Student and Graduate Publishing

The Rise of the Asian MBA

Friday, 18 April 2014 09:46

As the world’s economic pendulum shifts eastwards, the clout and reputation of Asian business schools continues to increase. Traditionally there has been a very heavy flow of MBA international applicants from Asia to European and North American business schools. In recent years this has steadily slowed down as Asia’s business-minded opt to study closer to home and international students increasingly begin to decide to study in the region of the world where they may well be seeking future employment. So as economic growth continues in Asia at a rapid pace, it also seems that intellectual power is gradually shifting in this direction.

The long term ascent of Asian Business Schools is undeniable, despite slight year to year fluctuations. The major players in this rise are of course China and India, but other nations are also making strong inroads towards attracting international students including Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. The QS Global Business Schools Report for 2012/2013 identified three Asian business schools within the extremely prestigious Elite Global category: INSEAD Singapore; Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; and NUS Business School, National University of Singapore. A total of eight Asian Business Schools also made it into the Emerging Global category. Three of these were from India and China and one from the Philippines and Singapore. The Financial Times Global MBA Rankings for 2014 put Hong Kong UST Business School at number fourteen, CEIBS at seventeen, University of Hong Kong at twenty, National University of Singapore Business School at thirty-two and a further eight Asian business schools within the top one hundred. It certainly seems as though it won’t be very long before the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) will be challenging the best schools in North America and Europe for a position in the top ten.

Demand for Asian business schools is certainly on the rise; score reports for the GMAT reveal that in the past five years the number of applicants from China, India, Hong Kong and Singapore sending their test scores to local schools has more than tripled.

Asian business schools are also attracting talent from farther afield. CEIBS, based in Shanghai, has seen a high rise in its share of Western students in their full-time MBA programs. The National University of Singapore (NUS) has also seen similar growth. Several factors are fuelling this demand, including the burgeoning Asian economy. There are now many multinational corporations setting up their regional headquarters in Asia and as a direct result the need for talent has risen substantially. Basically, students want to be where the action is! As it is often hard to start a career in a new country it makes sense for students from outside of Asia to consider studying in the region first.

The general growth in the appeal of Asian business schools appears to work for both males and females. This is an interesting statistic because while western business schools continue to struggle to encourage more women into the classroom, in many MBA programmes in South-East Asia around 40% of the students are female.

A very significant and predictable trend is also for western business schools to set up their own campuses in Asian countries. This has many benefits most importantly it provides case study opportunities within the world’s most dynamic regional economies. Some examples of this phenomenon are Chicago University and two French schools—INSEAD and ESSEC in Singapore; HEC Paris have entered the Beijing market; Duke University in North Carolina is developing campuses in Shanghai and New Delhi and the UK’s University of Nottingham has campuses in China, Malaysia and Singapore.

If you are thinking about where to study for your MBA, then the opportunities on offer in Asia should seriously be considered.

More information on studying for your MBA abroad.