Top busi­ness schools gear up for MBA up­grade in 2017

An in­no­va­tion driven econ­omy re­quires more than the old school.

Singapore Business Review - - CONTENTS -

Sin­ga­pore’s MBA pro­grammes saw sig­nif­i­cant de­clines of 10 to 20% amongst in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the first quar­ter of 2017, with less full time en­rollees from ma­jor source coun­tries such as China, Viet­nam, and In­dia, amidst signs of in­dus­try con­sol­i­da­tion.

With this trend well on the way, Sin­ga­pore’s top MBA providers are set to im­ple­ment ma­jor pro­gramme up­dates and over­hauls in the midst of an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive global arena and a highly dy­namic and volatile eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment.

Es­tab­lished busi­ness ed­u­ca­tors in the city are ac­quir­ing new cam­puses and fa­cil­i­ties, adopt­ing flex­i­ble in­tern­ship ar­range­ments, ramp­ing up part­ner­ships for in­ter­na­tional place­ments, and tap­ping on tech­nol­ogy to de­liver more ac­ces­si­ble ed­u­ca­tion for its multi-task­ing stu­dent pop­u­la­tion. Tra­di­tional cour­ses are en­hanced with more so­cially rel­e­vant themes, and new highly-spe­cialised de­grees are be­ing of­fered in con­junc­tion with gen­eral tracks.

Lim Bee Ing, cen­tre di­rec­tor, Manch­ester Busi­ness School

(MBS), South­east Asia Cen­tre, says that long-es­tab­lished MBA providers around the world are us­ing in­no­va­tion, economies of scale, and em­ployer recog­ni­tion to es­tab­lish their foot­prints in ma­jor fi­nan­cial hubs, thereby con­tin­u­ing to ease out smaller in­sti­tu­tions and re­cent en­trants. Top lo­cal MBA providers in Sin­ga­pore are not threat­ened, as they step up to the chal­lenge by ex­pand­ing in­ter­na­tional net­works and strength­en­ing part­ner­ships with the na­tional gov­ern­ment.

In­no­va­tive ed­u­ca­tion

Pra­teek Nayak, re­gional head, South­east Asia, Amity Global Busi­ness School, shares that as the mar­ket is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a state of con­sol­i­da­tion and that as the de­mand de­creases due to gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion, it is a good time for busi­ness schools to make im­prove­ments to their cur­ric­ula and main­tain their com­pet­i­tive po­si­tion in the mar­ket. “In­creas­ingly, peo­ple know what they want with re­gard to their in­ter­est and ca­reer plans. In­stead of em­bark­ing on a gen­eral de­gree, they en­roll into pro­grammes that can equip them with spe­cialised skills and knowl­edge in fields such as finance, hu­man re­source man­age­ment, and en­trepreneur­ship and help them to scale the ca­reer lad­der,” says Dr Sam Choon-yin, dean,

PSB Academy. “As the gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives on ‘SG Skills­fu­ture’ ex­panded the fund­ing into a wider spread of ‘skill cour­ses’ or VET cour­ses, the lo­cal seg­ment swung to a sta­bilised sit­u­a­tion as the de­mand was cap­tured by the public funded pro­grammes. How­ever, th­ese im­pacts may be marginal in the case of the MBA academe,” adds Nayak.

As providers in­no­vate, it is cru­cial to dif­fer­en­ti­ate and of­fer firsts, not mere re­hashes of what oth­ers al­ready have. Brand­ing is key, and stu­dents hope to find the best in­sti­tu­tion that could pro­vide them with a bet­ter in­di­vid­ual mar­ket brand­ing.

Re­vamps and re­boots

With the on­go­ing weed­ing out of pro­grammes, in­cum­bent play­ers which have main­tained a sta­ble de­mand now have the op­por­tu­nity to boost re­cruit­ment and cre­ativ­ity. Marie-an­tonie Chua Nan Sze, di­rec­tor, Grad­u­ate Stud­ies, NUS Busi­ness School, NUS, says that NUS has an­swered the call for greater flex­i­bil­ity in its MBA pro­gramme. She says that the in­tro­duc­tion of a cred­it­bear­ing in­tern­ship will al­low MBA stu­dents to take on good full­time in­tern­ships even when such op­por­tu­ni­ties be­come avail­able dur­ing the main study semesters, and at the same time, earn mod­u­lar cred­its that can be counted to­ward the MBA pro­gramme.

Other no­table changes in­clude Amity Global Busi­ness School’s ac­qui­si­tion of a new main cam­pus at Kay Siang Road and INSEAD’S on­line plat­form for its ac­cel­er­ated 10-month MBA. AGBS’S cam­pus boasts of a Fash­ion Stu­dio, Engi­neer­ing Lab­o­ra­to­ries, Moot Courts, and Busi­ness In­cu­ba­tors to as­sist stu­dents and alumni in busi­ness ven­ture star­tups with a holis­tic ed­u­ca­tion with Amity. On the other hand, INSEAD’S on­line plat­form of­fers an early start to stu­dents by lev­er­ag­ing new

Sin­ga­pore’s MBA pro­grammes saw sig­nif­i­cant de­clines of 10 to 20% amongst in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the first quar­ter of 2017.

