Asia is the new destination for MBA abroad

 | May 07,2012 10:44 am IST

Traditionally, the United States and United Kingdom have always been popular overseas education destinations with Indian students. However, in recent years countries in Asia such as Singapore, Hong Kong and China have emerged as alternative locations for Indian students looking for an overseas education experience.


Take the case of Nishaan Malhotra, who graduated from one of Delhis top schools. Nishaan has enrolled in an undergraduate engineering program at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Malhotra zeroed in on Singapore after attending an education fair. Singapore came across as a fun, vibrant city and the university is well reputed. Also, Singapore is not that far from India, just a short flight away so my family is also not too worried about sending me far away.

There are many others like him who are applying to colleges and universities elsewhere in Asia. According to Kavita Singh, CEO, FutureWorks Consulting, a company that provides admissions guidance to Indian students, the high cutoffs and shortage of places at Indian colleges have forced many bright, talented students to look overseas. While countries such as the United States and United Kingdom are still the top picks, many students are looking east as well. Singh has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the UKs Oxford University and an MBA from Columbia Business School in the US.


Asian colleges and universities score highly on the cost and competitiveness factor. While the quality of education offered by institutions in countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong is very high, the cost of education is often lower than universities in the West in terms of tuition and living expenses. Most of these countries are close to India and with their economies thriving, employment options are also plentiful.


Hong Kong, for instance, has made a name for itself in the education arena. Some of its institutions such as the Chinese University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong are favourably positioned in the annual QS World University Rankings, and QS Asian University Rankings. All eight of Hong Kongs government-funded universities use English as the medium of instruction. Courses such as engineering, bio-sciences, art and design are popular with Indian students.

'China and India constitute two of the BRIC countries that are signaling a major shift in global economic power. Tomorrow's world will need leaders who can capitalize on this by understanding both countries and facilitate the rapidly increasing trade between them,' says Professor John A Spinks, Senior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Hong Kong.


'We are fortunate in having a number of factors come together at the same time - the priority accorded to education by students and their parents in Asia resulting in high academic standards, the continued support of Asian governments for universities and the investment they provide, and the ranking of HKU as the best university in Asia, Spinks continued. With the economic development in Asia and the availability of jobs after graduation, many students are choosing to stay in Asia for their undergraduate studies rather than going to the more traditional educational destinations of the US, UK and Australia. This is the new Spice Route of the 21st century - exchanging knowledge across Asia'.


Singapore, on the other hand, offers global education against the backdrop of a vibrant, bustling, culturally diverse city. Three universities that are known for their high academic standards are the National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Nanyang Technological University. These institutions have partnerships with leading universities across the world, and their degrees are globally respected.


Popular courses here include those in the fields of science and technology, medicine, and arts and design. However, the cost of living and tuition fees in Singapore are considerably higher than that in China and Hong Kong.


Along with Singapore and Hong Kong, China is also fast becoming an important educational hotspot. Seven Chinese universities rank among the top 200 in the 2011/12 QS World University Rankings, with Peking University and Tsinghua University both making the global top 50. Chinese universities are known for their programs in medicine and business among other courses.

Another city that has become popular with Indian students is Dubai. Nearly 20,000 students from over 100 countries are enrolled in courses at the some of the worlds leading universities through branch campuses in Dubai.


Dubais education sector has expanded phenomenally in recent years. Leading universities from across the globe have set up branch campuses offering both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The standard of living in Dubai is known to be high, and a comparatively low cost of living enables students to lead a comfortable life. A short flight away from India, Dubai has become a popular hotspot for Indian students looking for an international education experience at a reasonable cost.


With a range of attractive options closer to home now complementing the more traditional study destinations such as the US, UK and Australia, students from India are spoilt for choice when it comes to international education.

For those interested in the career benefits of an undergraduate education, QS series of global management education events comes to India from 12th-18th May. Register for free entry to the event by visiting