What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: NUS Business School Q&A | TopMBA.com

What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: NUS Business School Q&A

By Niamh O

Updated October 29, 2020 Updated October 29, 2020

After a difficult year, the MBA job market is finally bouncing back.

But what does the future hold for MBA candidates and business schools?

TopMBA caught up with Enna Tan, Head, BIZCareers at NUS Business School to find out

How has the job market changed this year from last year?

There has been more resilient hiring within the tech sector and pharma/life science sectors recently, a reduction in the number of hires by each company compared to previous years, however, Global MNCs are still recruiting for their leadership or management program.

What is the recruitment process like at NUS? Would you say it’s difficult to earn a place on the MBA program?

Entry into globally ranked MBA programs can be competitive, as these programs attract ambitious and high calibre candidates from around the world. The NUS MBA attracts more than 30 nationalities every year. About a quarter to a third of program applicants are offered a place.

What do you look for in NUS candidates?

We look at each individual holistically, this goes beyond GMAT/GRE scores, and we use a balanced scorecard to evaluate candidates. We have certainly rejected candidates with a high GMAT and stellar academic background. We look for attributes such as leadership qualities, communication skills, intellectual curiosity, international exposure, self-awareness, and fit for the program.

What special resources does NUS have for business school students when it comes to careers? How do you prepare them for life after graduation?

We offer workshops and talks for students to enrich their self-assessment and career planning tools e.g. Pitching & Networking, Interviews skills including Assessment Centres & Industries Awareness Engagement.

  • Career workshops include Consulting Case Interviews, Financial Modelling, Tech-centric Assessment Centres, Data Visualization & Presentation Skills.

We subscribed to external platforms like MBA-Exchange, Highered EFMD, Vault, and CaseCoach where students can access resources, online seminars and workshops, AI-powered assessments, coaching, for free. These platforms also offer internship and job opportunities.

Through NUS Entrepreneurship platforms like Lean Launch Pad & Graduate Research Innovation Program, like-minded students come together to develop business ideas or work on start-ups. These platforms also offer job and business opportunities in the start-up space.

We also worked closely with other NUS Career offices on joint opportunities and career events.

How successful are NUS MBA graduates at landing a job after graduation? What is the success rate? And what are some of the notable companies?

In past years, consistently more than 90 percent of our graduates received offers within three months of graduation.

We see high internship conversion offers e.g. from the class of 2021 through a recent class survey, 1/3 of the class have already received full-time job conversion from internship.

Micron, Microsoft, Amazon, SAP, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Adobe, KPMG, Google, Mitsui & Co. - companies that consistently recruit more than 2 MBAs from us annually.

Deloitte, BCG, McKinsey, Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, Uber, Mitsubishi Bank, EY, Visa, Citibank also recruited our most recent MBA grads.

Why should students choose to study an MBA at NUS?

The NUS MBA is ideal for students looking to gain deep insights into business in Asia, while developing a global outlook. The program offers a truly transformative experience for a number of reasons:

  • Students get to maximize their personal and professional development through highly immersive learning opportunities, and the program spans 17 months (full-time) up to 24-30 months (part-time). Students gain global exposure by participating in case competitions, international study trips, and exchange programs. They also get to explore different career pathways through internships, industry networking sessions, mentorships, Student Club activities and more.
  • Students learn by doing. The program’s rigorous approach combines academic and experiential components and pushes students out of their comfort zone. Our Academic and Experiential dual core foundation enables students to build their MBA foundational knowledge, while honing their soft skills (e.g. communication, negotiation, critical thinking, creative problem solving). The MBA Consulting Project imparts students with the valuable experience of applying what they have learned in the classroom, to solving real-world business challenges.
  • Students have the flexibility to deepen their knowledge in a specific domain or build their knowledge across a broad area. We offer a wide range of Academic Electives across nine areas of specialization (ranging from Digital Business, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Strategy & Organisation, Consulting, and more). Our Experiential Electives, such as Lean Launchpad, TechLaunch, and the Singapore Biodesign Fellowship, give students valuable hands-on experience in a start-up environment.
  • Students join a diverse and dynamic community, with more than 30 nationalities in a cohort from a wide variety of backgrounds, skills, and experiences. Students can build their international network, in an environment that facilitates rich cross-cultural learning and exchange of ideas.

What do you think the future holds for the MBA?

The global business landscape is constantly evolving, and COVID-19 has brought about even more unprecedented challenges. Key to survival and success is the ability to adapt.

MBA skills are more important than ever. MBA programs will continue to equip students with the foundation and skillsets to navigate through this evolving landscape. At NUS, we are harnessing the power of experiential learning and The NUS MBA Club Ecosystem. We have consciously invested our energies into building a powerful ecosystem of student clubs supported by corporates, alumni, and the entire business school and university community so that students can practice what they have learned in class and sharpen their soft skills through these clubs. They build relationships and their network through the ecosystem, often landing themselves with internship and full-time job opportunities.

MBA programs are leveraging technology to deliver better learning outcomes. We can probably agree that the face of education has been changed forever. During this pandemic, many institutions have shifted to 100 percent online teaching. Post pandemic, it’s not likely to return to 100 percent F2F teaching, so MBA programs will need to find a balance between online/offline delivery.

COVID-19 has accelerated the move towards adoption and provision of online education, and this is increasingly supported by smart technologies, especially AI (incl. for feedback, assessment, simulations, peer-learning, networking). We believe F2F MBA programs are here to stay, as the physical experience cannot be replaced, but we can leverage technology to deliver better learning outcomes, and this is what we’re doing at NUS.

Could you tell us some facts and figures for NUS MBA graduates and their job sectors and industries?

Major Industries were consistent from 2017 to 2019. Preliminary data from the Class of 2020 shows the top three industries remain the same:

  • Financial Services
  • Technology
  • Consulting

Roles that MBAs took from a business focus:

  • Strategic Development
  • Sales & Operation
  • Consultant
  • Partner Development
  • Channel Management
  • Product Management
  • Investment Management

Breakdown of MBAs moving into Finance:

  • Class of 2019 – 21%
  • Class of 2018 – 32%                  
  • Class of 2017 – 22%

The majority are in the investment/ Asset Management segment which includes Private Equity, Securities, Fintech, Fund management, Wealth & Credit platforms.

Recent GMAC figures show that MBA recruitment and salaries might boost again in 2021. How confident are you in the value of the MBA in the current job market? Do you expect to see more positive trends in the upcoming months?

In Singapore, business confidence has risen gradually in recent months. Economic indices like Purchasing Manufacturing index has shown positive growth recently, consumer and housing indices have gradually shown improvement as well. Expect to see better hiring environment in 2nd half of 2021. 


This article was originally published in October 2020 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  


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