Singapore is Chicago’s kind of town

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Chicago Graduate School of Business (GSB) is to strengthen its presence in Asia by expanding its regional campus in Singapore, as demand for its MBA programme continues to intensify.

The school has outgrown the existing facility where classes are taught in an executive MBA.

“Demand for our programme has definitely increased. We have hit record numbers of applications in each of the past three years and this year looks to continue that trend,” says William Kooser, associate dean of the executive MBA programme.

The larger campus, consisting of three buildings, will also allow the school to accommodate new educational programmes, expanded alumni activities and to build stronger relationships with the business community across Asia.

In spite of the increasing popularity of its programme, the school says it will not be “taking on any more MBA students and [we] won’t be cannibalising any of our other programmes”.

At the same time, Mr Kooser says there is no danger in providing an MBA education to increased numbers of students, as long as the integrity of the programme is maintained.

Chicago GSB opened its Singapore campus in 2000 in response to demand in Asia for its executive MBA. The programme features the same faculty who teach in Chicago.

Even as the school expands its regional presence, Mr Kooser says it is a constant challenge to stay relevant.

“The biggest danger MBA programmes face [to keep] their programmes ‘relevant’ is a constant chasing after the latest management fad – whether that is a particular industry segment or a particular tool or technique. While it is important to stay abreast of new ideas and concepts, they are not all equally useful.”

The most recent executive MBA class included 92 students, representing 27 nationalities. More than half of the students “commute” to Singapore from other countries in Asia, as well as Europe and North America.

The new campus will be located in Tanglin village, a park-like setting north of Singapore’s central business district and will more than double the 22,000 sq ft of the existing campus.

It includes two-tiered classrooms, featuring the latest technology, 18 group study rooms, a student lounge and 29 offices and meeting rooms. The facility is expected to open its doors next year.

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