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6 Things to look for in a study destination for a Postgraduate Degree

04:38 PM January 05, 2018

You already have your personal reasons for pursuing a postgraduate degree. Maybe you’re looking to boost your value as a professional. Maybe you want to take your career in a different direction. Or maybe you just need the intellectual stimulation that postgraduate studies provide.

No matter your reason, it’s important to consider “where,” on top of “what,” you’ll be studying. Where you choose to take up postgraduate studies will make a difference in whether you get more than just a certificate. Considering that you’ll be spending significant resources, you’ll want to make the most of your time away from home.

Ideally, you should consider the following when deciding where to study for your postgraduate degree: (1) a business-friendly environment; (2) cultural diversity; (3) a strategic location; (4) breadth and depth of degree programs; (5) a vast network of partner institutions; and (6) a stellar reputation with employers.

1. A business-friendly environment


The best study destinations provide access to high-quality opportunities for professional advancement. If you want to take your business career to the next level, look no further than Singapore.

In 2016, the Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey named Singapore as the top Asian country to work, live and play. The country was also named Asia’s most competitive economy (Global Competitiveness Index, 2017 – 2018), the best city for startups (Nestpick, 2017) and the best country in the world to do business (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2017), among other accolades.

2. Cultural diversity

In an increasingly globalized business environment, knowing how to interact with people from various cultures is crucial. And few Asian countries are as culturally diverse as Singapore.

Singapore is comprised of various nationalities, including but not limited to those of Chinese, Malay, Indian and European descent. In addition to the local population of 5.6 million, Singapore also has more than 500,000 residents from many parts of the world pursuing their studies or career.

In such a culturally diverse environment, you’re likely to develop a more globally-oriented outlook on business and life. It’s also worth noting that Singapore has one of the best standards of living in Asia, and is a safe and convenient place to study, live and work.

3. A strategic location

Even within Singapore, you don’t want to choose just any university. You want to choose one that will put you right in the center of the country’s East-meets-West hotspots.

Singapore Management University (SMU) provides exactly that. Located in the heart of Singapore, SMU is a stone’s throw away from the central business district, arts and heritage district, and other places where you can augment what you’ve learned inside the classroom.

For example, if you want a quick snack, burger bistros and artisanal ice cream stores are just around the corner. SMU is accessible via bus and train, but if you’d rather be within walking distance from the campus, you can also stay in one of the university’s two dormitories.

Because SMU is in the heart of the city, it’s a natural venue for workshops and seminars conducted by Singapore’s best business experts. You have plenty of opportunities to network with the industry captains, and learn a thing or two on how to succeed in a globalized world.

Lastly, SMU’s campus is well-designed to integrate with the city’s infrastructure. Its porous structures, combined with its free-flowing walkways and open courtyards, reflect SMU’s thrust to open up a myriad of professional opportunities for the students who walk through its halls.

4. Breadth and depth of degree programs

When choosing a postgraduate program, look for one that emphasizes a well-rounded approach to your education. Not only should the program teach you “hard” or technical skills, but it should also train you in “soft” skills like leadership, communication and other personal qualities that employers consider invaluable in their hires.

For example, SMU has the Professional Development Series (PDS), a series of interactive workshops that not only complement your classroom studies, but also hone your leadership skills and acuity. SMU also provides access to Asian case studies, which can help you interact with a global business world within a local context.

5. A vast network of partner institutions

In a globalized business world, connections matter. Aside from forging relations with students from different cultural backgrounds, SMU offers you the opportunity to tap into its partnerships with top-notch universities from around the world, like the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the Indian School of Business (ISB), Peking University, Waseda University and Washington State University.

SMU boasts a QS 5-star rating, owing to its high-quality programs, its extensive research and its unconventional approach to learning. The university’s business and accounting programs have also received prestigious international accreditations from AASCB, EFMD EQUIS and QS. Many of SMU’s research projects are done in collaboration with Wharton through the Wharton-SMU Research Centre.

SMU’s schools enjoy top international rankings in research. The Lee Kong Chian School of Business ranks third in Asia and 40th worldwide (University of Texas Dallas Top 100 Business School Research Rankings, 2012 – 2016). Likewise, the School of Accountancy is no. 1 in Asia and third worldwide (Brigham Young University Accounting Research Rankings, 2017), while the School of Economics ranks first in Asia and within the Top 5 worldwide (Tilburg University Economics School Research Ranking, 2011 – 2015).

6. A stellar reputation with employers

A postgraduate school isn’t just an entry on your resume. It also indicates the quality of education you received, which in turn marks how valuable you are as an employee.

When employers see that you’re from a globally recognized university, you are more likely to earn a premium salary. According to the 2016 Graduate Employment Survey, nearly 94 percent of SMU graduates gained employment within six months.

Take advantage of comprehensive guidance from our dedicated career services to aid your career transition or advancement.

Don’t leave your postgraduate education up to chance. Consider your options, choose carefully and make the most of your studies.

For more information on SMU’s postgraduate degree programs, join us at the SMU Masters Education Forum on Saturday, 27 Jan 2018. Register at


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