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 100 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.
As you would expect, the vast majority of MBA students here are from outside Singapore. In the class entered in 2016, 93% of the students are deemed “international.” The diversity of nationalities in the class, from 28 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: Most graduates (43%) land jobs in Singapore and most (about 40%) are in the financial or consulting industries.
The primary focus of the 17-month MBA program is predictably on Asian business, though students can spend a semester on exchange at one of 60 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’ 2017 ranking places the school 13th among non-U.S. players, ahead of other Asian schools such as Hong Kong’s UST and CEIBS. NUS Business School rose one place in 2017 from a rank of 14th in 2016.
NUS is also the among the highest-ranked Asian business schools by Forbes, the Financial Times, and Bloomberg Businessweek. In Forbes’ 2017 ranking for two-year MBA programs, which measures schools on the return-on-investment to students, NUS Business School was rated No. 2 in Asia among two-year MBA programs, and No. 7 best international MBAs two-year program outside the U.S. The school first made the Forbes list in 2011.
The Financial Times ranked the NUS MBA No. 4 in Asia, No. 18 worldwide, and No. 22 worldwide for Finance. Businessweek named NUS No. 2 in Asia and No. 19 worldwide. The Economist, however, ranks NUS eighth in Asia and No. 99 worldwide — a major disparity best explained by the difficulty of ranking a comparatively new and very small full-time MBA program. But differences on this scale — no matter how flawed any individual ranking system might be — should give applicants some pause, which 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.
In other, lesser-known rankings, NUS has ranked No. 15 for Business & Management Studies (2017) and No. 14 for Accounting & Finance (2016) in the QS World University Rankings; and No. 5 in Asia-Pacific and No. 42 out of 232 schools globally (2017) in the inaugural QS Global ranking. It was named No. 4 outside North America (2017) in the University of Texas at Dallas World Rankings.