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NUS Singapore: Do you have an Asian MBA college on your list?

For Indian MBA applicants who’ve spent a bomb on business schools – MBA applications, GMAT preparation, exorbitant tuition fees and living expenses – there’s still no guarantee that they’ll get a dream job at the end. For international candidates it’s been tough to get jobs in US and now UK seems to be making it equally tough with their new immigration laws. So what does that leave us with? Asia!

There may not be too many top-notch internationally competitive business schools (in relative brand power, compared to the US and Europe) in Asia, but the few that make the list are forces to reckon with. Take the MBA at the National University of Singapore (NUS) for instance. The Financial Times’ Global Ranking places it at the 23rd rank. But that’s not the impressive part. What’s more interesting, specially when you are an international candidate, is your probability of getting a job when you graduate (for most of us, roti, kapda & makaan have a higher priority than rankings).

NUS claims to have placed 93% of its graduating batch within 3 months of completing the MBA. Not too shabby, naa? The other parameter that they highlight on their website is the growth in post-MBA salaries. In a 3 year period, on an average their graduates increased their salaries by 140%. That means if you had a salary of (say) $10,000 before your MBA, three years after you get your photo clicked in a black graduation gown with a funny looking square hat placed precariously on your head, you’ll most probably be raking in $24,000. Add or substract a few zeroes from that equation depending on your current salary.

Good RoI for the relatively modest investment you’d make.

So what’s the catch? With the NUS brand, you won’t get the same jaw dropping reactions that brands like Harvard, Wharton, INSEAD, LBS can get you. If your long term plans are to continue working in Asia, it might be a program worth considering.

And in case, you are wondering, no we were not approached by NUS to write this post. No tie-ups or commercial incentives from any business schools. These are the MCB team’s opinions.

Any current students or applicants of NUS Singapore (or any other Asian business school) out there who’d care to share their views?

Read this interview with Alex Chua, from the NUS Singapore MBA Admissions Office. He explains what the Bschool looks for in potential candidates.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

32 thoughts on “NUS Singapore: Do you have an Asian MBA college on your list?”

  1. Hi Sameer

    I am currently working for Accenture Services Pvt Ltd and working onshore – Toronto , Canada.
    I am a part of accenture team from last 3.5 yrs .

    I plan to do a MBA in consulting management or executive MBA , also i wish to get admission this year .

    Can you please advice about the Admission procedure , fees and the last dates on which colleges accept the application form.

    Appreciate your help here


    • Hi Shweta,

      Most top schools will need a GMAT score. So you could start reading up about how the test is structured and start preparing for it ASAP.

      If you are targeting classes starting in Sept 2012 (it’s too late for Sept ’11 batches), you could take the GMAT in the next 2-3 months. Once you have a solid GMAT score, you could select schools based on your profile and then start working on the essays/recos.

      We’ve got some stuff on this site to get you started. Check out the MBA primer section on the right and then follow it up with more indepth research on individual schools. Also read this:

      If you need help at any point in the process, you could sign up with us for online GMAT course (by Knewton), school selection, application strategy, essay editing etc as you go along.

      Good luck.

  2. Hi Sameer,

    I’ll be completing my engineering in June this year, I’ve got job offer from Deloitte US.

    I plan to do an MBA in future & from an Indian institute, probably ISB or SP Jain…what do you suggest???

  3. Abhisheck,

    Congrats on the Deloitte offer!

    From what you’ve shared, seems like a relatively straight-forward story:
    Complete engineering –> Join Deloitte –> Consider MBA in a few years.

    So I’m not sure what suggestions you are hoping for.

    Happy to share my thoughts if you can be more specific, buddy.

  4. Hi Sameer,
    i m a engineering grad and passed in year 2010..then i worked for around 7 months and quit the job due to some personal reasons…then i wished to go for mba..this year i gave cat exam and dint do plz suggest something as i m on the verge of lossing my career..!!!

  5. Aditya,

    Sorry to hear about the unfortunate events.

    You don’t need to view the CAT result as a make or a break milestone in your life. Lakhs of candidates take the test and thousands of deserving guys don’t get a seat at the top Indian insitutes.

    If the personal issues that caused the break have been dealt with, your best bet would be to get back to work. You were able to get a job on the basis of your engineering degree. So you have a good qualification that you can use to get another job.

    If you have the interest, you can take the CAT again next year. Or continue working for a few years and then think about an overseas MBA.

