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Round 1: 01 October 2016 – 31 January 2017 (Scholarship Qualifying Period)
Round 2: 01 February 2017 – 31 March 2017
The full-time MBA program at the National University of Singapore is a relatively new and small experience that was founded in 1985 and most recently had an annual intake of 91 students. A part-time MBA program is even smaller, with a cohort of 52 students. Those two graduate programs are overwhelmed by a massive undergraduate business population with more than 2,700 current students.
The school’s full-time intake has actually been declining in recent years. After hitting a high of 134 students in 2008, there have been four consecutive years of increasing smaller class sizes. In 2009, it fell to 113; in 2010 to 104; in 2011 to 98, and most recently to just 91 students. Indeed, this program is so small that elective courses are taught at night so that the school can use those classes for its part-timers.
As you would expect, the vast majority of MBA students here are from outside Singapore. In the class entered in 2012, 91% of the students are deemed “international.” The diversity of nationalities in the class, from just 20 different countries, is much less than most top business schools in the U.S. And when students become graduates, they inevitably stay close to home: six of every ten graduates in the Class of 2012 landed jobs in Singapore.
The primary focus of the 17-month-long MBA program is predictably on Asian business, though students can spend a semester on exchange at one of 42 partner universities, including New York University’s Stern School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in the U.S., Fudan University in China, and IE Business School in Spain.
The school aims to be the leading business school in Asia, globally recognized for excellence in education and research. Its stated mission is to “advance knowledge and develop leaders so as to serve business and society.”
Poets&Quants’ 2012 ranking places the school 22nd among non-U.S. players, behind other Asian schools such as Hong Kong’s UST and CEIBS. NUS Business School slipped six places in 2012 from a rank of 16th in 2011 due to a weaker showing in The Economist’s latest list.
Nonetheless, NUS is among the highest ranked Asian business schools by Forbes, The Financial Times, and The Economist. In Forbes’ 2011 ranking for two-year MBA programs, which measures schools on the return-on-investment to students, NUS Business School was rated the top school in Singapore and Asia, placing fourth among business schools outside the United States. It was the first time a Singapore business school has made the Forbes list.
The Financial Times ranked the NUS MBA 36th in the world in 2013, the Asia Pacific Executive MBA and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – NUS Executive MBA 26th and 5th in the world in 2012 respectively.
The huge difference between the global rankings of The Financial Times and The Economist–a gap of 46 places–for NUS suggests the difficulty of ranking a comparatively new and very small full-time MBA program. Differences on this scale–no matter how flawed any individual ranking system might be–should give applicants some pause. That is why Poets&Quants does a composite ranking: to suppress the noise and get closer to the signal of what rankings are trying to tell MBA candidates.