The Benefits Of Studying For An MBA In Singapore Over India

Vidit Chaudhary talks about why he didn’t want to study in India but equally did not want to leave Asia

Vidit Chaudhary is the co-chairman of the management consulting club at Nanyang Business School. Before his MBA he had six years of work experience from Capgemini, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Accenture. He talks about what made him want to study outside of his native country, India and why Singapore is such a brilliant country to study in.

Vidit, 28 grew up in Delhi, India and studied for his engineering undergraduate degree in Delhi. After graduating he joined Accenture where he worked for more than three years in Bombay, Bangalore and Australia. “After a year in Australia with Accenture I returned to India and worked for PwC doing two years of management consultancy with clients ranging from logistics, transportation, retail and chemicals.”

Next for Vidit was a year spent working at Capgemini before he realised he wanted to study for an MBA. “The seeds were there for a long time. When I was working for PwC as a senior consultant I realised I needed an MBA. I was doing an MBAs role but got there not because of degree but because of experience. Most MBAs in PwC, who were from premium colleges in India, were more sellable to clients because of their degree. “The degree was a sufficient differentiator and helped place these employees on a fast track career paths not only within the company but also outside. An MBA also gave them the flexibility to move within the different divisions, a luxury I strived to have but did not have even with 5 years of industry experience”

MBAs are rated very highly in India, much more so than in Singapore explains Vidit. “If you have an MBA from a top tier or second tier business school in India that you have an advantage in the job market.”

When the time came for Vidit to think about which business schools to attend he only looked within Asia, “primarily for monetary reasons but also I only wanted to be in Asia. Asia is the place to be – it’s a place where all the action is. I have no dream to be in Europe or America and even though I had the opportunity of Australia, I didn’t want to leave Asia.”

Vidit looked at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and Nanyang Business School. “I got admission from all of them but I decided on Nanyang. I spoke to some Indians in Hong Kong who said that language was a barrier and people speak in Mandarin or Cantonese even though English is the official language. I would be required to speak in local language and deal in Cantonese, consulting is always done in the local language and I don’t believe you can learn that language fluently enough.”

After speaking to Nanyang alumni he realised how flexible the course was; “you can complete the MBA in 12 months or 16 months, there was a flexibility of combinations. I felt spoilt with choices. I also have an engineering background and Nanyang gives you the option to do specialisations in technology.” Vidit also says that at NUS the batch is much bigger and there are many more Indian students, “Diversity is important as it empowers absolutely everyone. I wanted to get an international MBA and wanted to join a diverse classroom.”

Nanyang alumni also reiterated the idea that when you are studying in Singapore you are studying for an international MBA not a local MBA. The Nanyang MBA has 60 cohorts from 20 different countries and is very diverse, “people talk about things you wouldn’t have even imagined before. Its learning from your peers who come from diverse industries, countries and cultural backgrounds” The Nanyang staff all know your name and know your career background, Vidit says this is a level of attention you would never get at an Indian School such as ISB. “Further, smaller classroom size facilitates greater interaction with professor and stimulates learning. I would prefer to make 100 friends than make 600 acquaintances. “

Vidit researched the diversity at ISB and found that in a class of 100 there would be one American, “and it would probably be a green card holder with an Indian background, the business school is lacking the culturally diverse backgrounds.”

Singapore has suited Vidit well and he says that it is an easy country to be an Indian in, “favourable to Australia as it is a very safe place to be. Food can occasionally be a bit of an issue for Indians but in Singapore there is a diverse range of food.” Vidit states that it is easy for Indians to find work in Singapore, 10% of the Singaporean population are Indian, “there is a high standard of living, a high life expectancy rate and no racism. Sometimes in the US and Europe you experience racism but here there is no discrimination. For Indians looking for a job the easiest place to find a job would be Singapore.”

Nanyang has impressed Vidit, “the teaching is amazing and the faculty impressive. We have PhD’s from Harvard, those who have held positions in the treasury, currently on boards of many banks and they come to teach us! Last term one professor teaching Strategy Formulation is the CEO of a large hospital in Singapore and he comes and teaches us in the evening. This trimester we have an ex-BCG partner who is teaching us Strategy Implementation”

After his MBA Vidit plans to return to the consulting industry but hopes to find himself in a different role. Ten years from now he hopes to be running his own company back in India. “India is definitely the place to be if you want to set up your own company as it is just growing so quickly. We used to have IBM and Accenture outsourcing to India through the U.S. but now Indian companies require their work to be done. IBM and Accenture are now working for clients in India. There is a lot of scope for development with India’s growth rate.”

 

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