The NUS MBA ranking within the top 25 programs in the world (23rd to be specific, according to the 2012 Financial Times MBA ranking) makes it not only the best MBA in Singapore, but also a force to reckon with in the global MBA area.
With an average GMAT score of 658 and an average work experience of 5.5 years, the typical NUS MBA student is 29.4 years old and part of a highly diverse class profile. It has been quite popular with Indian applicants, for reasons that we covered in an earlier article on NUS Singapore MBA.
Many months later when we shared the article with Alan Chua, responsible for marketing and admissions for the NUS MBA, he felt it was a ‘very interesting and independent take on the program‘.
We asked him if he’d be interested in an interview with MBA Crystal Ball. Over the last few months, Alan has been travelling extensively, attending MBA fairs, meeting prospective candidates. Despite his super-hectic schedule, he agreed to answer our questions and we really appreciate the gesture. In this tête-à-tête, Alan shares with us key aspects of the NUS MBA, what applicants need to keep in mind.
MBA Crystal Ball: When the Admissions team is evaluating applications, what are the most important aspects that are considered?
Alan Chua: The Admissions team evaluates a candidates’ overall profile, which includes the candidate’s undergraduate degree qualification, GPA grade, GMAT score and AWA Score, working experience/professional profile, international work experiences/ cross-cultural experiences and other professional engagements.
MBA Crystal Ball: The NUS MBA attracts a lot of Asian applicants. What can candidates do in their essays to differentiate themselves from the competition?
Alan: Candidates should be prepared to discuss their goals, their achievements and their objectives from gaining an MBA at NUS Singapore. The best applicants are those that come across as genuine and sincere in their essays, with a compelling story that will make the admissions team sit up and take notice. Lastly, a good GMAT score will definitely help as well.
MBA Crystal Ball: Knowing well that there are no ‘typical’ candidates for any MBA program, if you were to consider the common traits that you look for in the incoming class profile, how would you define a ‘typical’ NUS MBA student?
Alan: 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 globalized.
MBA Crystal Ball: In the last few years, the interest in Asian MBA programs has gone up substantially. What are the reasons for that trend?
Alan: The global economy is rapidly changing. China, India and the rest of Asia have been delivering consistent and strong economic performances over the past couple of years. As focus shifts from the typical powerhouses like Europe and America to Asia, it is not surprising that an increasing number of applicants find it more relevant to have an MBA that is focused on Asia. There are also definitely more job opportunities available in these regions.
MBA Crystal Ball: For NUS MBA applicants who have been shortlisted for interviews, do you have any tips? What are the common mistakes that you see each year?
Alan: Be natural and be yourself. Do not be afraid to express your own views on any issues. The interview panel has plenty of experience in conducting interviews with potential MBA candidates every year, so do not try to be somebody that you are not.
MBA Crystal Ball: Does the NUS MBA offer scholarships to international students? What is the primary criteria for scholarship decisions?
Alan: There are study awards available to all full-time students. This is a scholarship which ranges from 25% to 100% and is given to deserving candidates of all nationalities who showcase well-rounded, exceptional and promising profiles.
MBA Crystal Ball: How easy or difficult is it for NUS MBA students (specifically international students) to get a job in Singapore in the current economy?
Alan: Typically, 60% of our students end up working in Singapore after graduation, with the rest managing to secure jobs in Asia and the rest of the world. For the batch that graduated in 2010, 93% managed to secure jobs within 3 months after graduation.
MBA Crystal Ball: The world of business education is constantly evolving. Any new exciting developments that NUS has undertaken?
Alan: The NUS University Town (UTown), the first of its kind in Singapore’s higher learning landscape, opens its doors in 2011. Located across the NUS Kent Ridge campus, this is where some 2,400 undergraduate students, 1,700 graduate students and 1,000 researchers will work, live, and learn in close proximity.
Undergraduates staying in the Residential Colleges have the opportunity to combine the vibrancy of campus living with an exciting multidisciplinary academic programme. Graduate students moving into the Graduate Residence can look forward to facilities dedicated to the university’s growing graduate community. Top researchers from world-class research institutes will gather under one roof to form loci of innovation at the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE).
UTown represents one of NUS’ key strategic thrusts, to make a large qualitative enhancement to the educational experience that the NUS MBA offer to our students.
Every two to three years NUS Business School conducts the NUS MBA program curriculum review. This review is done to protect the integrity of the MBA programs and to ensure that we are offering our innovative and relevant courses that are reflective of the most updated business practices and trends.
MBA Crystal Ball: Any other thoughts that you’d like to share with our readers?
Alan: Due to the intense competition for a place in the NUS MBA, candidates are advised to apply early. The school practices rolling admissions within the deadlines, hence once an application is complete, the committee starts reviewing the application.
MBA Crystal Ball: Thanks, Alan, for your time and good luck with your new initiatives.
Alan: Thank you for the opportunity, Sameer.
Read how an Indian IT Engineer Male got into NUS Singapore MBA along with 4 other admits.