MBA Programmes in Malaysia

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:

  1. Nottingham University
  2. Manchester Business School
  3. Strathclyde

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.

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7 Responses to MBA Programmes in Malaysia

  1. anon says:

    1. There’s one ranking system that puts UM Business School into the 4th tier category. The likes of Wharton, LBS, Judge and etc are in the 5th tier category. The next best Malaysian Business School is in the 3rd tier category.

    2. Manchester MBA is also run in Malaysia by Manchester’s Regional HQ from Singapore. This Manchester MBA is different from the one that is run by Sunway U. And it is better, too. The overall tuition fees is between RM100k and RM120k.

    3. The Strathclyde MBA costs about RM65k and it is run by CDC Management Centre in Damansara.

    4. One of the cheapest MBA program in Malaysia is the one run by UiTM. The program costs less that RM9.7k.

    5. You can consider also MBA programs from Nottingham Trent, Derby, Bolton, Southern Queensland, East London, and etc. All these programs are offered by some Malaysian IPT.

  2. anon says:

    1. Other cheap option is the UUM MBA that costs less than RM14k

    2. Sunderland, Heriott Watt, Victoria, Curtin Sarawak, Maastricht, Wales, Edith Cowan are also available

  3. nish says:

    what about the MBA inti offers? is dis recognised cos it`s a dual reward from Herfordshire where an MA is offered together with a local MBA.what are ur ideas on this matter?

  4. JMSSTS says:

    Hi, any idea if the MBA from Strathclyde as compared to Manchester(MBS) ? I understand that these are the only two MBA program that is triple accredited yet available in Malaysia. However, I am struggling to decide between the two universities as MBS apparenetly ranked much better than Strathclyde in FT2012 (Stratchlyde dropped out from their top 100 list but MBS was still keeping their position at aronund top30 for the past couple of years). If I take MBS i would need to travel for alsmot 2-3 times to Singapore for workshop every semesters. Any advice pls ? Thanks ahead.

    • ditesh says:

      Based on my conversation with MBS staff, workshops are held in Singapore so some travel is required. However, its not very often.

      MBS is certainly higher ranked then Strathclyde.

      I don’t have much information on the relative quality of the MBA’s, although rankings may give some indication of their value.

  5. Ariff says:

    Machester Business School MBA requires travelling from KL to Singapore for any semesters? Is the course more coursework and exam oriented that fits a life of a full time student or is it designed as well for a part time non student.

    I’m in search of a student who has already enrolled in MBA MBS Sunway who blogs,facebook,or anything about the programme.

    How is the intake for the Nanyang Business School Singapore itself..no choice except to do full time for NUS.

  6. Seeker says:

    Check that MBS MBA is awarded by MBS and not the SS dept. of UoM, as UoM is ranked poorly now.

    Overcrowding, numbers too big for small city.

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