This article was first published on DollarsAndSense.sg.
With news that up to 40% of future cohorts of Singaporeans will become degree holders, it seems like having a degree may no longer be sufficient to give you access to good jobs. Degree holders may opt to upgrade themselves by taking an MBA to get ahead on the corporate ladder.
What Is A MBA?
A MBA, or Master’s in Business Administration, allows corporate workers to widen their professional network and gain valuable skills in a wide range of business-related fields, such as human resources, operations, marketing to strategy and finance. Much of what is taught in the curriculum consists of case studies and discussions that will help you become a better manager and executive. An MBA also gives you the opportunity to improve soft skills such as communication and leadership. MBA applicants usually have at least 2-3 years’ worth of working experience before applying.
There are some cost differences between doing an MBA at a local and private university and this article will aim to shed light on the cost breakdown between different MBA programmes offered to Singaporeans and PRs.
What Are The Types of MBA Offered In Singapore?
First, there are full-time and part-time MBA programs offered by universities and private institutions. Some offer variations such as:
- Accelerated MBA (usually a year)
- Dual MBA (allows students to simultaneously pursue an MBA alongside another related degree)
- Executive MBA (for students with more than 5-7 years of work experience)
Costs for these different types of programmes can vary beyond just tuition fees. If you need to keep your job to stay afloat financially, it would be better to take a part-time programme to give you the flexibility of working while studying. A full-time programme might also mean forgoing promotion opportunities. Some companies may also sponsor your MBA in exchange for your (future) expertise.
How Much Do MBAs Cost In Singapore?
Second, the costs of tuition fees between MBA programmes offered by local and private universities can vary widely. The top programmes that are offered by INSEAD Singapore, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) also happen to have the heftiest price tags. For more affordable options, private institutions also offer MBA programmes, but they come at the cost of decreased reputability. It will be important to measure the costs and benefits beyond purely financial ones as having an MBA from a more reputable university can fetch a higher ROI (return on investment) down the road.
|University||Duration||Tuition fees as of 2020 (SGD)|
|ESSEC Global||12-month full-time||73,000|
|University of Sunderland|
|University of Hull|
|Murdoch University||16-month part-time||20,000|
Given that the costs of pursuing an MBA can vary so widely, it can be tempting to just go for the cheapest MBA. However, doing so may actually hurt your career progression down the road, as the perceived value of the qualification matters.
Note: admission fees quoted are rounded to the nearest thousand dollars and accurate at the time of writing.
INSEAD (Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires) is a French graduate business school with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. It receives consistently high rankings and is supposedly one of the world’s best full-time MBA courses.
If you’re looking for an MBA programme that offers international exposure and the chance to work abroad, INSEAD is among the most prestigious (and priciest).
INSEAD admissions requirements:
- A bachelor’s degree from a recognised university
- Competitive GMAT / GRE score
- Professional experience with leadership capability (on average 5 years)
- Able to actively participate with strong communication skills
INSEAD fees: 89,000 euros for the 2021 intake (SGD $142,000)
ESSEC (École Supérieure de Sciences Economiques et Commerciales) is a French business school that has set up campuses in Singapore and Morocco. It is considered a prestigious school in France and their Master of Science in Management has received very high worldwide rankings.
ESSEC has some industry-specific majors including digital business and innovation, luxury brand management and hospitality management, so if you are considering going into these industries, it might be worthwhile considering ESSEC over INSEAD. In terms of costs, it is more affordable too.
ESSEC admissions requirements:
- At least 3 years of post-university professional experience
- Competitive GMAT / GRE score
- Advanced level of English
ESSEC fees: $73,000 SGD (Singapore campus)
National University of Singapore (NUS) ($68,000)
The NUS MBA programme is also a good choice for professional upgrading, given that it ranks consistently high in international rankings and the courses available for MBA students. Its programme takes slightly longer to complete compared to INSEAD or ESSEC, but there is an option to take a part-time degree instead of a full-time one.
NUS admissions requirements:
- Undergraduate bachelor’s degree from a recognised university
- Competitive GMAT / GRE score
- A minimum of 2 years of full-time post-undergraduate work experience
- TOEFL (if candidate’s undergraduate degree is not taught exclusively in English)
NUS fees: $68,000 SGD (full-time and part-time)
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) ($62,000)
The NTU MBA programme also ranks consistently high in international rankings and is a good alternative to the NUS MBA programme. The programme will last for 12 months and it can get intense for a full-time programme. It is also localised so for those seeking international exposure, this may not be the right choice for you.
NTU admissions requirements:
- Bachelor’s Degree from a respectable institution
- At least 2 years of work experience
- Competitive GMAT or GRE score
- TOEFL score > 100 IBT or IELTS score > 6.5, if English was not the medium of instruction used at the undergraduate level
NTU fees: $62,000 SGD
As with their bachelor’s degree programmes, SMU’s MBA tends to be focused on practical skills, and there will be plenty of case studies, workshops alongside overseas immersion programmes and group presentations and discussions. There is an emphasis on global-mindedness and communication skills.
SMU admissions requirements:
- A good bachelor’s degree in any undergraduate field from a respectable institution
- A minimum of 2 years of post-degree work experience
- Competition GMAT/GRE score
- Strong interpersonal skills and leadership experience
SMU fees: $67,000 (full-time), $68,000 (part-time)
SIM University recently got rebranded as SUSS and the university’s MBA programme takes 18 months to complete. The programme is designed for people who want to continue to work full-time, so there is no need to quit your job. It will provide a little boost to your resume and set you apart from your peers, but it may not have the same kind of prestige that a more established institution can provide.
SUSS admissions requirements:
- A recognised bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- A good GMAT score
- A minimum of 2 years of relevant work experience
- TOEFL if degree programme was not conducted in English
SUSS fees: $33,000 (Singapore citizens and PRs), $40,000 (other residents)
Other Private (Overseas) MBAs ($20,000-25,000)
Private education providers such as Kaplan and MDIS also provide MBA programmes for those who are on a tight budget, but it would be advisable to consider other factors such as your post-MBA career outlook and the skills you will learn through the programme before taking them up.
MBA programmes can vary across international outlook, programme duration and cost. Ultimately, what is a good MBA programme for you may be different for someone else, so take time to consider what you want for your career before embarking on any MBA programme.
Need Financing Support During This Period?
From now till 31 March 2021, SMEs can enjoy extra financing support of up to $5 million through the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme.
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