Below are answers to frequently asked questions, which cover general topics regarding the admissions process, scholarships, the curriculum, the classroom experience, student life, and career services.
1. General Program Questions
What is the length of the MBA program?
The MBA program is a 20-month, full-time residential program. The new class intake begins every August.
What is the size of the MBA program? How many students are there in the class?
The MBA program intake size is approximate 50 students.
What is the current class profile?
ASB MBA classes are comprised of extremely diverse students from around the world. Some additional demographics from our current cohorts include:
- Approximately 70% International
- Approximately 45% Female
- Average of 5 years of work experience
- 29 countries represented
How many students are international?
The inaugural MBA class includes students from 12 different countries across 6 continents, the students from second class are coming from 16 different countries and the third class has students from 18 different countries.
Does the MBA degree come from ASB or MIT?
The MBA Degree comes from Asia School of Business. However, as the only MIT international partner program in Asia that offers a 1 month immersion program at the MIT Sloan School of Management, ASB students will receive a certificate of completion from MIT. ASB graduates are also granted MIT Affiliate Alumni status, which gives them an MIT Email For Life (EFL) address as well as certain access to MIT Alumni events and communications around the world.
What does MIT Affiliate Alumni status mean?
Will the courses I take at ASB allow me to earn credits towards an MIT degree?
Currently, ASB courses cannot be applied towards an MIT degree. However, ASB MBA graduates also have the opportunity to pursue the Master of Science in Management Studies (MSMS) degree at MIT, which is only available to alumni of MIT Sloan partner schools. Further details on the MSMS program may be found here.
Does ASB accept transfer credits from other MBA programs?
Transfer credits are not accepted towards the completion of the ASB MBA program.
Can students work full-time or part-time while attending classes at ASB?
No. The full time MBA program requires the student to devote their time and attention to the program and students are not allowed to work simultaneously.
Does ASB offer any distance learning and/or part-time educational program?
ASB does not currently offer a part-time or distance learning option for its MBA program.
Where is ASB in the process of getting accredited?
ASB has been granted full accreditation by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), a quality assurance body that monitors and oversees the quality assurance practices and accreditation of entities offering national higher education degrees. ASB, being a private higher education institution operating in Malaysia, is regulated by the Ministry of Education (MoE), and as such is required to undergo MQA’s quality assurance process. ASB’s MQA accreditation status may be searched here. ASB is a member of AACSB, and is currently working towards achieving international accreditation from AACSB.
How do I register for an MBA event?
To register for an event please check our Calendar of Events
How can I obtain a copy of the ASB Magazine?
The ASB magazine is available online.
2. MBA Curriculum
Who teaches MBA classes at ASB?
ASB MBA classes are taught both by MIT professors, who physically come to ASB to teach classes, as well as by ASB resident faculty. Students also spend one month on the MIT campus taking classes with MIT faculty in Cambridge, MA.
In what format are MBA classes delivered?
ASB MBA classes are taught in a variety of different formats. Generally speaking, classes will be taught through a mixture of:
- Lectures [for theory driven courses]
- Case studies [Interactive experience in the classroom, facilitated by faculty]
- Projects [Simulations carried out in classrooms on real problems, and Action Learning projects that take place each semester with real companies throughout Asia]
What is Action Learning?
Action Learning is the process of learning by working on real business challenges with host companies, using tools and frameworks taught in the classroom with the support of mentors, faculty experts and industry leaders.
The ASB MBA incorporates Action Learning projects throughout the course of the MBA program to allow students to immediately apply what they learned in the classroom to real business challenges. This experiential based teaching method is a hallmark of MIT Sloan and has been highly integrated into the ASB curriculum.
What is special about Action Learning at ASB?
While many business schools have action learning courses, we are the only school that requires students to undergo action learning immersion in every term. Students will have the opportunity to work with up to 5 different companies on Action Learning projects during the course of their studies.
Who are the Action Learning project hosts?
Action Learning hosts range from leading multi-national corporations (MNCs) to regional companies, government-linked companies, non-profits and start-ups. Industries are highly diverse. While team projects take place primarily in Malaysia and the ASEAN region, the Summer Associate Projects (akin to a traditional MBA summer internship) may take place anywhere in the world. We have had ASB MBA students on Summer Associate Projects in Northern America, Germany, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. You may find more information at the Action Learning page.
3. Admissions Qualifications/Criteria
What is ASB looking for in an MBA candidate?
The ideal ASB candidate is energetic, talented, curious and entrepreneurial minded. We seek highly motivated students who are excited to be a part of an innovative MBA program and whose presence will enhance the experience of their peers. Smart, humble, curious, thoughtful, problem solvers who make things happen — these are adjectives that describe our students. The ASB MBA program is rigorous. Students must have performed at a superior level in their previous university studies. They must also demonstrate the ability to pursue personal goals, exhibit a high level of personal integrity, and should have a minimum of two years of professional work experience.
