How to make grad school recommendations work for you?

Anyone who has ever been to college realizes the tremendous emphasis placed on letters of recommendation. If anything, the emphasis is even greater for applications to graduate programmes. While graduate school applicants tend to focus more on personal essays and GMAT scores, the admission departments prescribe a significant investment of time and attention towards recommendations.

Recommendations - cartoon

Choosing Your Recommenders

While it might be preferable and a whole lot easier to ask your mother, or someone in your immediate circle of acquaintances to write your recommendations, remember that the objective of recommendation letters is to provide a realistic piece of advocacy for your own performance, potential and personal qualities. Here is a list of individuals best suited to write about those three areas: Continue reading

Spotlight: Family Business Management

What’s the value of an MBA for family business management? In this post, Harry Santoso shares why he decided it was time to get an MBA, how he got his family board to see the value in this decision, how he’s been managing his time, and what he’s learned so far.

Family Business MBA Story

Harry, could you share about your family business & background?

My family is in the scrap metal trading (Examples of commodities that we deal with include aluminium scrap, copper scrap, stainless steel scrap, etc) and aluminium ingot manufacturing business. Our main export markets are Asian countries (e.g. China, India, Japan, Middle East, South Korea).

After I completed my undergraduate studies in accounting and finance, I immediately joined the family business. Since it was a family business, some job functions were customized and there is sometimes no clear-cut separation of duties. I was more involved in the general management, logistic planning, and marketing, because those three responsibilities are the core of the business. As the job functions imply, it involves frequent travel, overtime, and dealing with various kind of people, from warehouse staff right up to government officials or top management. While technical accounting and finance skills were useful to evaluate reports, certain soft-skills, such as influence, negotiation, communication, effective wielding of authority are very important too.

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Which MBA to Choose? Simplify Your Decision-Making With this Tip

How do you decide which MBA programme is right for you? In the second in a series aimed at helping those considering an MBA, the NUS MBA Blog has a radical idea to inspire your MBA research and decision-making process.

Evaluating MBA Options


You’ve done all your groundwork, crunching numbers, combing through countless MBA websites and prospectuses, talking to trusted advisers, and collecting as much information as you can about the different MBA programmes out there. You’ve scrutinised the ins and outs of your personal preferences. Still the biggest question remains unanswered: How do you know if the MBA programme you’re considering is right for you? Continue reading

5 Pointers for Great GMAT Prep

Gunning for the GMAT? In the first of a series aimed at helping those considering an MBA, the NUS MBA Blog has 5 Pointers for Great GMAT Prep to kick-start your preparation process:

A GMAT preparation guide 

It’s a rite of passage as well as a ticket to greatness for any potential MBA applicant: Registering on the GMAC, working through practice questions, counting down to test dates and MBA application deadlines, working through more practice questions…

Here’s the thing: The GMAT is not just a test of your knowledge — it is also a test of your mental and physical preparation. These 5 great reminders will put you in the right frame of mind to succeed:

1. Allow Lead Time

Booking, preparation, and retests take time. Booking early and allowing a generous buffer time ensures that things don’t get too tense as the MBA Application deadlines approach.

2. Set SMART Goals

You’ve heard it before: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

How many hours can you devote to practice per week?  Daily or weekly targets help to lock in consistent practice sessions. Which sections challenge you the most? You know yourself best, so identify the areas in which you need the most practice, and the study patterns that work best for you.

3. Prime Yourself; Time Yourself

Make use of the free GMATPrep Software from the GMAC to familiarise yourself with the computerised exam format.  Simulate exam conditions by timing your practice sessions. This will condition your mind to focus, improving your speed and time judgement.

4. Stick to Your Strategy

With many resources (official and unofficial) around, it may be tempting to get distracted, intimidated, or overwhelmed. Your task is to achieve your personal best in a way that works for you. Stay focused!

5. Know Your Top 5 Choices

On your test date, you can choose up to 5 GMAT programmes to send your score reports without additional fees. Arriving prepared with the names or GMAT codes of your top 5 MBA programmes will save you from the mental strain of last-minute decision-making, as well as the cost of forwarding GMAT scores later on.

You can find out about NUS MBA Programmes and their GMAT codes on our website,


Summary of 5 tips for GMAT prep


Have some insights to share on preparing for the GMAT? Feel free to add your comments below.