INSEAD’S on­line plat­form of­fers an early start to stu­dents by lev­er­ag­ing new tech­nolo­gies with on­line con­tent, “in­te­grated” dig­i­tal cases, and in­dus­tryspe­cific ori­en­ta­tion videos for par­tic­i­pants.

tech­nolo­gies with on­line con­tent, “in­te­grated” dig­i­tal cases, and in­dus­try-spe­cific ori­en­ta­tion videos for par­tic­i­pants.

“The shift in em­pha­sis is to help arm stu­dents with life skills. Old­school rote learn­ing and mem­o­ris­ing have given way to ap­ply­ing text­book knowl­edge to real-world sce­nar­ios and more cur­rent con­tent. Lan­guage lessons and as­sess­ment now place more weight on com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills to help stu­dents con­verse in English lan­guage ef­fi­ciently,” says Eric Lim, head of MDIS Busi­ness School, Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute of Sin­ga­pore.

MBS’ Lim says that MBS’S pro­gramme prides it­self in its in­ter­na­tional net­work and the ben­e­fits of shar­ing knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence across this net­work. MBS, with its fo­cus on ap­plied learn­ing, of­fers a se­lec­tion of in­ten­sive face-to-face res­i­den­tial work­shops at its cen­tre, as well as with part­ner global cen­tres in Asia, UK, the Mid­dle East, and the Amer­i­cas.

Equip­ping stu­dents with the right set of life skills may also be done in the con­text of each stu­dent’s per­son­al­ity, goals, and life sit­u­a­tion. Urs Peyer, dean of de­gree pro­grammes and as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of finance at INSEAD, shares the high­lights of INSEAD’S new MBA cur­ricu­lum, one of which is a per­son­alised learn­ing jour­ney aimed to guide stu­dents to de­velop self­aware­ness, in­ter­per­sonal skills, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion ef­fec­tive­ness through pro­fes­sional and peer coach­ing.

Busi­ness schools across Sin­ga­pore are be­gin­ning to of­fer highly spe­cialised cour­ses and pro­grammes, one of which is the Spe­cial­i­sa­tion in In­no­va­tion & En­trepreneur­ship by NUS. To be launched in Au­gust 2017, this pro­gramme in­cor­po­rates in­puts by an En­trepreneur­ship

Ex­pert Panel con­sist­ing of aca­demics, prac­ti­tion­ers, as well as alumni, and will con­sist of new elec­tives, in­clud­ing more Ex­pe­ri­en­tial & In­ter­na­tional Learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for budding en­trepreneurs and cre­ative in­trapreneurs.

Fur­ther stud­ies

Pro­fes­sion­als and ex­ec­u­tives who wish to spe­cialise fur­ther and reach the top of the busi­ness lad­der have more than a wide ar­ray of ca­reer paths to choose from. For those who aim to take it a notch higher, the

PSB Academy is set to launch its first Doc­tor of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (DBA) course with its part­ner Ed­in­burgh Napier Univer­sity as an ad­di­tional op­tion for ex­ec­u­tives who want to pur­sue fur­ther stud­ies.

“Equiv­a­lent to the PH.D. in terms of orig­i­nal­ity of work and aca­demic achieve­ment, the DBA em­pha­sises con­tri­bu­tion to busi­ness knowl­edge and the ap­pli­ca­tion of ideas to the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. It blends the­o­ret­i­cal learn­ing with prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence based on a busi­ness con­text to cre­ate a re­flec­tive prac­ti­tioner,” says Choon-yin. In the mean­time, Lim says that part of MBS’ long term strat­egy is the in­tro­duc­tion of new pro­grammes in line with those al­ready launched by the Univer­sity of Manch­ester. One of the pro­grammes that stu­dents can look for­ward to is the dual MBA de­grees with Kel­ley School of Busi­ness and Ren­min Univer­sity in China.

Who made it to the list?

INSEAD’S ac­cel­er­ated 10-month

MBA con­tin­ues to at­tract en­roll­ment. The school topped the list with 1,055 stu­dents in 2017. NUS ranks sec­ond with 617 stu­dents across its var­i­ous MBA pro­grammes, with most stu­dents en­rolled for an NUS MBA and an

NUS Ex­ec­u­tive MBA. James Cook Univer­sity fol­lows at third place with 311 stu­dents for its James Cook Univer­sity MBA. The Manch­ester Busi­ness Schools comes in at a close fourth with 300 stu­dents en­rolled in its Manch­ester Global Mas­ter of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion. The Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute of Sin­ga­pore fin­ishes the top five with 248 stu­dents across its three MBA of­fer­ings.

INSEAD tops this year’s list of MBA providers

Manch­ester Busi­ness School clinches the fourth spot with 300 stu­dents

Amity Global Busi­ness School’s main cam­pus at Kay Siang Road

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