  6. Hi Sameer,
    I am working for an IT major and have my MS from US University. I have around 5.5 yrs of work exp, but with a break of around 1 yr (during recession). What are my chances of getting in B School? Please reply.


  7. Deepa,

    Tough to speak about chances when I don’t know much about your profile, your essay writing/interviewing skills and your overall MBA application strategy.

    But if you are concerned about the break, then don’t be. Approach it in a structured manner.

    Step 1: First of all, choose the right post MBA career goals

    Step 2: Next, choose the right MBA program that fits your profile and your career goals.

    Step 3: Do a good job in explaining what makes you a good fit for that school. Address the key concerns. Here are some MBA essay tips to manage career breaks.

  8. Hi Sameer,
    I’m currently working for Volvo India, I’m 1 year exp and considering to do a MBA from ISB or NUS.
    Which one would you recommend considering the Return on Investment and Expenses..

    Thanks In advance.

  9. Karthik,

    By RoI are you referring only to the financial aspects? If so, you shouldn’t. Each of the two schools offer unique opportunities that a simple financial RoI can’t capture.

    I don’t know much about your profile or goals, so all I can recommend on a generic query like this is the following.

    Both schools offer MBA programs that are far more economical compared to their western counterparts. Allow your post-MBA goals (short term and long term) to influence your decision.

  10. Hi Sameer can you evaluate my profile ?
    Acads decent like 90 + in both 10th and 12th
    Engineering Graduate from a premier engineering college with Decent percentage

    Working with Royal Bank of scotland for almost 2 years
    And not much to show in extra curricular..Recommendations might not be a problem..
    If I write GMAT and get a score in a bracket of 720-730
    how much chances do I’ve..?

  11. Sumit,

    For the same reasons that I gave Deepa (scroll above), it’s tough to talk about chances based on limited (and uncertain as well) data about your profile.

  12. Hi Sameer,

    I want to apply for NUS but want to understand the scenario of post-MBA work permit in Singapore. I’ve heard that you should have a job as soon you complete your MBA else you’re not allowed to stay in Singapore.

  13. Hi sameer,

    I want to apply for an NUS MBA in 2014. I will be writing GMAT this August. Assuming I get a score similar to my mock tests’ (690), what are my chances of getting an admit?
    10th: 81.4 (99 in maths)
    12th: 80.7
    CGPA: 7.92 from a reputed engineering institute

    Work exp: Working in a major automobile company for 2 years.

  14. Hi Sameer,

    I am Eng cs grad with 12 yrs exp in IT industry.I opted for MS in US but my VISA got refused.(GRE304-152/152). The other options i have is to go for an1 YEAR MBA – Nus , ISB,IIM,SPJAIN-GMBA.



  15. Hi Sameer,

    I read your book and it was amazing. Great stuff.

    I just wanted to get my profile assessed by you. It is as below:

    Education Background:

    10th Standard
    School – Lawrence School, Lovedale (Nilgiris District)
    Board – CBSE
    Percentage– 81.8%

    12th Standard
    School – SRV Higher Secondary School, Rasipuram
    Board – Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary Education
    Percentage – 94%

    Under Graduation
    College – Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering (SVCE), Affiliated to Anna University, Chennai
    Discipline – Electronics & Communication Engineering
    Percentage – 63%

    Date Taken – 27-01-2012
    Total – 660
    Quants – 48 (78%)
    Verbal – 33 (67%)
    AWA – 5.5

    Work Experience:

    Total experience in years: 5 years and 1 month

    Company worked for: Infosys Limited

    Brief description of job:
    Joined Infosys in July 2008 as a fresher and underwent generic and stream specific (Network) training in Infosys Mysore Campus till Jan 2009.

    Systems Engineer – Jan 2009 to March 2010
    Senior Systems Engineer – April 2010 to Sep 2011
    Technology Analyst – Oct 2011 to present
    Expecting to become Technology Lead in Oct 2013

    International Experience – 13 months in Paris, France
    Led a team of 5 in Paris (client location) between April 2012 and May 2013.
    Currently leading a team of 4 for a different project.

    Extra Curricular Activities:

    • A passionate runner. Completed two semi-marathons and one 10 km run in Paris, France.
    • Completed one 10 km run for a NGO, Kaagaz India in Bangalore.
    • Completed three levels of LA Cuban Salsa from the Russian Cultural Center, Chennai in 2009
    • Completed the short term type writing course. Can type at 45 words per minute without looking at the keyboard.
    • Played the bugle and trumpet for the school band between class 7 and 10.
    • Vice President of the Leo Club, a social club in Engineering College
    • Came first in Tamil debate competition in class 4 (1995)
    • Came second in cumulative General Knowledge Tests in class 6(1997).
    • Participated in the Cambridge test for knowledge in English in school.

