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Darren: Great, what is the main reason because NUS MBA is consistently one of, if not the highest rank Singapore MBA program by a number of publications. We also hire faculty members, so during my time there was probably a smaller crew of faculty members and now we have at least 140 faculty members and many visiting faculty members.Like for example, this year, we have a Chief Asia Economist and Ex-MD of Goldman’s Sachs, who’s teaching Macroeconomics in the MBA class itself.Best of all I would say that for this year itself we will embark on a curriculum review in which we have included a soft-skills component. So, guiding them along not just in terms of career development, but also character development. So, actually maybe to take a step back here, could you tell our listeners which MBA programs and which EMBA programs you’re looking after at the NUS Business School? A year later, the Masters of Public Administration and Management in Chinese was added to my portfolio, so I was taking care of four programs and only last year the MBA was added to my portfolio as well.
So, I would say that it’s very practical, is applicable to the companies here.
I would say that not just our MBA is ranked top 23 in the world, our Executive MBA also provides additional support, where our UCLA-NUS Executive MBA is ranked top five worldwide EMBA by Financial Times and our Asia Executive MBA is are ranked top 26 worldwide Executive MBA. We do review whether the school has been actively sending out students and vice versa once every few years. Okay, great and if we could shift our attention to career services, which is, along with admissions which we’ll get to later often the biggest concerns of candidates.
That’s fantastic and you mentioned that one of the biggest differences is you have beefed up the career services, you’ve beefed up the number of study trips, you’ve beefed up the types and numbers of students you’re attracting.
Has the class size remained relatively similar to when you were a student and are there any plans to increase that roughly 100-student class size? Chua: I would say that the class size has definitely increased from when I was a student, but more importantly, the quality. I mean year on year, we look at the quality of the candidates that we admit and we try to improve on the people that we recruit.
I would say that, I’m so sorry, I do not know the exact numbers, but it’s definitely numbers into the hundreds of thousands and it really does help with two networks; NUS network as well as Peking University Network. So, I would say that this is also part of the overall scheme for our students to have an international exposure, so if it’s not through student exchange for about three to four months, then it would be through the summer or winter exchanges, which runs for about two weeks. Darren: Got it and do the normal regular NUS MBA students—do they take classes at the same time with the NUS-PKU and NUS-HEC students and S3 students? In addition, we also try to make opportunities for mingling between the students as well as the Executive MBA students, the students as well as the alumni. We have workshops, many of them business etiquette, interview skills, resume review; we have a lot of networking events.
And it’s not just at the business school level but it’s also at the University level. If students are too busy to take part in these ones, especially the part-time students, they can choose to go on the study trips, which we organize through different parts of the world about five times every year. So, finance, marketing, strategy and organization, real estate and health care management. We also have daily job postings and internships as well as career advisory with individual career counselors.Of course, the MBA team as well, so beefing up the professionalism and these things and teams, so we get more study trips.Last time it was one trip per year and now it’s like five. We send our students for case competitions; we get a greater diversity and better quality of candidates. He teaches you how to write, speak, is really leadership communication. Tan Soo Jin, who in 2008 was named one of the top 100 headhunters in the world. He has come to conduct fire side chats with our students. So, I joined NUS about seven years ago and in 2008, was promoted to head up the Executive MBA programs, consisting of the Asia Pacific Executive MBA in English, Pacific Executive MBA in Chinese as well as the UCLA NUS Executive MBA.Darren: Great, so a focus on attracting world class faculty and experienced faculty and constant review of the curriculum to make sure it’s relevant and important for today’s MBAs.You mentioned the management communication – the new curriculum change. Chua: So, all our students will have to go through this in addition to marry the academic side and the practical side, we also have meet them, management practicum a compulsory subject for students joining us next year onwards.Let us know what you’d like to hear on the podcast! This is Darren from Singapore MBA Consulting and I’m really excited. Chua Nan Sze Marie-Antonie, who is the Director of Graduate Studies at NUS Business School. That’s very important knowledge that you get in the MBA. I would say during my time itself, the offices were quite small, there were no rankings and today we have rankings.So, she oversees both the MBA and the EMBA programs at the school. It has since progressed from 80 something right up to 23 worldwide MBA rankings for Financial Times.So we are able to reach out to a lot of alumni if we want to and the alumni is also quite active, so they do hold gatherings in different cities in different parts of the world, occasionally, not just for social events, but also the academic forums and corporate visits and things like that. Darren: So, correct me if I’m wrong, but the NUS MBA can run 16 months. Two of which are out of Asia and three of which are within Asia. Chua: So, coming back to the exchange program there is an application, usually the hot schools which would be schools like Cornell, Duke, NYU and some of the top schools in Asia like Tsinghua and ISB. Our students, both full-time and part-time students, whether with specialization or without, still go to these schools for exchange. As I mentioned earlier, we also have our Executive in Residence, Mr.Darren: Great and one other question I had about the academic program, was exchange programs. So, the last year we went to Thailand, we went to Hong Kong, we went to Japan. They will be, I would say, “oversubscribed” by our students. Sometimes it can be to get advantage, because some of these schools offer stronger courses in, for example, luxury marketing in HEC Paris; things like that. Chua: I would really hope that everyone will have an opportunity to visit Singapore and in the process, visit NUS itself. Tan Soo Jin who was the top 100 headhunters of 2008 to come in to provide some career advice, but most of all I would say, because of the diversity, because of the bonds that you form during your MBA, probably one of the best ways to get a job will be through your friends in the MBA.Another question I had about ranking, because a lot of people listening, I’m sure they have this question: NUS has a great ranking, you guys are ranked 23 this year by FT. And some students might say, “Well, do I get more latitude with a western MBA degree for my career, than going to NUS even though it has a great reputation, great ranking and so forth.” What would you say to these candidates? Chua: Well, I would say that the candidates joining us would have the foresight to see that there is huge growth in Asia. At the same time, it offers a unique position, right in the heart of Asia, where everything is happening.It links up the best of East as well as West, our faculty are trained at the best schools in the West and they write case studies based on Asia-Pacific specific companies.