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An MBA In The Lion City

Artem Ivanenko moved from Russia to Singapore to do an MBA at Nanyang Business School. Here he talks about how it is to live in one of the most exciting cities in Asia.

After a PhD in Philosophy and eight years working in the education and software industries in Russia, Artem Ivanenko moved to Singapore to do an MBA at Nanyang Business School.

This summer he’s working as an HR Specialist at Microsoft Corporation, and he would like to work in Singapore after graduating next November.

The Malay name for Singapore is Singapura, which means “Lion City”. BusinessBecause asked Artem about an MBAs life in one of the most exciting and international cities in the world.

What are the three things you like the most about living in Singapore?
First of all, it’s one of the safest places on earth, and I always feel comfortable walking around.

Secondly, the way the city is designed is very convenient: the public transport is really efficient, so that you always know exactly how long it takes to get from a place to another.

Finally, many places are open at night: whenever you are in the city, you can find a place to eat.

And what are the three things you don’t like about it?
Probably the climate. Right now it’s the hottest time of the year, and humidity doesn’t make it very comfortable to be outside. A lot of people also complain about customer service, and sometimes it’s not very efficient. Finally, accommodation is quite expensive, and it’s difficult to find a place to stay. You need to find an agent who represents you and a landlord, and then an agent who represents the landlord. The fees can mount up!

You’ve lived in Russia, Nigeria, the UAE, Egypt, Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Jordan and Russia. What makes Singapore unique?
It’s a really cosmopolitan town, where I’ve never felt excluded because of the language. I live close to a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple and a Mosque. In this sense, it’s similar to Dubai, but it’s different because most expats here are from the rest of East Asia while in Dubai they are mainly Westerners.

Singapore is quite tolerant as well, although some people prefer to stay within their own communities, especially the Indian and Chinese I find.

Plus, its language, known as “Singlish’, a mixture of English and Chinese, can be very funny to hear!

Do you want to stay in Singapore after your MBA?
I’m planning on staying here for two or three years. It doesn’t make sense to take a degree here and leave and I want to have some work experience in the local market.

After that, I’ve no idea! But I’m interested in working in the Middle East and in Latin America. 

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