The following are reflections by Maria Patricia Villar, an expected graduate of NUS MBA.
Finals are over. From here on, I may no longer see the face of graded homework and group projects. There may be less of the formal networking events to prepare small talk topics for. GPA will no longer dictate my “future”, and the sting from the mistakes I made in the Accounting mid-terms will feel less painful. Hooray for that! …Or maybe not. Because instead of these, what I must now face is the more cruel reality of work and projects on which my family’s living will be based upon, more crucial conversations on which depend millions of dollars in sales or losses, and mistakes that may lead to getting fired. Clearly, MBA is merely a means to an end. Looking back with fresh eyes, let me share some reflections on the benefits I gained from taking my MBA in NUS, and hence the reasons why one should consider taking it as well:
1. Meet lifelong friends who will be future business leaders (like you) and who will form an amazing artwork in the future.
The diversity within the students automatically make up for a rich cultural and professional exchange of experiences. The ups and downs that we went through (be it personal celebrations, missing home, landing an internship with a coveted company, etc.), the late nights doing group work, the even later nights drinking and partying, side trips to nearby Asian countries and more, all naturally bound us together into a strong kind of friendship, and for some, even romantic relations. And because NUS ranks second globally in the Forbes Global MBA Rankings 2013 of two-year international MBAs, these newfound friends, plus a stellar alumni network, will eventually find success and form a vital pool of contacts down the line.
2. Interact with professors who will really challenge you and accomplished executives who will visit to give talks
The NUS MBA faculty alone consists of academic staff with PhDs from internationally renowned universities and is armed with extensive industry. I personally had the rare opportunity of being in the same room and interacting with professors and professionals who were and are Managing Directors of renowned companies like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Google, and more.
3. Learn about managing people
Prior to b-school, you probably will have had opportunity to manage teams. But who you’ll encounter in MBA may not be readily available in just any company: diverse cultural backgrounds, each with their own ways of doing and sensitivities; high-strung Type A personalities who think they are all brilliant and who all want to be the leader; classmates who have been so accomplished in their respective fields that it would be intimidating to challenge their opinions… Good luck making them work as a team, right? Don’t worry, you’ll learn to manage.
4. Gain a bigger perspective
You may have been too focused on the little bubble you live in. But there’s a bigger world out there. In a sense, MBA brings the world to you. Over lunch break, you will inevitably find yourself exchanging experiences and opinions about local and global issues with your classmates. Sooner than later, you will learn to think about the bigger world economy, have your inquisitive spirit ignited to find out more about grander issues, be encouraged to form informed opinions about more important matters, and step out of your bubble.
5. Improve your skills and self-brand
An MBA degree in itself is a recognized brand that signifies leadership and management training. The NUS MBA particularly has a brand association that is “leading from Asia”. These, plus an enhanced set of “hard skills” (economics, finance, marketing, operations, etc.) and “soft skills” (leadership, teamwork, communication, etc.), are powerful tools to help you build confidence and find better career opportunities.