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.

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