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#147 ASB MBA Program & Admissions Interview with Sean Ferguson – “An Action-Learning Based Curriculum”

“We are an action-learning based curriculum. Our philosophy is to teach the students how to learn so they can learn to do. Students take what they learn in the classroom and we give them the opportunity each semester to go on-site with one of our 120 corporate partners and do a different project as a team… Not only do they learn how to apply the technical skills in a meaningful way but because they are doing this in a different cultural context each time [in Southeast Asia] they’re building up soft skills as well which make them market-ready and successful.”

Sean Ferguson, Associate Dean and Director of MBA Program for the Asia School of Business (ASB), discusses what makes the ASB MBA unique, the school’s admissions process, career opportunities and more.

Program Highlights (2:28) | Admissions (24:47) | Scholarships (40:20) | Careers (47:15)

About Our Guest

Sean Ferguson is the Associate Dean and Director of MBA Program for the Asia School of Business. Prior to joining ASB, Sean was Associate Dean of Masters Programmes at HKUST Business School and Assistant Dean of Degree Programmes at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. He worked at PROS, Cap Gemini, Ernst & Young, and Procter & Gamble before entering business education. Sean got his MBA from Rice University.

What is relatively unique about the ASB MBA? What are its key advantages?

  • ASB was established in 2015, a collaboration between Bank Negara Malaysia (Malaysia’s central bank) and MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Action Learning at ASB is a core (non-optional) course in each of the five different academic terms of the 20-month ASB MBA program. By the time students graduate, they will experience 5 different business challenges with possibly 5 different host companies, in potentially 5 different countries
  • 1 week long industry treks to US and China
  • 1 month immersion program at the MIT Sloan School of Management
  • ASB MBA graduates receive a certificate of completion from MIT, and MIT affiliate status
  • Students live on campus, currently the hotel for Malaysia’s central bank

Touch MBA’s ASB MBA Fast Facts

Program Highlights (2:28)

  • ASB was established in 2015, a collaboration between Bank Negara Malaysia (Malaysia’s central bank) and MIT Sloan School of Management
  • 1 intake/year in Fall
  • Length: 20 months
  • Campus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • ~40 participants/intake
  • ~20 nationalities/intake, class is ~70% international
  • Accredited by Malaysian Qualifications Industry and working toward AACSB accreditation

Admissions (24:47)

  • 3 rounds from Oct – Apr
  • Candidates encouraged to apply in Rounds 1&2
  • While not required, the ASB Admissions Committee strongly encourages all applicants to submit a valid GMAT or GRE score as part of their application
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5/4.0
  • Avg age: 29, Avg work experience: 5 years, Minimum required experience: 2 years
  • Applicants must either be native English speakers OR have received a university degree taught in English. If not, applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency
  • Interviews done by admissions and MBA leadership team

Financing (40:20)

  • Full-time MBA Tuition which includes accommodation, associated travel for action projects and MIT Sloan residential program: for Malaysians: MYR265,000 (approximately USD66,000)  / for international students: MYR365,000 (approximately USD91,000)
  • Recommended food & personal expense budget: MYR75,000 (approximately USD18,000)
  • All participants awarded scholarships, up to full tuition; no separate application required

Careers (47:15)

  • Full-time placement report? Yes
  • 80% of graduates had jobs within 3 months of graduation
  • Average Salary, Class of 2018: MYR 248,115 (approximately $118,141 USD)
  • Geography: 46% Malaysia, 17% Southeast Asia (excluding Malaysia), 37% rest of world
  • First MBA class graduated in March 2018

Show Notes


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