    Having more than 5 years of experience in IT, I would like to move into strategic or operations consulting going on to have a startup on my own after 7-8 years maybe.

    Please let me know the top B schools in Singapore and USA (scholarships if possible) which are achievable for my profile.

    Thanks & Regards,

  16. @Sridhar: We have a dedicated thread for free profile evaluations and I’d have preferred your post there. But considering you’ve gone the extra distance to share a book review on Goodreads, I’d be happy to provide some inputs here.

    Your profile starts off as any regular IT/Male/Engineer applicant. But then you start talking about the international stint and the team leading experience, and the prospects start looking brighther. Then the GMAT makes the graph dip. But then you talk about the variety of stuff you’ve done outside work and you start differentiating yourself from the typical techie from India. So all in all, a pretty we’ve got a pretty sine-wave kinda profile on our hands.

    Keeping that in context, the admission + scholarship situation starts looking tougher for the top programs. But as you are open to looking at American bschools too, you could consider programs where the scope of getting a graduate assistantship is higher. That’ll make the MBA cost more affordable.

    For a more indepth evaluation, bschool selection and application strategy, I’d encourage you to take up the MBA MAP.

  17. Hi Sameer,

    I follow your posts and find them very genuine. I would like to know your views about my prospects. However I have filled the profile evaluation form also.

    I am an Engineer from NIT, Rourkela.. Worked for 3 years prior to my full time 2 Year MBA from XIM, Bhubaneswar. Post MBA I have managerial experience of 6 years now. In order to broaden my horizon and get into international job market I would like to go for my second MBA for 1 year. I am currently working for a telecom giant and take care of Prepaid Marketing for revenues of 200 Crore a month.

    I have managed to get only 650( 89 Q & 50 V) in last GMAT attempt. I am considering IE, Lancaster, Emory, SDA Boconi, ESADE etc. Any other school do u suggest? Is there any chance of getting into any of these schools?


  18. Dev:
    You are interacting with us offline and on the verge of formally working with us.
    So you get extra special treatment and a more structured way of tackling the schools on your list, when you sign up.
    Will skip the query here.

  19. Hi Sameer,

    I am an analytics professional from India.
    I wanted to know if lack of international experience will pull down one’s profile while applying for asian MBA schools (like NUS,HKUST,NBS etc) and how can this be compensated ?


  20. hi sameer, I hv got 2 yrs work ex in supply chain management. since last 1 years I hv been working in quality assurance in a government org.I am a B tech in chemical engg wid gud scores.I intend to pursue an M sc in supply chain frm singapore . do u think my current QA background can prove to be a hindrance? kindly reply.

  21. Hi Sameer,

    I have been following your posts and the MCB forum for quite a long time.

    I completed my in computer technology with 73% and working with Tech Mahindra for the past 1.8 years.My acads are:


    Gave CAT exam on 2012 and 2014 and ended up with abysmal scores.

    Iam planning now for GMAT and targeting for b-schools such as ISB Hyderabad,NUS,Carnegie Mellon,LBS and W.P. Carey for MBA.

    I am aware GMAT score is only a part of application, but considering my acads and work experience which will be the safe score for me to get into any of these colleges? and when Should I take it? (Im planning for fall 2016 admission and taking GMAT on October first week this year.

    What care to be taken when drafting SOP’s and LOR’s for the same?(Iam planning for an MBA specialized in Strategy and Supply chain.

    Please suggest me an overall plan for the same.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  22. i am a dentist with two dental clinics in india.i started my brand 4yrs back,but now i want to do a mba while the clinic operates in inida.i was planning to do mba from nus, insead or isb..can you advice me whether there are there any select colleges which are a notch ahead in establishing students from background like me.I mean being a doctor do i need to choose college accordingly or just any good college will help.
    my plans are to work for any consulting company post mba and mean while open up fe more branches in inida..which will operate by a group of collegues.
    plz advice..

  23. @Bijaya: It can work, if you are able to write a strong SoP explaining your background and rationale for pursuing the degree.

    @Ravishankar: Aim for the highest score you can and then work backwards based on what you actually get. We’ll be publishing posts on how to write an effective SoP soon. Watch out for that.

    @Punit: I don’t know of any MBA program that specialises in your area. Healthcare as the broader industry is more common. Moving to a consulting role may be challenging though.


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