The full-time MBA program at the National University of Singapore is a relatively new and small experience that was founded in 1985. As you would expect, the vast majority of MBA students here are from outside Singapore. In the class entered in 2012, 91% of the students are deemed “international.” The diversity of nationalities in the class, from just 20 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: six of every ten graduates in the Class of 2012 landed jobs in Singapore.
The primary focus of the 17-month-long MBA program is predictably on Asian business, though students can spend a semester on exchange at one of 42 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.”
Round 1: 01 October 2017 – 31 January 2018
Round 2: 01 February 2018 – 31st March 2018
Rolling admissions cycle
APPLICATION Essay Tips
National University of Singapore offers a 17-month MBA program offering specializations in 4 distinct areas (Finance, Marketing, Healthcare Management, or Strategy & Organization). If you are looking for an Asian-focused program with strong placement in the Consulting (21%), Finance (23%), or Technology (29%) industries in Singapore (50%), China (13%) or other Asia-Pacific countries, then NUS may be a great program for you.
Essay 1 –
Tell us about your intermediate (5 yrs) post-MBA career goal, describing your industry, function and country of choice and a plan on how you would achieve this goal. (300 words)
All MBA programs want their students to be pleased with the employment they find and the career trajectory ahead of them after graduation. Applicants must demonstrate in this essay that they know what they can expect to achieve within 5 years of graduating so that the Admissions office will believe you are realistically driven.
LinkedIn searches for NUS alumni can be very useful to see what a wide range of MBA alumni have succeeded in doing within around 5 years of graduating. Go to NUS’s LinkedIn page and then use the Search Alumni button, and you can restrict your search to graduates around 2010-2012 to get a sense of their 5-year progress. This isn’t foolproof: you must check that you are looking at MBA graduates (and not undergraduate degree holders or exchange students), but this will offer you wider insight than your own small circle of acquaintances. Go ahead and reach out to alumni through LinkedIn and through your personal network to discuss how they reached the advancement that they did to add depth to your own plans for this essay.
Essay 2 –
Please answer ONE of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)
1. I am passionate about…
2. My greatest challenge has been…
3. My biggest failure was….
All three of these questions are opportunities to share an interesting experience from your life. Passion comes through with differentiating details (did you compete in 10Ks every weekend? Did you turn $500 in high school summer earnings into an investment portfolio worth thousands?). Challenges are overcome with drive, tenacity, and commitment. Failures are learning experiences and launch pads for subsequent successes. Share an example here that will help the Admission committee see your exceptionality come alive.
Essay 3 –
Please introduce yourself to your NUS MBA classmates. (300 words)
This essay can be about anything in your background. The easiest way to tackle a question like this is to identify 3 attributes that describe you and spend around 100 words sharing an example of each. Keep in mind that NUS is seeking students from diverse professional and national backgrounds with evidence of strong leadership abilities and positive impact on business and society. Essays emphasising and sharing evidence of these attributes will demonstrate fit with NUS well.
Optional Essay –
If there is anything else you would like to share with the Admissions Committee that was not covered in your application, please include here (eg. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance). (150 words)
I personally find the placement of this question second a bit awkward, since at this point in the application you still have essay space to “cover” things about yourself. I recommend writing the remaining two essay questions first and then examining what areas of your background you may not have explained completely.
This optional space may certainly be used to explain poor academic performance, but if possible I highly recommend shining the spotlight on an area of strength in the process: poor grades do not have to stand on their own when you can demonstrate that you spent your undergraduate education in significant extracurricular leadership roles, for example.