Thirty-One Execs Enroll In UB MBA Program In Singapore

Release Date: April 1, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Thirty-one executives from a variety of Singapore-based companies and organizations have enrolled in the University at Buffalo School of Management's Executive MBA program in Singapore, one of just two U.S. MBA programs on the island.

Sixteen of the new enrollees are top-level managers from 13 U.S. firms based in Singapore, including General Motors, Lucent Technologies, 3M, Hertz, SUN Microsystems, J.P. Morgan, Deloitte & Touche and Hewlett Packard. Other participants are employees of British and Japanese subsidiaries in Singapore or are from leading Singaporean firms and organizations.

The executives are the third class to begin the program since it was established in 1996 -- in partnership with the Singapore Institute of Management -- as the first U.S.-accredited MBA program in Singapore.

A total of 57 executives enrolled in the program's first two classes; the first group of students is scheduled to graduate in the fall and will be awarded MBA degrees from UB.

According to John M. Thomas, interim dean of the UB management school and founder of the Singapore program, a growing number of U.S. subsidiaries in Singapore have begun to send their managers through the two-and-half year program as a way to familiarize them with U.S. management practices.

"Many U.S. multinationals based in Singapore and throughout Asia want their Asian-born executives to be trained in Western-style management practices, particularly in leadership, strategic planning and operations management," says Thomas. "But these firms also value the understanding these managers have of the unique cultural issues that shape business throughout Asia.

"Instead of spending the $500,000 required to settle an expatriate manager in Singapore or other parts of Asia, U.S. companies are investing in the professional development of their Asian managers through U.S. management programs like ours," Thomas says.

According to Thomas, the UB EMBA program in Singapore meets the needs of U.S. companies by providing a Western-style curriculum taught by UB management professors, but one that uses case studies of Asian businesses to analyze problems, solutions and strategies common to the Asian business environment.

"There is a growing acceptance throughout Asia of the U.S. business-school approach to teaching and the U.S. MBA-program model," says Thomas. "The use of classroom teams and case studies is a relatively new concept for MBA programming in Singapore, which in the past had been dominated by British independent-study, distance-learning programs."

By contrast, says Thomas, UB's Singapore program is taught solely by its professors, who fly to Singapore to teach intensive, two-week "modules" in 16 different subject areas, including a team-project assignment. This design allows for face-to-face interaction among professors and students, and for minimal interruption of the students' careers and work schedules. Total tuition for the program, which is taught in English, is about $21,000.

"The program has been very successful," Thomas says. "We've established a reputation as the top Executive MBA program in Singapore in terms of demand and interest."

Plans now are being developed for the management school to launch a similar EMBA program in Beijing, in partnership with Renmin University. Thomas says that program will benefit from the UB school's excellent reputation and history of success in China.

UB ran the first and only U.S. MBA program in China from 1984-91. It graduated more than 200 students, many of whom have risen to top managerial positions in China.

Thomas says the school eventually hopes to link both the Singapore and China programs with its domestic EMBA program in Buffalo by organizing "study tours" in which participants from the three programs visit and study with colleagues from the other programs who are employed in similar positions in their respective countries.

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