By Anshuman Chaturvedi, SMU Master of Business Administration (Full-time), Class of 2015
Hello from the other side!
Yup, the programme is over. I am now a proud SMU MBA graduate and the best thing is that it seems to have happened in a mere blink of an eye.
Come to think of it, it seems just like yesterday that I was scratching my head, weighing the pros and cons of the two MBA schools I was deciding between—SMU and AGSM. With just a week’s deadline to accept SMU’s offer, I was frantically calling anyone and everyone who could share their thoughts and help me make the decision. Interestingly, the more I researched, the more convinced I was that SMU would be the perfect fit for me. At this point, you may probably be thinking, “Why would you choose an unranked, relatively new university over a well-known top 100 school in the world?” The following three important points summarise my reasons for choosing SMU—all of which I got to experience every day of my MBA journey.
1. The Singapore Factor
Yeah, I had heard talks about the Singapore market becoming rather challenging for job seekers, owing to the slowing job market and increasingly regulated work visa environment. However, what drew me to Singapore were the enormous professional and personal growth opportunities that the country continues to offer by virtue of being the epicenter of the Southeast Asia economy and having an unparalleled multi-cultural society. During my research, I found SMU to be aptly poised to provide an effective platform that leverages the ‘Singapore Factor’ with its Asia-focused MBA curriculum and the multinational composition of its student cohort. Now, as I look back, I feel grateful to be a part of a cohort comprising of thirteen nationalities and varying ideologies—an experience that imparted to me the importance of cultural sensitivity and prepared me to excel in a dynamic workplace during my internship at Medtronic.
2. The SMU Brand
At the time of application, more than a year back, I remember reading in one of the student blogs about how SMU has rapidly achieved an image of excellence in the eyes of corporate and prospective employers. Honestly, at that time, I thought that the claim held true only for the other SMU flagship programmes that were older and more highly ranked globally. However, I was quickly sold on this claim when I started talking to MBA alumni who all echoed a similar observation. Dozens of internship and job opportunities with corporate giants, as well as emerging startups, and long list of corporate talks over the past year, were just some of the instances that reflected SMU’s prospering brand. Having also served as Career Secretary for the full-time MBA batch, I can confidently say that majority of the professional opportunities that SMU MBA students get are definitely on par with the other two reputed Singapore universities, and it is going to steadily improve as our alumni base grows stronger. Also, if recent EMBA rankings are anything to go by, the SMU MBA programme will be nicely poised to break into the FT top 100 rankings by next year—the first year of its participation.
3. All things FUN.
MBA is not all about studying and working. A large part of it is the bonding and the memories that you create. Once the studies and work were settled, I started exploring more about the SMU culture and fun activities available in and around Singapore. While talking to the MBA alumni, I realised that the smaller batch size did indeed facilitate stronger bonding and cohesion among the students, unlike other schools where graduates, at times, don’t even know who are from the same batch as themselves. This is certainly not the case in SMU MBA where I have had many meaningful conversations and fun times with everyone in my batch. Be it MBA lounge conversations, pool side BBQ parties, a chili competition, snorkeling in Phuket, clubbing in Bali, or simply cycling around East Coast Park—the FUN never seemed to stop. Yet another aspect of fun was during our class presentations—such as when students acted out a golf scene for a corporate strategy presentation and ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ in a financial accounting presentation. To add to my SMU experience, I am especially proud to have contributed to and spent time with children at an orphanage in Cambodia—a community service initiative that a bunch of my batch mates had helped to facilitate.
Today, as my MBA journey comes to an end, I cannot dust off the feeling of nostalgia and wish that the programme was a tad bit longer. I am grateful to the SMU community—from admissions team to professors, students and everyone in between—for giving me a sturdy professional platform, golden memories, and great friends.
For those who are starting their SMU MBA journey, I wish you an unforgettable SMU experience. Feel free to reach out to me via my LinkedIn account should you need help at any stage of your MBA journey.