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HR & EDUCATION | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore
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Singapore's 30 largest MBA programmes 2014

Singapore unfazed by loss of top MBA programme

There is no reason why Singapore’s MBA industry shouldn’t recover from what it seems like a broken wing when a top-ranked American executive MBA programme relocated to Hong Kong. The industry remains a preferred destination for many international students. After opening in 2000 in Singapore, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business made headlines mid last year when it announced pulling out of its executive MBA to HK to get closer to China.

In an exclusive interview with William W. Kooser, associate dean for global outreach, he noted that while they were very successful in Singapore, they felt that they could gain an even more diverse student body by moving their campus to Hong Kong. Its Hong Kong campus opened with a pioneering class of 180.

He clarifies though that they still maintain a presence in Singapore. As such, he wanted to regard it as much an expansion of their footprint as it is a move. Straits Times reports that the school will carry on teaching the 166 students enrolled in Singapore until 2015.

Minimal impact

JCU Singapore deputy vice chancellor and head of Singapore campus, Dr Dale Anderson commented that the move by Chicago Booth appears an isolated case and has minimal impact. Singapore, he said, remains to be a preferred destination of foreign students due to reputation for quality education, a safe place to live, Asian exposure in an English speaking environment, multicultural environment and ability to mix with students from across the world. “Singapore is generally perceived as higher quality compared with regional peers in MBA offerings which helps to justify higher tuition fees,” he said. JCU has 505 students taking its MBA programme costing $32,100 only. According to Anderson, their total enrollment for 2013 grew over 50% compared to 2008.

Opportunities

Gan Li-Ling, senior executive, marketing & communications at PSB Academy, meanwhile found the relocation of such institutions opening opportunities. “Given regional proximity to China’s huge market, we can expect greater interests and relocation by these institutions from Singapore to Hong Kong. This will lend itself to market opportunities for other institutions based in Singapore to further grow and penetrate the market, “ said Gan.

PSB Academy has 189 students enrolled in its MBA programmes – the University of Newcastle, Australia and the University of Nottingham, UK. Gan noted that there are still many other well-established institutions such as INSEAD, Yale, and Duke here leveraging Singapore as a spring board to reach out to neighbouring countries. INSEAD, which opened its Asian campus in Singapore in 2010, has a total of 1,024 students enrolled in its fulltime MBA programme. This is a significant growth from its pioneering class of 53 students from 26 countries. 

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