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An Interview with Nicole Tee, Director of Graduate Studies at NBS

An Interview with Nicole Tee, Director of Graduate Studies at Nanyang Business School, Singapore

By: Natsuko Tohyama

“Imagine yourself when you are 80, reflecting on how you have lived your life. If you see yourself regretting not having done the programme, then you should certainly do it!”

It is just recently that the ranking of business schools were published, and with the marked increase in individuals worldwide enrolling in an MBA program, we were curious to find out just what one of the top-ranked business schools such as the Nanyang MBA, looks for in successful candidates. We recently sat down with Ms Nicole Tee, Marketing & Admissions, Director of graduate studies at Nanyang Business School for an in-depth look. Excerpts: 

It seems in this global age, the numbers of MBA programs is rapidly growing. With so much choice out there for the mid-career professional, what do you feel sets NBS apart?

Nanyang MBA draws from the strengths of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the #13 University in the world (according to QS University world rankings) and one of Asia’s most comprehensive research-intensive universities.

Industry Relevance

Participants will do a ‘live’ strategic consulting project with a company (Strategy Projects at Nanyang), spanning 2 trimesters, solving on real life issues, and guided by faculty supervisors.

Focus on Leadership

Our curriculum has a strong focus on leadership – “Leading People Globally” (LPG) is an innovative module that focuses on a core set of skills that will help distinguish an MBA graduate in the next 5 years in their careers. It involves “soft” skills such as managing oneself (self-motivation, self-care, how to deal with setbacks), managing people (effective communication, building relationships, how to engage and motivate/inspire) and negotiation skills (how to work towards win-win situations).

Double Degree Options

Participants in the programme may choose to do a double degree at top programmes in Asia or Europe through these options, at no additional tuition fees:

  • Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA: 2 MBA degrees in 14 months in Singapore and Japan

  • Nanyang-St Gallen Double Masters: Nanyang MBA and Master of Arts in Strategy & International Management in 24 months in Singpaore and St Gallen, Switzerland

  • Nanyang-ESSEC Double Masters – Nanyang MBA and MSc in Management in 24 months in Singapore and France


How is the curriculum structured?

The Nanyang MBA programme spans a period of 12 months, and you can choose from the following 3 tracks which allow you to focus on specific career requirements that you would like to pursue:

  • Banking & Finance track
  • Strategy & Innovation track
  • General Management track

Designed to meet the needs and requirements of industry for top notch MBA hires, the Nanyang MBA consists of the following: 

a) 9 core courses

b) 4 elective

c) Either an overseas or local (Singapore); Business Study Mission (BSM) – this is a study trip that provides the platform for the practical applications of the knowledge gained from the core courses and electives, by visiting local or overseas companies, meeting and engaging the top executives of said firms
Strategy Projects at Nanyang (SPAN)

d) A comprehensive Leading People Globally module

How different is the curriculum being delivered, as compared to the Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA (or any MBA program that you would like to include?)

Nanyang Waseda Double MBA do 2 trimesters at NTU, and the 3rd trimester at Waseda.


What does your ideal MBA class look like?

A diverse class with 20 nationalities and work experience of around 4-6 years. Each individual should bring a unique contribution to the cohort. They should all be well-rounded, driven, while at the same time is grounded and mature.


As a professional looking to find that perfect match, is there a perfect time to embark upon an MBA?

There are MBA programmes to suit professionals at every stage of their careers, from 2 years or more of work experience. The oldest participant we had in the Nanyang Executive MBA owned a successful shipping company and was 62 years old when he joined the programme!


How well do you agree with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that you don’t need an MBA to be successful in tech? How does this threaten the MBA as we know it?

There are many paths leading to the same goal. Sheryl Sandberg was right in pointing out that you don’t need an MBA to be successful in tech. It is only one of the ways.


Do you think this applies to all other industries as well?

Yes. An MBA alone is never enough. To reach your goal, you need to combine with relevant experience, networks and very importantly, hard work.


On successful completion of an NBS MBA, what kind of an edge does your Alumni walk away with?

Our graduates have the solid ability to get things done, with the hands-on knowledge that they gain from the programme. They are culturally adaptable and able to thrive in diverse situations. They also know how to work hard and play hard.


Lastly, what hiring trends do you anticipate from MBA recruiters in the next 2-5 years?

We expect next year to be a tough year in general for MBA recruiting as recruiters hold back their hiring plans given the economic uncertainties. However, we do not foresee any difficulties for our graduates as we intentionally keep our cohort small and selective so we can provide personalised attention to each and every participant. There will always be a demand for outstanding talents.


 Nicole Tee, Director of graduate studies at Nanyang Business School

Nicole Tee
Director, Marketing & Admissions, Graduate Studies


Director of graduate studies at Nanyang Business School, Tee is responsible for marketing and admissions of the school’s postgraduate programs. She also serves as the director of the Nanyang Executive MBA, Nanyang Fellows MBA, and advanced management programs.


With extensive experience in EMBA Programs globally, Tee previously managed the EMBA team at INSEAD’s three campuses in France, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates, and was responsible for its Global EMBA Programs and its joint EMBA Programs with China’s Tsinghua University. She also led marketing and admissions activities at IESE Business School’s Global Executive MBA.


Her corporate experience includes marketing positions in advertising agencies Wunderman, the Young & Rubicam/WPP Group, and M&C Saatchi, as well as in the Asian headquarters of Standard Chartered Bank. She received her bachelor’s degree in business from Nanyang Technological University and an MBA from INSEAD.


Deadline for completion of applications:


Round 1

Round 2

Round 3


16 Nov 2015

15 Jan 2016

31 Mar 2016

Interview Decision

15 Dec 2015

15 Feb 2016

18 Apr 2016

Final Decision

15 Jan 2016

15 Mar 2016

15 May 2016

For further inquiries, please email to or call +65 6790 4233 / +65 6908 3469. 


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