National University of Singapore offers a 17-month MBA program offering specializations in 4 distinct areas (Finance, Marketing, Healthcare Management, or Strategy & Organization). If you are looking for an Asian-focused program with strong placement in the Consulting (21%), Finance (23%), or Technology (29%) industries in Singapore (50%), China (13%) or other Asia-Pacific countries, then NUS may be a great program for you. This is a small program of less than 100 students, but 93% of those students hail from over 30 countries outside of Singapore. My tips for completing the NUS MBA application are below in blue.
NUS has some short questions in its application form, including a 500-character question “Why is it important for you to embark on your MBA now?”
Five hundred characters are only around 5 lines of text, so this is not a long essay. However, this space is a great opportunity to add some immediacy to your MBA needs. You can talk about what is happening in your industry that requires greater business or leadership insight, or you may find it helpful to share aspects of your personal life that make now the right time to pursue your MBA.
1. Tell us about your intermediate (5 yrs) post-MBA career goal, describing your industry, function and country of choice and a plan on how you would achieve this goal. (300 words)
All MBA programs want their students to be pleased with the employment they find and the career trajectory ahead of them after graduation. Applicants must demonstrate in this essay that they know what they can expect to achieve within 5 years of graduating so that the Admissions office will believe you are realistically driven.
LinkedIn searches for NUS alumni can be very useful to see what a wide range of MBA alumni have succeeded in doing within around 5 years of graduating. Go to NUS’s LinkedIn page and then use the Search Alumni button, and you can restrict your search to graduates around 2010-2012 to get a sense of their 5-year progress. This isn’t foolproof: you must check that you are looking at MBA graduates (and not undergraduate degree holders or exchange students), but this will offer you wider insight than your own small circle of acquaintances. Go ahead and reach out to alumni through LinkedIn and through your personal network to discuss how they reached the advancement that they did to add depth to your own plans for this essay.
2. Optional Essay: If there is anything else you would like to share with the Admissions Committee that was not covered in your application, please include here (eg. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance). (150 words)
I personally find the placement of this question second a bit awkward, since at this point in the application you still have essay space to “cover” things about yourself. I recommend writing the remaining two essay questions first and then examining what areas of your background you may not have explained completely.
This optional space may certainly be used to explain poor academic performance, but if possible I highly recommend shining the spotlight on an area of strength in the process: poor grades do not have to stand on their own when you can demonstrate that you spent your undergraduate education in significant extracurricular leadership roles, for example.
3. Please answer ONE of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)
1. I am passionate about…
2. My greatest challenge has been…
3. My biggest failure was….
All three of these questions are opportunities to share an interesting experience from your life. Passion comes through with differentiating details (did you compete in 10Ks every weekend? Did you turn $500 in high school summer earnings into an investment portfolio worth thousands?). Challenges are overcome with drive, tenacity, and commitment. Failures are learning experiences and launch pads for subsequent successes. Share an example here that will help the Admission committee see your exceptionality come alive.
4. Please introduce yourself to your NUS MBA classmates. (300 words)
This essay can be about anything in your background. The easiest way to tackle a question like this is to identify 3 attributes that describe you and spend around 100 words sharing an example of each. Keep in mind that NUS is seeking students from diverse professional and national backgrounds with evidence of strong leadership abilities and positive impact on business and society. Essays emphasizing and sharing evidence of these attributes will demonstrate fit with NUS well.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
If you would like professional guidance with your NUS MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA essay editing and consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the NUS application.
The application window is from October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017.
Admissions is rolling: applicants will be notified of their admissions decision within between 6 and 10 weeks of submitting the completed application.
Scholarships are only available for applicants who submit by January 31st, 2017.
Jennifer Bloom has been a consultant with Accepted for 17 years and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). She is an expert at crafting application materials that truly differentiate you from the rest of the driven applicant pool. If you would like help with your application, Jennifer can suggest a number of options that work with any budget. Want Jennifer to help you get accepted? Click here!