Some background information about the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (UB) Executive MBA Programme offered at the Singapore Institute of Management.
For six consecutive years (2001-2006), The Wall Street Journal ranks the UB School of Management as one of the world's top 50 business schools,
The UB School of Management is ranked as a "best business school" by Business Week and the school's EMBA is cited as a "top programme".
The SIM UB EMBA programme
The EMBA program was specifically designed to help you develop essential skills for managing and working in teams. Through relevant, real-world case studies reinforced by established theoretical concepts, participants are equipped with competencies to recognize and solve problems found in today's dynamic work environment.
A key unique feature of the EMBA is the incorporation of the Strategic Leadership Development (SLD) sequence within the program. The SLD is a trio of leadership-oriented course modules that centers on integrating the essential skills and disciplinary knowledge required for success in senior level management. Course fee for the two-year, part-time programme is SGD$44,940 (incl. 7% GST).
Students must have at least five years of management or professional experience; a strong undergraduate degree from a recognized institution; high level of motivation; and good communication skills to be admitted into the programme.
SIM UB collaboration
The UB EMBA was offered in Singapore through SIM since 1996 and is into its 12th intake this year. Due to the success of this programme, SIM and UB decided to extend the partnership by launching full-time undergraduate degree programs in business, communication and psychology
About SIM-UB EMBA
There are twelve intakes of the Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) programme offered by University at Buffalo (UB), The State University of New York, in conjunction with Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). We have more than 350 students in its 12-year history.
For six consecutive years, from 2001 to 2006, The Wall Street Journal has ranked the UB School of Management as one of the world's top 50 business schools. The school has also been cited by Business Week as one of the 'best business schools' in the United States and by Forbes as one of the top business schools based on the 'return of investment'. And the school's EMBA is cited as a 'top programme'.
SIM's Spokesperson - Mr. Lee Kwok Cheong, CEO, SIM (KC Lee)
UB's Spokesperson -
Dr. Arun K. Jain
Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research
Department of Marketing
University at Buffalo
1. What difference does an MBA make to a prospective employer?
As one moves up the management ladder, it is important for him/her to acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of issues. They become superior analysts and problem solvers, excellent team players and effective communicators - skills that are required for senior level success in management.
Most of the SIM-UB EMBA students have one dream: To better equip themselves so that they may enhance shareholder value and produce better results for their organisation.
Thus, an EMBA today is a necessity as in their career advancement goal as they need to be equipped with the tools needed to assume positions of greater responsibility. With the right combination of skills, knowledge and understanding to solve complex business isues, that will help propel their careers forward.
A manager without a quality management education is like a ship in high seas without modern navigational equipment and without a captain to avoid icebergs and steer the ship in the right direction.
An executive with an MBA degree brings to the company a strategic perspective to assemble and use resources in a manner most beneficial for the customers, shareholders, employees, and the society-at-large. It enables the organization to minimize mistakes, avoid potential disasters, open opportunities for enhanced profit in the future, and develop a winning team capable of easily adapting to changes in the marketplace.
For example, the nominal GPS Operational Constellation consists of 24 satellites that orbit the earth in 12 hours. They are maintained by U.S. Department of Defense. Yet, companies like Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom (a Dutch company) are generating billions of dollars of revenue using basic information freely available to all! That is the challenge of the marketplace today. Presence of technology, capital, human resources, and organization is not enough to succeed in the competitive market place of today. It needs executives with a global perspective who can organize and allocate these in a manner which would enhance the prospects of success in the market place. It needs an organization where members work as a team supporting each other instead of having narrow, individual objectives. This is what businesses get when they hire our MBA graduates.
2. What effect does an MBA have on the student? How do they change/benefit from their studies?
All senior managers must lead change, not just manage it. To be an effective leader, they will gain from the EMBA course to:
- Learn how to make business decisions and deliver results
- Learn how different departments function in an organisation to better work with them
- Gain insights into different functional roles to understand other problems (gain fresh perspectives)
- Pick up useful skills like organization analysis, financial management and negotiation skills
- Speak management's language and understand their thought process.
Other than stimulates intellectual growth, there will also be personal development. In addition, the programme will help to boost their self confidence and increases their personal effectiveness.
Another important benefit is building their network not just with the existing UB EMBA co-hoc but access to the SIM-UB EMBA alumni (of 12 years) can open their doors to many opportunities.
As this is an EMBA with senior managers in the programme, the ability to communicate and engage one another in group discussions become important.
