Ranked as the third most competitive economy by the World Economic Forum, the city-state of Singapore is a regional hub in Southeast Asia and an appealing destination for ambitious business school students the world over.
Singapore ranked seventh globally in our Top Countries for Business School Candidates report and has seen its popularity increase in recent years.
To find out what makes Singapore an exciting place to live and study, we caught up with three students at the Singapore Management University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business (SMU), one of Singapore’s leading business schools.
Here are five reasons why they chose Singapore:
1. A growing economy
For Linh Mai Nguyen, Singapore’s recent growth was an attractive prospect.
Originally from Vietnam, Linh came to SMU for her Msc in Management (MiM) when she uncovered a passion for marketing. Through modules such as Digital Marketing, and Marketing Management, Linh has been able to tailor the program to her interests.
When she graduates, she hopes to find work within Singapore’s thriving economy. In 2018, the country’s GDP per capita rocketed to $64,600. “I feel that Southeast Asia is an emerging market that many business giants want to come and explore,” Linh observes.
2. Future-ready industries
Singapore’s reputation as a futuristic hub is well earned, and one burgeoning sector is e-commerce. Here, Linh is already making her mark.
As part of her MiM program, she undertook a five month internship with local e-commerce powerhouse, Shopee. “My plan after graduation is to land a job in Singapore and accumulate experience in the e-commerce industry,” she explains.
Singapore’s e-commerce market is predicted to reach a value of almost £5 billion by the end of 2019, and it’s likely that demand will continue to grow.
Another sector to watch out for is fintech. Singapore has been a financial power-house for years, and is evolving into a start-up hub for fintech companies, including credit comparison app, MoneySmart, and the transparent payment platform, Flywire.
Chang Kai-Hsiang (below), a student on SMU’s master’s in applied finance program (MAF), is hoping to use his qualifications to break into Singapore’s finance scene, moving from his previous role as a journalist in Taiwan to private wealth management.
“Singapore is one of the most international financial hubs in Asia,” he explains.
3. Academic experience
For Chang, Singapore’s academic reputation was another key factor when choosing a place to study.
The country’s universities fare consistently well in various global rankings. SMU, for example was ranked sixth in the Asia Pacific region by the Financial Times in 2019.
Chang enjoys visiting the National Library of Singapore every week, and has found himself impressed by the devotion of SMU’s faculty.
“The program has been challenging, refreshing, and life-transforming,” he reports.
Lalna Watewilai (below), an MBA student at SMU from Thailand, was also drawn to the school’s rigorous curriculum. Her highlight so far has been the module in Organizational Behavior.
“It totally changed my perspective on leadership,” she says. “I reflected a lot on my past leadership behavior and took the lessons with me for when I lead people in the future.”
4. High quality of life
In 2019, Mercer’s annual survey found that Singapore has the highest quality of life in Asia, considering a range of factors like housing, healthcare, education, public services, and recreation.
For students who like to explore local history and culture, Singapore has plenty to offer too. You can soak in art from all over Asia at the National Gallery, see local biodiversity at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, or take in a play at an outdoor theater.
Because the city is religiously diverse, you’ll also find Muslin mosques alongside Hindu and Buddhist temples.
For Chang, the city has a unique flair. “It’s a beautiful and well-governed city garden state, and what impresses me the most is how friendly Singapore is for families with children,” he observes.
5. Global connections
With its blend of Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian demographics, Singapore is something of a cultural melting pot. It’s also a heavyweight as far as international relations are concerned, having managed to secure free trade deals with both China and the US.
Thanks to this international environment, along with pro-business governance, multinationals from BCG to Unilever have set up shop in Singapore, bringing international opportunities with them.
For Lalna, studying in Singapore helped her connect even further afield, working with a client in Malaysia during a consulting internship. “I think this kind of experience will be hard to find if I were to go back home,” she reflects.