Top 6 MBAs in Singapore – How Much Does An MBA Cost and Is It Worth it?

top mba in singapore

You’re a degree holder and you’re now looking for a way to get ahead on the corporate ladder. To improve your management skills and widen your professional network, you may be considering taking an MBA in Singapore. At $33,000 to $134,000, it’s no small sum. Should you do it? Where can you enrol?

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration, which first started in the US at the turn of the industrial age. Today, corporate workers take MBAs to boost their careers and rub shoulders with powerful contemporaries from different fields.

The top MBAs in Singapore are INSEAD Singapore, NUS MBA and NTU MBA. But there are also other prestigious ones like ESSEC Global MBA, SMU MBA and the new SUSS MBA.


Top 6 MBAs in Singapore (2018) – how much does an MBA cost?

Top MBAs in Singapore Cost
INSEAD MBA $134,131
ESSEC Global MBA $73,700
NUS MBA $66,340
SMU MBA $64,724 (full-time)
$68,480 (part-time)
NTU MBA $62,513
SUSS MBA $32,956 (Singapore citizens and PRs)
$39,547.20 (other residents)


Is an MBA worth it? What’s the ROI?

How useful your MBA will be really depends on your career choices. Don’t expect that your boss will recognise you suddenly now that you have an MBA. You will have to actively seek out opportunities by either switching to a new role, industry or organisation.

Also, know that the value of an MBA is not necessarily in the rigour of its curriculum. Rather, it is in the access to corporate professional networks.

Most times, the prestige of the school matters more than the degree. There has been anecdotal evidence that having an MBA on the resume can sometimes backfire against a job seeker if it is not from a top-tier school.

So definitely don’t take an MBA as just a chance to to enjoy student life again as you will just be wasting the money and opportunity.


Do you need a GMAT for an MBA in Singapore? 

When researching for MBAs, you may have come across the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

GMAT is a specialised examination that you can take that tests on your analytical skills, reasoning, table analysis, graphics interpretation and so on. What it does is that it sieves out the top problem solvers from the average ones.

Top global MBAs typically require a GMAT score of at least 700 (out of 800), especially in the US. In Singapore, the GMAT is a requirement for all MBAs. However, MBAs in Singapore typically value working experience more than a stellar GMAT score. You will need at least 2 years of working experience to apply.


What’s the difference between MBA and EMBA?

The executive MBA (EMBA) is sometimes seen as more superior to the MBA, but actually the difference is in the level of candidates who apply.

EMBA typically admits candidates of senior managerial position with more than 12 years of working experience. Hence, candidates are evaluated based on the professional networks that he can bring to the table as well as work experience rather than academic records, which may be outdated and not a good gauge.

For comparison, enrolling into the NUS MBA requires 2 years of working experience but the prestigious UCLA-NUS Executive MBA requires 12-19 years of work experience.


INSEAD MBA ($134,000)

Want a degree with international cache but not ready to take the plunge and move overseas for one or two years? The INSEAD MBA offers a happy medium.

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.

One advantage is that they’ve got an accelerated MBA programme that lasts only 10 to 12 months, which is surely a plus if you’re anxious to jump back into employment soon after. That does mean, though, that the course will be very intense.

The second advantage is that you get the chance to gain international exposure. You’ll spend part of your degree in Singapore and part of it at one of their other campuses, and the student body and faculty are extremely international. This is perfect if you’re hoping to network and find work abroad.

As the top MBA in Asia, second only to Stanford Graduate School of Business on The Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2018, the prestige is reflected in its fees. It is the most expensive MBA in Singapore at slightly over $134,000.

INSEAD MBA 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 MBA Fees: 84,000 euros (SGD $134,131)


ESSEC Global MBA Program ($73,700)

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.

Like INSEAD’s programme, ESSEC Global MBA can be completed in one year at its Singapore campus and students will be given the chance to study at their French and Moroccan campuses, too. If you wish to make international contacts and possibly get a job overseas, you just might get your chance.

So why choose ESSEC over INSEAD? ESSEC has some very industry-specific majors including digital business and innovation, luxury brand management and hospitality management.

And also, it’s cheaper lah.

ESSEC Global MBA admissions requirements:

  • At least 3 years of post-university professional experience
  • Competitive GMAT / GRE score
  • Advanced level of English

ESSEC Global MBA Fees: $73,700 SGD (Singapore campus)


NUS MBA ($66,340)

NUS is good at climbing up in international rankings, and the NUS MBA has a decent Times ranking within the world’s top 20. The full-time MBA can completed in 17 months, with students typically spending one semester undertaking an internship and another on exchange, in addition to participating in overseas trips. They also offer a part-time MBA.

They’ve actually got several permutations of the MBA. Other than the purely NUS degree, they also offer a few double-degree programmes, including joint courses with Peking University, HEC Paris, Yale University and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

NUS MBA students reportedly enjoy some networking events and recruitment talks, although their career services are reportedly not as good as SMUs. When it comes to classes themselves, the quality really depends on the professors, some being better than others.

NUS MBA admissions requirements:

  • A 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 MBA Fees: $66,340 (full-time and part-time)


Nanyang Technological University (NTU) MBA ($62,513)

The NTU MBA can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis. It has also received high global rankings, but the NUS MBA is generally considered much more prestigious than the NTU MBA by local employers.

They also offer full-time double degrees with Waseda University, ESSEC and University of St Gallen. The former will take 14 months to complete, and the other two 24 months. All three will involve a stint in Japan, France or Switzerland.

For those who are not undertaking double degree programmes, the experience will be a bit less international than those of some of the other MBAs on this list. The 12-month programme is intense and does not leave room for exchange programmes or internships, although field trips abroad might be organised.

NTU MBA 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 MBA Fees: $62,513


SMU MBA ($68,480)

As with their bachelor’s degree programmes, SMU’s MBA tends to be very practical in focus. So expect lots of class participation and group projects, the chance to embark on overseas immersion trips and lots of networking events and career advisory services. About 65% of your fellow students will be international students.

The SMU MBA takes 1 year to complete on a full-time basis and 18 months part time.

SMU MBA admissions requirements:

  • A good Bachelor’s degree in any undergraduate field from a respectable institution
  • A minimum 2 years of post-degree work experience
  • Competition GMAT/GRE score
  • Strong interpersonal skills and leadership experience

SMU MBA Fees: $64,724 (full-time), $68,480 (part-time)


SUSS MBA ($32,956)

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.

SUSS MBA can be a good option if your main goal is to give your qualifications a little boost and learn a bit at the same time while continuing to hold on to your full-time job.

But of course, you should know that the SUSS MBA may not open the same kinds of doors as a top-ranked MBA programme will.

SUSS MBA 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 MBA Fees: $32,956 (Singapore citizens and PRs), $39,547.20 (other residents)

Do you think it is worthwhile to get an MBA? Share your views in the comments.