Executives without management education frequently think from narrow functional perspectives. Thus, an engineer seeks to design the product with the latest and most sophisticated bells and whistles. Such products and services may have no demand in the market (as early launch of fax machine indicated) or may be too expensive for the target customers (e.g., selling a car in China or India). A product may lack features that were considered irrelevant or silly by the designer but very important from their functional or emotional perspective by the end user (e.g., presence of a brush on top of a can of carpet spot remover or the endorsement of a union leader for a proposed new health insurance program). A financial controller may not recognize that hiring a model and spending more than $1 million for a photo shoot in Tahiti will bring hundreds of millions later when the images are plastered globally through advertisements in newspapers, billboards, TV, and the Internet as is often the case for high-end products such as perfume or watches. A human resource manager needs to understand the importance of recruiting, training, development of team spirit and rewarding salespeople to get the product on the shelf, doing missionary work to open new channels of distribution, and ensuring satisfied customers instead of meeting the company sales quota. All these and much more are complex and interrelated.
Sound business decisions incorporate a more holistic view of the business. The entire organization must recognize the drivers of success. This cannot happen if each executive works in his narrow functional specialization.
An MBA degree helps a student bring into focus the all the dynamics of the business environment and how each are interdependent and contribute to the overall success of the organization. Working in teams composed of executives with varying functional specializations (e.g., finance, marketing, human resources, manufacturing) and backgrounds (e.g. gender, country of origin, type of organization) our executives work on management cases. They bring in their varying perspectives to common strategic issues (e.g., Should we enter into the market? What must be done to succeed in the market place?). Upon course completions it is common to hear from our executives that the program has opened their eyes and that they view business from a totally different perspective.
Why must one organization invest in recruiting a female sales force? Why should another incorporate components from North America in the finished product? Or why should yet another company emphasize Japanese heritage? An MBA education can help an individual answer complex issues such as these that cut across functional areas. Our MBA degree helps our executives make superior decisions and assume leadership positions. It results in greater harmony within the organization. Our emphasis on teamwork and leadership skills lessens the potential for conflict and results in greater mutual understanding of the different needs and efforts that contribute to organizational (rather than individual) success. The outcome is a changed executive-one who focuses on the optimal strategy for the organization.
3. Why is it important for business education to have a global perspective?
The world is global today and it is important for any education curriculum to incorporate Asian, European and American content.
UB EMBA students will have the UB Faculty members flying into Singapore to lecture them on all modules. The UB Faculty members are accessible to students both inside and outside the classroom. The classes are conducted face-to-face with the same professors who are on campus in New York.
Communication, technology, transportation, and international trade agreements have made it almost impossible for businesses to focus primarily on domestic business environments.
For example, a PC seller in Singapore cannot charge an exorbitant price based upon the price levels in the domestic market. A customer can always go to the Internet, find prices charged by PC retailers globally, pay via credit card, and have it delivered by FedEx to his home in Singapore!
A manufacturer cannot maintain a premium image for his brand in Japan by charging a high price while selling the same brand at a hugely discounted price in North America. As J&B discovered, the "gray market" will quickly import the brand at discounted price from North-America and destroy the premium image supported by the high-priced umbrella.
And just because the income levels of households in India are low does not mean that P&G cannot sell them their expensive hair-care products and ignore the potential to sell to hundreds of millions of poor. How to benefit from this without sacrificing (and even enhancing profit margins) would require thinking out of the box, radically altering the once-successful domestic strategy, and recognizing the opportunities (and constraints) of the host market (e.g., selling single application satchels at affordable prices).
A manager could go to an overseas market and return back empty handed upon discovering that no one consumes the product he manufactures. A manager with global perspective would seek to discover why the product is not being consumed, what needs to be done to make it acceptable and affordable in the new market, how to create new streams of profits for the parent company. In the 21st century, unless an organization has executives with a global perspective, it is likely to become extinct. Our commitment to a global perspective is reflected in our choice of faculty, our course content, teaching material, and in how we help our students develop skills to embrace globalization strategically, not only manufacturing, but also in the services sector.
4. How does your institution provide this global perspective on your MBA programmes? Are there opportunities to study overseas or enjoy placements in a foreign country?
The SIM-UB EMBA students get to enjoy the best of both worlds. In addition to having all the modules being taught fully by the UB Faculty members, the same core teaching materials are used in New York and Singapore.
However, that does not mean the curriculum is wholly United States-centric. SIM has played a strategic role in working closely with UB to adapt the programme structure and curriculum to the needs and goals of Singapore managers embarking on the UB EMBA programme. Students will be exposed to case studies in not only in North America, but also in Asia and Europe so that they are familiar with the decision-making in global cultural, social, economic and political setting.
We seek to provide a global perspective to our executives first by recruiting the finest faculty with rich international experiences. We are proud of the fact that our faculty is composed of individuals born in South Asia, North America, East Asia, and Europe. Their education and early work experiences have exposed them to the realities of today's global marketplace, influencing their lessons and case discussions as strategic issues are brought into focus.
Second, without fail, our entire faculty has had significant exposure as educators, consultants, and/or researchers in businesses all over the world, including France, Germany, UK, Italy, Russia, Hungary, China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Latvia, and others. This enables them to weave global business issues and decision dynamics into business strategy.
