MBA students first start: “FOMO” – fear of missing out. Everyone wants to go to the same events – parties, trips, speaker panels. For the first few months, I embraced this. In the process, I made a great set of friends.

Then a typical new fear arose: failure. If I became an entrepreneur, I could fall flat on my face and I would regret having left a lucrative career. But my fears were allayed by studying at Insead. Here I have encountered many alumni entrepreneurs who have shared their ­stories – some successes and some failures.”

Business School (Insead) Moves away from GMAT with own Test (Gulf News) – Insead has created a new test for its EMBA program.  Will they use a similar test for their MBA students?  I find it interesting that Insead’s Dean has essentially questioned the relevancy of the GMAT exam for producing “global business leaders” when they still require the GMAT for the MBA program. 

“The GMAT tests knowledge, such as trigonometry, that is not particularly relevant for global business leaders,” Peter Zemsky, chaired professor of strategy and innovation and deputy dean degree programmes and curriculum, told Gulf News.

INSEAD reported that the new test also puts less emphasis on engineering, English grammar and reading, indicating that these are not the top requirements of global executives.

“One of the drawbacks of GMAT, for example, is in the reading section, which has a lot of emphasis on English grammar. This is not particularly relevant for global business leaders,” he added.

NUS and NTU ranked top 35 in Financial Times 2012 Global MBA Rankings (Singapore MBA News: Jan 15-29)

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!  In this week’s news… NTU and NUS both make top 35 in Financial Times worldwide annual MBA ranking… SMU will be in 11 cities in Asia this February and March… Dr. Alice Chu from the SMU MBA program is profiled… INSEAD launches an EMBA in Singapore… GMAC finds that it takes 4 years on average for MBA graduates to recoup their investment.  As always, my comments are in italics.

NUS, NTU among top 35 for MBA Programmes, NTU grads earn most (Straits Times) – NUS is ranked 23 and NTU 34 in Financial Times 2012 annual ranking.

SMU MBA Course Previews in Mumbai (Feb 7 and 8), Singapore (Feb 8), Delhi (Feb 9 and 10), Manilla (Feb 18), Tokyo (Feb 23), Ho Chi Minh City (Feb 29), Beijing (Mar 2 and 3), Seoul (Mar 3),  Shanghai (Mar 4 and 5), Jakarta (Mar 24), and Taipei (Mar 31) (SMU MBA website) – information sessions are a great way to meet faculty, administrators and students from the program.  You’ll get a much better feel for the program at these sessions than from brochures and websites.

An Internship During Her MBA Programme Leads Dr. Alice Chu to a New Career with Her Dream Company (Straits Times) – an informative profile piece on one of SMU’s full-time students and her experience attending SMU.  SMU has a smaller class size than NUS and NTU which SMU  students seem to treasure. Also, SMU released it’s profile for the Class of 2012 (see below), which includes both full-time and part-time classes. 

“We had practice professors and lecturers who have worked all over the world, but have extensive experience and knowledge of the Asian environment.”

Profile of MBA Class of 2012

Class size: 60 / Average age: 30 / Average work experience: 6  years / International students: 58% / Average GMAT: 649 / Women: 52%

Insead Launched Executive MBA in Singapore (Financial Times)

MBA Graduates Across the World Recover their Investment in 4 Years (Pagalguy)

The world average for recouping return on MBA investment is however four years, according to a survey of 4,135 MBA alumni from the batches of 2000 to 2011 conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

NTU Invites Applications for MBA Fellows Scholarship (Singapore MBA News: Jan 2-15)

My comments are in italics.

EMBA Opens New Doors (Sunday Times) – NTU’s Executive MBA is only EMBA in Singapore offering specialized tracks in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, Shipping and Aviation. The full-time EMBA option includes stints at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Wharton.

NTU Invites Applications for MBA Fellows Scholarship (Minglebox) – the Nanyang Fellows MBA program is targeted with a mid to senior level executives with over 8 years of work experience. They have a number of scholarships (deadline Jan 31 2012) for foreign applicants.

Achieving MBA Admission is More About “Why” than “What and How” (The MBA Exchange) – answering “why” in your essays is definitely moving, but answering “what and how” type essay questions are also important when applying to Singapore MBA programs.  “What and how” often show your professionalism and maturity.

“…the most significant difference among MBA applicants is not ‘what’ they’ve achieved, or ‘how’ they’ve accomplished it.  Rather the biggest point of difference is ‘why’ they have done what they’ve done.  Revealing the inspiration, vision, raison d’etre behind their past actions and future plans is the best way to differentiate and elevate a business school candidacy.”

Increasing Demand for MBAs in Singapore (Singapore MBA News: Dec 26 – Jan 1)

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope that this year you each move closer to accomplishing your personal and professional goals.

As always, my comments are in italics.

Increasing Demand: MBA Life in Singapore (QS) – a key takeaway is that employers in Singapore are placing a premium on work experience, soft skills and management talent; it is no longer enough to be technically competent.  Having an MBA from a top program will open up job opportunities, but your previous work history / performance will also be closely scrutinized during the hiring process.   

“Singapore, which combines long-term relations with the West, extremely high education standards and yet has close geographic and economic ties throughout Southeast and East Asia then, arrives in a great position to attract a wealth of graduates hoping to study an MBA in a region that is still enjoying economic growth.”

“Since 2010, he says, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for MBA holders. ‘Companies [in Asia] are far more confident in the economy and, as there is substantial value placed on the skills that individuals develop [from their] MBA courses, there is an interest to explore the situation, resulting in increased hires.'”

“Maguire notes that, in Singapore since the global financial crisis, ‘companies are now looking at the number of years’ experience an individual has, as a qualifier for good management skills, soft skills and emotional intelligence.'”

