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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From WASEDA to Singapore

Kenichi Takenaka
4th year student at the School of Political Science & Economics

"Why a Business School in Singapore?"

When you speak of studying abroad, I think that most people have an image of going to Europe and the USA. Furthermore, most people actually go to Europe and the USA. However, I purposely went to study in Singapore.

To answer the above question, I chose to study in Singapore because I believed that it would be an extremely valuable experience to be able to study for a year in the current economic hub of Asia. The central region of world economics is not in Europe or the USA, but is beginning to shift toward Asia. The United Kingdom in the 19th century and the USA in the 20th century were the center of world economics. I believe the 21st century will be the age of Asia. For example, it is being said that the GDP growth in 2015 will be 70% from emerging nations and 60% will be born from Asia.

I undertook a student exchange at Singapore Management University (SMU), a university specializing in business studies. This university was established by the Singaporean government in collaboration with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a top American MBA university. The class style was extremely characteristic, in that all classes were of seminar style with 30 students in which group project work comprised most of the grade evaluation. Of course there were examinations, and we studied for them, however group projects were the highlight of SMU.

In project work I dealt with an issue with students of different nationalities and presented a result of the research. This was the way for all the classes. In a marketing class, for example, we were assigned a project to propose a new marketing strategy for a local cosmetics company. Unable to unify our opinions, we had two consecutive sleepless nights up until the day of the presentation but were able to complete the project. (This was possible because the library was open 24 hours). The result was that the presentation went well and we received an A+ grade. Through these kinds of projects, the one year went by before I knew it.

As there is a tendency to decide where they can seek employment based on their GPA (Grade Point Average), local students study desperately in order to gain good grades. Also, as a Singaporean, being able to attend university is limited to the elite, so they are extremely excellent students. This means that competition is extremely intense and it is a relentless environment.

When studying in Singapore, studying was difficult, but there was also fun. Travel that is. From Singapore you can reach south East Asian countries by LCC (a budget airline) in 1 to 2 hours. I mainly used weekends and visited most Asian countries.

Singapore is the kind of place that if you go there half hearted you will become frustrated. However, if you have confidence in yourself, and for those people who want to try and compete with A-grade Asian students, then I think that it is the greatest of environments.

Futsal with local students

With friends in the dormitory

Study break with international students

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)