Thirdly, our faculty members use examples and management cases drawn from the global marketplace. Thus, vicariously, our executives are taken to different cultural and decision-making settings as strategic management concepts are discussed. DaimlerChrysler's newest car, Smart, in Singapore, Polaroid's "Pronto" in France, and a case from India examining the business situation and options confronting a successful two-wheeler manufacturer are just a few examples of how our executive MBAs learn to incorporate the dynamics of new markets into their business plans instead of replicating tried and successful domestic strategies. Even upon course completion, our faculty members frequently continue to share with our executives' issues of global marketplace through e-mails and other conversations.
For opportunities overseas, our students in Singapore are welcome to join their fellow executives in Buffalo-based MBA programs. This past year, one of our executives took a year off from his position in Singapore and took advanced courses in Buffalo with a North American and international student body. However, because all our executives are working and occupy important decision-making positions with multinational corporations in Singapore, such sabbaticals are difficult to obtain. We continue to seek alternative modes of delivering such opportunities to our students. For example, Chinese executives have participated in business negotiation exercises with their North-American counterparts.
5. Where do your students originate from? Does a diversity in backgrounds enhance the education received and how?
As the classes are held entirely at the SIM campus in Singapore, thus all the students hold a job based in Singapore. On an average, 80% of the SIM-UB EMBA students are locals with 20% from various countries like Australia, Britain, China, Denmark, and India.
With a varied of professionals from different industries and positions and countries, and the use of real-life case studies, this group of EMBA students can walk away not just with a better business tool kit, but also a vast knowledge of the other industries and a wider understanding of how to solve complex business issues.
We seek to compose our classes with students from Europe, North America, South Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific Rim. This provides a rich diversity in terms of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, management styles, economic institutions, organizational structures, and work experiences. Thus, in typical classes, we have had students from India, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. Differences in their work experience, industry experience, positions held, educational backgrounds and gender encourage them to view management issues from a more global perspective.
The presence of executives from different regions forces managers to broaden their perspectives and recognize the importance of thinking beyond their more narrow home-based experiences. For example, what is appropriate in a North American market may not be the correct strategy for operating in South Asia.
This richness of diversity in our Singapore program is evident to the faculties who teach the same course and use the same cases in North America to mostly executives from North America. It helps to broaden the perspectives of our graduates and contributes to their later success as global managers in today's highly dynamic and competitive markets.
6. How does an international business education better equip students for the 'real world'?
The reality is a need to increasingly compete in the international scene with the global players. To effectively lead your organisation in the right direction, to enhance shareholder value and produce better results year-on-year, the only way is to stay relevant and ahead.
With the SIM-UB EMBA programme, the blend of theory and application is designed to help students understand the inner workings of an organisation and hone their leadership skills to:
- Understand that strategy is a choice of what you do and should not do
- Sense the market (early)
- Identify the core business, focus on them and outsource the rest.
- Create shareholder value
- Lead change (fast)
An international business education exposes students to the real-world setting they are likely to confront in today's global marketplace. An MBA education obtained in Sverdlovsk, Russia, or at an institution staffed and attended by local and regional residents, that maintains a local or regional perspective will only offer that to its students: how to do things locally or regionally. They will be unprepared and ill-equipped to compete in the global marketplace of today. They will be unable to react to global threats and opportunities. They will be unable to benefit from the potential alliances and partnerships.
Exposure to management concepts in a global setting, seeing examples of their success and failures, and working on actual management cases in a variety of global settings better prepares managers for decision making in today's world economy.
Profile of SIM-UB EMBA Students
UB EMBA's admission criteria is working adults with at least five years of working experience. Thus, the EMBA programme is designed for experienced executives with top management potential who wish to further their studies through a flexible schedule.
Our UB EMBA students are in middle to senior management levels of their organisations. Majority of about 30% are in technical fields like engineering, IT and production. The programme would help them acquire new useful knowledge and skills which they can apply in technical management and general management. These technical managers also aspire to speak management's language and understand their thought process.
More personnel from marketing, sales, business development and customer account management are enrolling into our Executive MBA programme.
Companies like Philips Electronics and HP Singapore, have sent and sponsored key employees for this programme since 1999.
The biggest age group of UB EMBA students in SIM is from 30 to 39 years old band - average of 70%. And a over 20% are 40 years and above. For ages 29 and below years of age, it's typically a low single digit percentage.
Averagely, more than 60% of our students have more than 10 years of working experience.
The ratio of male to female EMBA students tend to be 7 : 3.
Sharing the 2007 UB-SIM EMBA Class Profile
Female - 31%
Male - 69%
29 and below - 4%
30-39 - 77%
40 and above - 19%
Accounting/Finance - 3%
Business development - 12%
Engineering - 12%
Production - 12%
IT/MIS - 23%
Sales/marketing - 26%
Senior management - 12%
5-10 years - 35%
11-15 years - 38%
16-20 years - 19%
21 years and above - 8%