Companies in Singapore don’t need to go far while fishing for talent. This business and finance hub is fast becoming a grooming ground for m...

Companies in Singapore don’t need to go far while fishing for talent. This business and finance hub is fast becoming a grooming ground for managers, thanks to a progressive education system that is designed to support the development of key economic sectors.
The country has become the MBA destination for over 80,000 students from 120 nationalities, close to 60 international organisations and 90,000 expatriates. Even respected international institutions like University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (sixth overall in Financial Times MBA 2007 ranking), INSEAD (ranked No. 7), S P Jain Institute of Management, ESSEC Asian Centre and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, are offering MBA programmes here. “We have attracted some of the best global MBA institutional brand names such as INSEAD and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business to Singapore to complement our home-grown institutions which offer quality MBA programmes,” says Magdalene Lee, director, education services division, Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
The exposure has done local institutions a lot of good. In 2006, the Economist Intelligence Unit topranked the Nanyang MBA Programme in Singapore and pegged it third in Asia. In the Financial Times ranking of the World’s 100 Best MBA Programmes (January 2007), the Nanyang MBA was again ranked best in Singapore, second in Asia, third in Asia-Pacific and 67th overall. Also, National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School’s full-time MBA programme has been ranked among the Top 100 (81st) in the world, according to the Financial Times MBA 2007 ranking.
The Singapore Management University (SMU), which opened its doors in 2000, is modelled on the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and aims to groom business leaders and entrepreneurs capable of excelling in a rapidly changing and dynamic world. “Plans for SMU to offer an MBA are in the pipeline. SMU currently offers 11 postgraduate degrees with specialised or cross-disciplinary focus in business and finance,” adds Lee.
Singapore’s advantage as a destination for MBA aspirants goes beyond the global institutional brand names. It is also a strategically located business destination. “Our location at the nexus of the booming economies of China and India, as well as South East Asia, and the hub of global businesses here spells tremendous opportunities for case studies, research, networking and career development — advantages unique to Singapore and unmatched by other MBA destinations across the world,” elaborates Lee.
There are also many opportunities for an MBA graduate to network in this cosmopolitan city. They get the opportunity to immerse and integrate into a multicultural environment — an experience they will find beneficial when looking for work among globally oriented businesses.


“Foreign students who are full-time matriculated or registered students pursuing an MBA in our local universities and institutes of higher learning can work part-time during term time for up to 16 hours per week, as well as full-time during school vacation,” says Lee. Sometimes the employer might require a letter of authorisation from the approved institutions to indicate that students are allowed to work during the school holiday.


Entry requirements vary from institution to institution. Course brochures or the university website provide course requirements. Students can then apply directly to the educational institutions accompanied by the relevant certification and documentation. “Our local universities accept online applications although some courses or programmes will require students to undergo an interview or placement test. Upon acceptance, students will be sent a Letter of Offer. Students should then return the acceptance form by the closing date and plan to be in Singapore at least two weeks before the semester commences,” says Lee.
Lee also advises: “For private schools, students should check that the school is registered with the Ministry of Education and that the course has been approved. International students should further establish that the school is case-trusted and preferably Singapore Quality Class for Private Education Organisations (SQC - PEO) approved.”


Salary structures vary based on the industry and company the student is placed in, location, an individual’s personal achievements and so on.
According to Richard Rubnan Que, marketing and admissions manager, NUS Business School, the maximum base salary of NUS MBA graduates is S$130,000 per year (based on 2006 full-time MBA and IMBA graduate statistics). For the Nanyang Business School, on average, the ranking report by the Financial Times has shown 110% increase in remuneration after three years of graduation and 82% graduates moved up levels of seniority in the same period. In their employment surveys amongst their MBA graduates, the average annual salary of those who just completed their MBA 2006 is S$70,000.
For INSEAD MBA graduates, in 2006, the annual average salary was $106,500.


With over 7,000 MNCs in Singapore, MBA students can look to gain a foothold in many prestigious organisations through internships and research with these MNCs in a range of businesses. This has also attracted MBA students to study here in order to ‘be where the action is’.
According to Que, “For the last two cohorts of the NUS MBA, we had students from over 30 countries (even from Myanmar, Azerbaijian, Uzbekistan, France) who specifically flew in, wanting to take advantage of the NUS MBA’s promise of delivering the best of the east and west, transforming them to become global business leaders.”
Elaborating further on the job opportunities, Lee says: “Singapore is always on the look-out for global talents. In the recent May Day message 2007, Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen noted that 2006 was a good year with 2.496 million people in the workforce, the highest ever. Workers also enjoyed higher bonuses and wage increases. In addition, 1,76,000 jobs were created last year.”

Accommodation: S$200-S$1,500 per month (rental varies with geographical area, type of accommodation, demand, facilities and the number of people sharing)
Utilities: S$50-S$80 per month
Food: S$300-S$450 per month
Public transport: S$50-S$100 per month (depending on the mode of transport and distance travelled)
Telecommunications: S$30-S$50 per month (varies with usage and package)
Books & Stationery: S$30-S$100 a month (varies with courses)
Personal expenses: S$100-S$200 per month (varies)
Estimated total: S$760-S$2000 per month

Students can seek help from Singapore Education Specialists in India, visit



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