Does ASB only accept applicants with work experience?
Applicants are encouraged to have at least 2 years of full-time work experience post-Bachelor’s degree. Work experience suggests that the student will get more out of the MBA program and will have more to contribute to their peers. The average years of work experience of ASB students is 5 years.
What is the minimum requirement to apply to the ASB MBA program?
The Admissions Committee has a comprehensive process of evaluating applications. As part of the evaluation process, the minimum requirements mandated by the Ministry of Education in Malaysia must be met. These minimum requirements include:
- All applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree (or proven Equivalent), with a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 on the 4.0 GPA scale (or equivalent
- If the GPA is below the minimum requirement, the applicant must have at least 5 years of work experience
- All applicants must either be native English speakers OR have received a university degree taught in English. If you do not fulfil one of these requirements, you must provide proof of English language proficiency
We also strongly encourage applicants to have a minimum of two years work experience after completing their undergraduate degree (the average work experience of current ASB students is 5 years).
Applicants are also strongly encouraged to submit scores from a GMAT or GRE exam, which demonstrates to us their level of commitment in pursuing MBA studies as well as a level of quant comfort.
Do I need an undergraduate degree in a specific field of study?
No. ASB welcomes applications from those with undergraduate degrees in all concentrations, including the humanities, the social and physical sciences, math and engineering.
I already have an MBA. Am I eligible to apply?
Candidates who hold an MBA degree from another university are eligible to apply. However, these candidates should detail their reason for pursuing a second MBA degree in the application.
I already have a PhD. Am I eligible to apply?
Candidates who hold a PhD degree are eligible to apply.
I have a three-year Bachelor's degree from outside the United States. Am I eligible to apply?
Does ASB allow married couples to apply?
Married couples are allowed to apply. Each person must complete and submit and individual online application.
4. Admissions and Interview Process
Is there a preference towards certain jobs before graduate business school?
We encourage applicants from a broad range of professional and academic backgrounds to apply.
What are the criteria by which the Admissions Committee evaluates applicants?
ASB is seeking candidates with intellectual capability and a high degree of emotional maturity. When reviewing applications and interviewing applicants, we are looking for candidates who articulate their professional and academic success, their ability to lead and influence others, their collaborative spirit, as well as their interest in being at the center of emerging markets in Asia. Ultimately, the Admissions Committee is looking to assemble a class of highly qualified and diverse individuals who will bring the most to ASB and who will benefit the most from our new program.
How does the Admissions process work?
Applications are accepted through the online application which opens every August, for the following year’s class intake. There are three admissions rounds with the following application deadlines:
- Round 1: October 18, 2018
- Round 2: January 24, 2019
- Round 3: April 2, 2019
Interviews: Highly qualified candidates will be invited for an in-person or Skype interview. Interviews will be conducted by invitation only. Admissions
Decisions: All applicants are informed of admission decisions through the online application system, including those who do not get invited to interview.
*It is always recommended to apply early in the admissions cycle **International Students are strongly encouraged to apply in Rounds 1 or 2 due to timelines for processing international student visa applications.
Are some parts of the application valued more than others? In other words, what is the most important part of the application?
Every component of the application holds the same value. Applications are evaluated comprehensively and holistically, and all of the information captured helps the admissions committee evaluate the candidate’s unique qualifications.
What is the application fee?
At this time, ASB does not require an application fee.
How does ASB evaluate the English proficiency of an applicant?
The Admissions Committee requires all applicants whose native language is not English OR applicants who have not received a university degree taught in English to provide proof of their English language proficiency by submitting one of the following valid test scores. The minimum required score is in brackets:
- IELTS (Overall band 6.0)
- TOEFL (Paper-based 550, Internet-based 79)
- Cambridge English Advanced/Proficiency
- Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic (50)
- Malaysian University English Test (MUET) (Band 4)
We will only accept English language proficiency test scores taken within two years of the date of the intake you are applying for.
Does ASB compare international applicants against one another?
All applicants, domestic and international, are evaluated on the same set of criteria. There are no quotas based on country or citizenship for international applicants.
If I am an international student, when should I apply?
International students are strongly encouraged to apply in Rounds 1 or 2 due to timelines for processing student visa applications.
Who reads the MBA applications and conducts the interviews?
Applications are reviewed and read by the professional admissions staff. Additionally, interviews are conducted by the members of the admissions committee.
How important is the interview within the final admissions decision?
Receiving an interview invitation entails that the candidate has been short-listed for further consideration. The interview is a very important part of the application process – we conduct behavioral based interviews and we look at past behavior as an indication of how you might handle future situations.
We are also looking at the applicants ability to communicate in a clear and professional manner. Furthermore, the interview is used as a platform to get to know you better, beyond what is found in your written application. The interviewer will provide his/her recommendations to the Admissions Committee.
How long does an interview last?
An interview typically lasts approximately 45 minutes.
Does an applicant have to travel to Kuala Lumpur for interviews?
