Asia School of Business

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The hottest MBA programs in Asia

The decision to head East is about more than your destination – it’s about a new way of seeing things. And for many young professionals, the dynamic business environment of Asia is an irresistible opportunity to gain boots-on-the-ground experience in some of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

The region is home to four of the five most populated countries on the planet, and the war for talent that McKinsey first coined in 1997 now has the added dimension of training the next generation of business leaders for digital transformation and AI-driven innovation.

Twenty-five years later, Asia has a growing number of world-class business schools to meet that challenge. As former Graduate Management Admission Council CEO Sangeet Chowfla points out, in 2000, MBA programs domiciled in the U.S. occupied 38 of the top 50 positions in the Financial Times global MBA ranking. Schools in Asia had none.

“This year the U.S. had 29 positions while Asia had eight,” he notes. “Europe makes up the rest. It’s not that U.S. schools have gotten worse, it’s just that others have caught up, and students have more choices.” The CentreCourt MBA Festival with Poets&Quants in June 2023 will include a special focus on the best business schools in Asia. Below is a review of seven of the hottest MBA programs in the region.

Asia School of Business

Tuition fees: 150,000 Malaysian Ringgits ($33.5K)
Class size: 40 students
Program length: 12 months

Bringing the M7 to Malaysia, Asia School of Business (ASB) offers an MBA program that stands among the most innovative and affordable among the region’s leading business schools. Based in Kuala Lumpur, a city that is one of the world’s most diverse melting pots, the school was founded in collaboration with MIT Sloan and Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s central bank.

Students benefit from a teaching approach that Poets&Quants describes as “experiential learning on steroids”, making for a truly unusual yet insightful time. MIT Sloan’s world-renowned faculty teach 50% of the one-year MBA curriculum in KL alongside ASB faculty, and students spend a 3-week immersion at MIT Sloan in Cambridge, MA.

They can extend their learning opportunities by applying to study at MIT in the Visiting Fellows Program or apply to enroll in the nine-month STEM-designated MS in Management Studies from MIT Sloan. Academic rigor is combined with Action Learning experiences throughout Asia, including industry treks and business practicums as well as group projects and associate programs at host organizations.

“Through my Action Learning projects in Malaysia, Thailand, Germany, and Vietnam, I learned that there are different ways to run a business in companies that were sometimes American and sometimes 100 percent Thai or Vietnamese, we developed a common language to understand the problem and deliver results,” says Klara Markus, MBA Class of 2019 and now a Senior Manager at Amazon.

Of course, when applying for a full-time program that lasts for an entire year, students are making a lifestyle commitment as well as an educational one. With sun-kissed beaches, a plethora of Asian culture and cuisine, and one of the world’s oldest rainforests practically on your doorstep, there are plenty of opportunities to expand your horizons outside of the classroom too.

And at less than $35,000 for an intensive 12-month MBA program, you’re getting an M7 experience with outstanding ROI. Other schools mentioned in the article are China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), INSEAD, ISB – Indian School of Business, the National University of Singapore Business School, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and the University of Hong Kong Business School.

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