SMU Earns EQUIS Accreditation and An Inside Look into the Admissions Process (Singapore MBA News: Dec 19 – 25)

Merry Christmas everybody!  My comments are in italics.

SMU Business School Earns EQUIS Accreditation (Channel News Asia) – SMU is now accredited by the AACSB and EQUIS, the 2 main accrediting bodies for business schools.  It only took SMU a few years to gain both accreditations, a testament to the school’s resources and reputation.

MBA: Benefits of Singapore over India (Career Because) – Vidit Chaudhary, currently an MBA student at Nanyang Business School, shares his thoughts on MBA life and opportunities in Singapore.

An Inside Look into the Admissions Process (Business Insider) – A Wharton MBA reflects on his experiences being on the admissions committee.  Although the specifics might be different for Singapore MBA programs (i.e. target GMAT score, the number of admissions officers evaluating your application), the overall advice offered for putting forth your strongest application is solid.  Definitely worth reading.

QS Ranks NUS MBA 4th, Nanyang MBA 12th and SMU MBA 25th in Asia (Singapore MBA News: Dec 12 – 18)

My comments are in italics.

QS Global Business School Report 2012 (QS) – the QS ranking is intended to measure from which MBA programs employers prefer to hire. 

NUS ranked 4th, Nanyang 12th and SMU 25th in QS’ Asia Pacific rankings.

“…the number of Asian and Australian schools featured in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report has increased from 10 in 2004 to 36 this year – a massive rise in just seven years. This rapid rise in the number of internationally recognized schools is indicative of the improving standards of Asian institutions, as employers increasingly recognize the quality of MBA graduates from certain schools the region.”

Future Looks Surprisingly Rosy for 2012 MBA Graduates (Financial Times)

“According to the data, the number of companies planning to recruit MBA graduates in 2012 is 28 per cent higher than in 2011. For master in management degrees the figure is up 42 per cent. Some 22 per cent of companies are expected to hire more MBAs than they did this year and prospects for masters students are higher too.”

Yale Lures Insead and NUS to join its network of top schools (Financial Times)

“Unlike the European model for a Masters in Management degree, which is a pre-experience programme for those recently completing an undergraduate degree, the Yale programme [Masters in Management] will be for those who have already completed an MBA degree or equivalent at one of the schools in the network, initially NUS or Insead.”

Financial Times ranks NUS MBA 23rd and Nanyang MBA 27th (Singapore MBA News: Nov 28 – Dec 11)

My comments are in italics.

As Western economies flounder, international b-schools promote themselves on the back of Asia (Pagalguy) – Singapore has experienced the highest growth in Asia in terms of GMAT scores received.  Why?  My guess is for the following reasons: 1) in Singapore you can get a quality MBA education at value prices 2) Singapore is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia with many MNC’s setting up their regional offices here 3) Many Asian MBA applicants, especially from India, are now targeting Singapore as a MBA destination due to its proximity, safety, relative affordability, and job opportunities, relative to the US and UK.

“According to the data released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) using the registration data of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), business schools in Asia received nearly 43,000 GMAT score reports from examinees around the world in 2010. This marked an increase of 116% since 2006 with programmes in India (+142%), Singapore (+164%) and China (+89%) experiencing the largest percentage gains over the period.”

“A few days ago, GMAC CEO David Wilson while talking to the Wall Street Journal said that there had been a dramatic increase in the number of people choosing schools in Asia over those in the US over the past five years and that it had been the fourth year in which Asia had stood first the contribution of the number of applicants interested in an MBA.”

“The Nanyang Technopreneurship Center of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University is doing something similar. Foo Say Wei, Deputy Director explained that its new offering called the Master of Science in Technopreneurship and Innovation Programme (MSc TIP) attempts to offer students an overview of three countries — Singapore, China and America and turn them into innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

Top Skills MBA Grads Need for Success (Huffington Post) – I agree with many of the author’s conclusions.  Attending a MBA program outside your country and in a cosmopolitan city like Singapore will force you to develop your communication skills, resilience, global mindset, and ability to interpret a new social world.  You’ll also have many chances to practice your Mandarin (foreign language skills).

Go East, Young Entrepreneur (Forbes) – the headline is a bit misleading, as most entrepreneurs profiled are older and found success in China.  Nevertheless, developing economies in Asia do offer many opportunities for entrepreneurs.  But you got to be on the ground to see them!

Managerial Skills Have Undergone a Major Change (The Times of India)

“In the last few years, managerial skills have undergone a major change. Today, a good manager is not only one who can ensure the smooth functioning of an organisation, but one who can also perceive challenges and use his/her critical thinking skills to solve long-term problems. Further, with globalisation blurring the geographical location of businesses, a manager today needs to glide across different time zones, continents and countries and feel at home with the world.”

Citi Launches Innovation Lab in Singapore (Webwire)

‘Professor Bernard Yeung, Dean of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School says, ‘”NUS is proud to partner Citi in this business innovation, providing our academic expertise to developing cutting-edge research in transaction services. Our alliance to date has also resulted in various meaningful engagements, such as Citi’s sponsorship of projects in our MBA curriculum and provision of internship opportunities to our students.

Top Business Schools in Asia

“NUS Business School (Singapore) – Ranked among the leading business schools in Asia with No. 1 rank on Recruiter’s Choice (Asia), No. 23 on FT Rankings, and No. 27 on University Rankings. It has also been ranked among the world’s top 100 business schools by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Financial Times.

Nanyang Business School (Singapore) – NBS is ranked top in Singapore and ASEAN and top 25 in the world by the Financial Times (January 2009). The School is also consistently ranked among Asia’s top five business schools by the Economist Intelligence Unit.”