News Details | 13-Aug-2010

Nanyang Business School joins hands with top Asian biz schools to recruit Westerners for an Asian MBA

Cooperation instead of competition is the new buzzword for the top four business schools in Asia which have, in an unprecedented move, joined forces to lure more Westerners to do their MBA in rapidly growing Asia.

Nanyang Technological University’s Nanyang Business School in Singapore, China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, HKUST Business School in Hong Kong and the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, the top ranked Asian business schools by Financial Times, have traditionally competed with one another for Western students for their Master in Business Administration (MBA) programmes.

In a path-breaking move, they are now uniting to raise their visibility collectively in the United States, Canada and Europe to attract more Western candidates to earn an MBA degree in Asia as the world’s economic activity shifts from the West to the East.

Nanyang Business School, ranked 27th globally in the 2010 MBA worldwide rankings by the Financial Times, is the best in Southeast Asia. It offers the opportunity to study in what many believe is the world’s most business friendly city and most open economy for international trade.

Professor Gillian Yeo, Nanyang Business School's Interim Dean, says: "While we compete with each other for students, we have joined together because we share a real passion for excellence in business education and for Asia. To sustain this region's rapid growth, we need more global business leaders with a deep understanding of the region.

"By presenting ourselves as a group, it is easier to showcase opportunities for North American and European students at each of our schools. We want to encourage their applications to increase the numbers of globally-minded students in our annual admissions."

Asian universities are trying harder to compete for Master of Business Administration students with U.S. and European institutions led by the London Business School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia and Harvard Business School in Boston.

“As the global MBA rankings of the top four Asian business schools have risen significantly in recent years and all four of us are now in the top 30, we believe that we are ready to attract a larger percentage of Western students,’’ says Associate Professor Chung Lai Hong, Associate Dean and Director of the MBA programme at Nanyang Business School.

“Our big attraction is that our students get a globally recognised MBA with an Asian flavour as the centre of world economic activity moves to the East. On top of that, a top Asian MBA such as Nanyang’s costs on average 30 to 50 per cent less than similar American programmes. Additionally, Singapore as a top global business city, offers unique learning and career opportunities to Western as well as Asian MBA students,” Prof Chung adds.

Nanyang Business School admits about 100 full-time MBA students every year for the 16-month programme. Another 50 or so MBA students are part-timers and take two to two and half years to complete the programme.

Already 24 per cent of the new batch of full-time MBA students at Nanyang Business School is from Europe and another 9 per cent are from North America. While the European interest to do an MBA in Singapore has been strong and quite steady, American participation is picking up, says Prof Chung.

“Asia is growing rapidly, new businesses are prospering and tremendous wealth is being created here. As a result more job opportunities for MBAs are being created here in Asia. Westerners with an Asian MBA have good opportunities in global companies here. Even if they choose to return home, they will be highly valued for their understanding of Asia,’’ adds Prof Chung.

The idea of the top four Asian business schools forming a friendly alliance developed over the past two years as they found themselves in a minority at international MBA fairs, which typically have 30-40 Western business schools participating and only a handful of top Asian schools. While participants were somewhat curious about Asia business schools, they still gravitated towards the Western schools.

Asia’s rapid rebound from the global financial crisis and the growing Western business interest in this part of the world gave further impetus to the four top business schools coming together to form an alliance to seize the opportunity to increase the visibility of the top business schools in Asia.

Under a memorandum of understanding entered into by the four schools, they are open to collaborations in various areas. To begin with, they will jointly market their MBA programmes outside Asia. Next month, senior officials from the four Asian schools will travel to New York, Los Angles, San Francisco and Toronto to speak jointly with prospective students at recruiting events. This will be followed by a European tour covering London, Paris and Madrid in October.

The objectives of the friendly alliance are:
• To establish a Top Asia Business Schools grouping as a platform for increasing the visibility and reputation of Asian Business Schools and to strengthen collaboration among the four members.
• To engage in joint branding and marketing of the Management and MBA programmes of the Top Asia Business Schools, namely CEIBS, HKUST, ISB and NBS, with particular focus on markets outside of Asia.

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Media contacts:
To speak with Assoc Prof Chung Lai Hong and some of the Western MBA students currently at Nanyang Business School, please contact:

Mr Narendra Aggarwal,
Director, Public Affairs,
Nanyang Business School
Tel: 6790 5678; Email:  

Feisal Abdul Rahman,
Senior Assistant Director (Publicity, Media & Account Relations),
Corporate Communications Office
Tel: 6790 6687; Email:

About Nanyang Technological University


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