‘THEY ARE GETTING WORK EXPERIENCE THAT IS MEANINGFUL’
“If you take the unconventional track, you have to convince us you are capable of doing the work, and you are someone we would want in the program. For the first couple of years, we have a large number of our students on full scholarship. We want to attract the best students we can, so we are giving a high number of full scholarships.”
Admissions season for the school opens with a first-round deadline in October and concludes with a round-three cutoff in March. Applications for the next intake will open in August.
The official tuition for the full program is only $85,000, a total that includes all the travel and accommodation for the action learning projects and the U.S. immersion, along with accommodations at the exclusive Lanai Kijang residential complex, an easy five- to ten-minute walk from the academic campus. The complex is more like a five-star resort than a dorm, with a modern gymnasium, expansive swimming pool, and retreat spots under swaying palm trees. In fact, the program may well offer the best MBA value for money on the market today, given the scholarship aid and the extras that come with the sticker price.
‘WE ARE ATTRACTING STUDENTS WHO WANT TO DO SOMETHING BETTER FOR THE WORLD’
Where the school’s graduates will end up is anyone’s guess. The first class to graduate from the Asia School of Business won’t occur until next year. But the amount of project work in the program will give them plenty to talk about in their job interviews. “They are getting work experience that is meaningful and transformational,” Padurean says. “It would be hard to transform someone in a short-form MBA, but if you put them through a 20-month, very intense environment, they will be transformed through those five major projects.”
Fine only recently hired a head of career development, a former McKinsey consultant with an MBA from Cornell who is Malaysian. He believes some of the students in the inaugural class will become entrepreneurs. Others will go into traditional MBA jobs in finance and consulting. Quite a few want to stay in Southeast Asia. “Part of being a startup is you learn as you go,” he says. “I can tell you how we did admissions but not placement because we haven’t done that yet.”
In ten years, Fine imagines that the Asia School of Business will be a vibrant intellectual community turning out exceptional global business leaders for the region on a regular basis. “I hope it will be a vibrant center of business thinking,” he muses. “To some extent, we are attracting students who want to do good in the world. I hope we build a reputation of having students who want to do something better for the world.”