This post seems to be timely, given the recent news that the top ranked university in Malaysia, University Malaya, has slipped to be ranked 208th in the world. The rest of the universities are in the 300′s. That’s right folks – no Malaysian university ranks in the top 200, and the rest rank in the top 300-400.
For those of us who have studied locally, the results are not a surprise – lots of issues plague local universities, from lack of academic freedom to non-recognition of merit to obsessions of quantity over quality (my Masters lecturer on compilers couldn’t program, much less write a compiler!).
In any case, I’ve been looking at options of MBA programmes in Malaysia. The results are an eye-opener.
Unlike the education mecca that is UK, the US, or even compared to our neighbours north (Thailand) and south (Singapore), no Malaysian university offers an MBA programme that is recognized internationally. Or even locally – an MBA from UM generally gets a shrug from HR types in Malaysian MNC’s.
By comparison, Singapore’s NUS and Nanyang Business School MBA’s regularly appear in top MBA lists. Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University makes an appearance in various MBA rankings too. No Malaysian MBA has appeared in recent rankings, although to be fair, UPM’s MBA was regarded as fairly decent earlier this decade – it then promptly took the plunge (speculation is that the plunge occured after George Chacko, UPM’s MBA programme designer, left UPM).
Good management is keystone to successful companies, and local management training options seem to be simply lacklustre. The return on investment of the RM20K-30K that Malaysian public universities charge seem to be non-existent. After all, MBA’s are judged on future career potential, salary appreciation and recruitment opportunities and local degrees offer none of these. As one poster on Lowyat.net put it – Malaysian public university MBA’s are “MBA for the masses”. Make what you will of that statement.
There are three foreign programmes in Malaysia that have some modicum of recognition:
- Nottingham University
- Manchester Business School
I attended Nottingham University’s MBA Preview programme yesterday. The university is ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the UK (80-ish worldwide), but its MBA programme doesn’t seem to be ranked on FT’s listing, although The Economist ranks it barely breaking into the top 100. At RM55K, it seems to be a decent opportunity for those who can’t leave Malaysia but are aiming for a relatively decent internationally recognized MBA.
MBS is offered by Sunway University/College, in partnership with Manchester. It is one of the top 40 MBA programmes, and in lieu of that recognition, it costs a bomb as well (by Malaysian standards, that is) – RM80-ish K.
I don’t know much about Strathclyde MBA in Malaysia, other then it exists as an option and seems to be well regarded. Comments from knowledgeable readers are welcome!
Interestingly, PTPTN does not offer loans for non-public university MBA’s. Why this silly decision? After all, a loan is a loan is a loan. Or perhaps not – one could speculate that perhaps this is a move to keep money in the country and within the Malaysian economy. Patriotic, but not very wise. Investing in education is the first step to self-advancement, and given the lack of decent management education in public universities, it would be wise for PTPTN to offer loans for international MBA’s until local universities get their act together.