Friday, May 22, 2009

A Hitchhiker's Guide to Singapore

Most of Singapore (universities) is done with exams. This is the time of the year when students flock home or for summer internships. The summer school at LSE (London School of Economics) too, is a favorite choice.This is also the time when exchange students from other countries come down to Singapore, for a tropical fresh breath. For those who want to make a trip down to Singapore, as a summer intern or a prospective student, there’s a lot you can do here.
So let’s get started. As any hitchhiker needs a survival kit, here’s a list of things that you can’t do without:
  • A map of important Landmarks

Smart travelers are adept navigators. Singapore is a well planned city, and directions are not hard to find. There’s also a lot of free maps available at the Airport or at many of the Visitor’s Centers by STB (Singapore Tourism Board). Click here to find a visitor center near you.
  • Comfortable footwear and clothing

If you’re a city trotter, get ready to walk the walk. Cotton clothes help you beat the heat and go the distance. Carry a backpack for those devices (ipods et al) that you can’t let go of and don’t forget to carry some water. At most places in Singapore, you can dine in casual clothes, barring fine diners and night clubs.

  • The Campus Tour
    Most schools would love to show you around. I would suggest calling/emailing them in advance and scheduling a campus tour. People in Singapore are very homely and helpful.
    Always carry a notepad to jot down important information and directions. Carrying a name card (visiting card) always helps.
  • Uniquely Singapore
    Besides, you might also want to explore the cultural side of Singapore. The public transport system is very convenient. Buses and trains are available from 6am to midnight.
    Make a list of things you’re interested in and create a rough itinerary.
    You can find comprehensive information here.
  • Must haves
    Some stuff you might need in your armory to move about:
  1. EZ Link Card – When I first came here, I was told that this card is the lifeline of Singapore. I smirked. Later, I realized what they meant. Be it a bus, train or even a Big Gulp at a 7 Eleven Store, an EZ Link card does it all. This pre-loaded cash card can be purchased at any of the MRT (train) stations and is a must have!
  2. A pre-paid phone – You can buy a pre-paid phone SIM for as low as 8 SGD, if I recall correctly. Singapore uses GSM telephony, so any GSM phone will support a Singapore SIM Card. Finding a local pay phone can sometimes be a pain, so this might just be a worthy investment. Calling rates are pretty much the same for all 3 mobile providers (SingTel, StarHub and M1) and they’re all equally efficient.
  3. Water Repellent – It rains without warning. Anytime and any day, be set to pull out that umbrella like a magic wand to ward off the rain. Foldable, compact umbrellas can be bought at most of the general stores and malls in Singapore.

That sums up our Getaway Guide 001, stay tuned for more. If you have any specific questions about traveling to or within Singapore, please leave a question in the comment box below.

Happy Hitchhiking!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Discovering the MBA advantage!

On my time off, I set off from a world of academic overdose into magical India. To the fantastic Tata Crucible International Finals. And, here I am, back to share my one-of-a-kind experience with all you wonderful readers.
The Tata Crucible International Finals proved to be a tremendous learning experience for me. One thing I learn about was the MBA, or the Masters in Business Administration. The degree has established itself as the quintessential tool in any manager’s (or aspiring manager’s) toolkit. It is highly sought after by recruiters around the world.
Experts today cite the economic downturn as leading to several questions and accusations. The economic downturn has seen a perplexed reaction on how business is taught in classrooms and the expensive tuition fees it demands. Experts at the seminar guaranteed that answers to prevailing problems will be found in these very incubators of business talent.
The MBA program is offered by various universities as a general degree or alternatively offer specializations in Marketing, Finance, Information Systems and Human Resources. Additionally, there are MBA programs in Supply Chain Management, Sports Management and even Medicine Management that capture a niche market!
And, what better place to pursue an MBA than Singapore! Singapore is known for its holistic environment and being an Asian business hub with English as the accepted business language it surely makes for an attractive education destination. Efficient public transport and excellent infrastructure is an added advantage and well, if you live in India, South East Asia or even Australia, add the advantage of proximity to your list!
In Singapore, you can pick and choose your various requirements, mode of study, entry pre-requisites and specialisation. The GMAT is widely accepted amongst most B schools but the entry requirements differ depending on the institute you apply to. The next hurdle in the selection process are the interviews and SOPs. That's the tough part! If you'd like to know my experience, leave me a comment!
Otherwise, you can discover more information on Singapore's specialized education portal:
Also, if you'd like to discover an expert opinion, you might want to check this out! UTVi, a national business channel, has done an interesting segment called ‘Cracking Careers’. They recently interviewed students in Singapore and surveyed the advantages of the educational experience in Singapore. View it here: