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U.S. MBA Programs in Asia Draw Students From West

Almost half of the new class at UCLA's Singapore MBA program are U.S. residents, The Wall Street Journal reports. That's up from 29 percent just three years ago.

"Business students world-wide have become eager to get Asia on their resumes," the Journal says. Thus, while the Asia-based programs were intended to tap demand from Asians and Western expatriates, enrollment is picking up from students who commute "from places as far away as London and Los Angeles."

Acquiring direct knowledge and contacts in Asian business was a key consideration for one Microsoft manager cited in the article. The manager, William Lee, told the Journal he had never visited Asia before the program. Because Lee lives in Nevada and works entirely in the U.S., his UCLA-Singapore program required four trips to Asia over 15 months.

Among U.S. and European institutions offering MBA degrees in Asia are the University of Chicago (in Singapore); Northwestern University (in Hong Kong, as a joint venture with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, or HKUST); UCLA (in partnership with the National University of Singapore); and France's Insead.

Harvard Business School has resisted the trend. An associate dean said Harvard's regular faculty is fully occupied at home, and "it would be difficult to get faculty of the same stature and quality to teach abroad."

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • Th
    16 January 2008

    By the way, concerning Insead, I loved to read it was a pure French brand, barely known outside its mother country. This sounds strange when we know that there are less than 10% french-speaking students every year (including Belgians, Canadians...).
    Anyway. The purpose of these lines is just to underline that there is no "unique" ranking. Take the ones of WSJ, Economist or FT. You'll see huge differences. Speaking about the Economist, Insead is only at the 17th position. But Harvard only at the 13th! WSJ? Insead 15th, Harvard 21st, Stanford 25th. FT? Harvard 3rd, Stanford 4th, Insead 7th... So don't make me laugh and be less flimsy in your rationale.
    A former CEO of a US large cap told me that Insead wasn't maybe the first one regarding the quality of the academic content (even if at the high-end) but was definitely the more impressive as to human sensitiveness and relationships. It's your own business to decide what you think to be the more relevant according to your own career expectations.
    But don't forget that what makes a good CEO is not the (very) depth of his financial knowledge but his capability to federate brilliant people around him...

  • Bi
    Bing @ INSEAD
    13 December 2007

    I was at INSEAD last year. Actually, about 70-80% of students switch campus between France, Singapore (and Wharton). Same with the professors. Insead Singapore is brand new and still under construction, but it is the VERY same Insead experience and has the same two main recruiters: McBain Consulting Group, and the Goldman Stanley Bank. None complained so far about joining them in HK, Beijing or Singapore. So what's the problem? HKUST, never heared of it. CEIBS is the premier pure Asian school I guess.

  • IN
    INSEAD Student
    5 September 2007

    Since I'm an INSEAD student, I will not debate on whether INSEAD is in the top 10 or not.

    However, I would like to clarify one point. INSEAD favours campus exchange. It has a campus in France to cover Europe, a second campus in Singapore to cover Asia, and it has set up an exchange program with Wharton to cover the US. From what I see, it's very common for people to move around the three campus. In fact, it's difficult to find people who only stay on one single campus. Being able to move around is in fact one of the main attractions of INSEAD! Therefore, I don't believe any student or alum would actually hide the fact that he or she studied in Singapore. It simply doesn't sound right.

  • As
    Asia MBA rankings by Economist
    8 August 2007

    Hong Kong UST #37
    Nanyang #77
    NUS #99

    CEIBS not ranked in that years' survey

  • An
    8 August 2007

    Nanyang Tech University has table rankings of Asian MBAs in Finance and Accting in their MBA brochure on pages 6-7 here..

    Dominance of HK UST is rather clear in these 2 subjects.

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