Interviews are conducted in hub cities around the world as well as on-campus in Kuala Lumpur. When necessary, interviews are conducted via Skype.
What does being on the waitlist mean?
The waitlist process differs from year to year, and will depend upon the number of applications we receive. Generally, waitlisted applicants will be automatically considered in the following Round and will receive an updated decision in that Round.
Does ASB offer deferrals?
ASB’s general policy is to not offer deferred admissions. We will consider deferral requests on a case-by-case basis.
May I have feedback on my application or interview?
Due to the size of our staff and the volume of applications received, we are unable to provide individual feedback.
Do I need to submit copies of my transcripts?
You will be required to scan your transcripts from all institutions that contributed to a degree and submit them as part of your online application. During the application process, we will accept unofficial transcripts.
However, if your transcript is not in English, you will be required to provide an official English translation of your transcript when applying. You may use a professional translator in your locality or an English translation done by your university.
If your educational institution does not use a 4.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) grading scale, you must ensure that your transcripts include a description of the grading scale. If your transcripts do not provide this information, you must submit supplemental official documentation describing the grading scale used. It will also be useful if you can provide supplemental official documentation that indicates the GPA (on a 4.0 scale) based on the grades or points awarded by your academic institution.
Applicants admitted to the program will be required to provide an official transcript signed and sealed from each school attended. All admitted students will receive further instructions after they receive their admission decision. Any discrepancy between the scanned transcripts and official transcripts will result in withdrawal of our offer of admission.
Do I need to submit copies of my diploma(s)/ degree certificate(s)?
You are also required to scan and submit all diplomas/degrees certificates for programs from which you have received a degree. If the original is not in English, you are required to submit an official English translation.
If my transcript and/or degree certificate is not in English, will it need to be translated?
We require an official translation of all transcripts and/or degree certificates, if not already in English. You may need to engage a professional translator in your city. If your university is able to do this, we will accept that as well.
How relevant are previous academic grades to be admitted into the program?
All of your previous academic work is important to us, and we will consider it, alongside everything else, in the evaluation process.
If I have a Master's and/or PhD degree, would I need to submit transcripts and degree certificates of these?
Yes. We require scanned copies of your transcripts and degree certificates for all degrees as part of your application. If these documents are not in English, we would require official English translations of these as well as the ones in the original language.
6. Test Scores
Which test scores are required?
While not required, the ASB Admissions Committee strongly encourages all applicants to submit a valid GMAT or GRE score as part of their application. We accept both the GMAT and GRE test results and have no preference for one over the other. ASB does not require a minimum GMAT or GRE score in order to apply.
GMAT and GRE test score information is useful for the admissions committee when making scholarship decisions. Furthermore, the GMAT is often requested by top companies when evaluating graduates for employment opportunities.
English as a Second Language (ESL):
Applicants should be native English language speakers or have received a university degree that was taught in English. If you do not fulfil either of these requirements, you must submit an ESL test score to prove your English language proficiency. We accept one of the following test scores: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge English Advanced, Cambridge English Proficiency, PTE Academic and Malaysian University English Test (MUET).
Should I take the GMAT?
Submitting a valid GMAT score as part of your application can only help the admissions committee in our evaluation of you. GMAT test score information is useful for the admissions committee when making scholarship decisions. Furthermore, the GMAT is often requested by top companies when evaluating graduates for employment opportunities, and may also be required as part of the application for affiliated graduate programs (such as MIT Sloan’s MSMS program).
Where can I get more information on the GMAT?
Applicants may visit MBA.com for more information on the GMAT exam, including sample questions and information on the test and registration.
What is the ASB school code for the GMAT?
There is no program code required for the GMAT.
Where can I get more information on the GRE?
Information on the GRE exam is available here
What is the ASB school code for the GRE?
MBA GRE School code: 7568
Is there an exemption for the GMAT or GRE?
While ASB strongly encourages applicants to apply with their GMAT or GRE test results and ultimately reserves the right to require a test score from all applicants, the Admissions Committee does not require one of these test scores in or to apply.
Applicants who chose not to apply with a GMAT or GRE test score are advised to show evidence of “quant comfort” in their application. This may be, but is not limited to, strong quantitative academic credentials during university academics, evidence of quant comfort in their work experience, evidence of post-graduate quantitative-based certification, etc.
Bear in mind that applicants without a test score may be granted conditional admission – that they have to complete a 100-hour Math Prep course before coming to campus to matriculate at the beginning of their studies. Failure to complete the Math Prep course before arriving on campus can result in withdrawal of admission.
7. Work Experience and Background
Do applicants to the ASB MBA program need to have work experience?
Work experience suggests that students will get more out of their MBA studies and have more to contribute. Thus, we strongly prefer students to have at least 2 years of work experience post-graduation prior to applying to ASB.
Does internship experience count as full time work experience?
Your internship experience will be considered as part of your overall application but will not be considered as part of your full-time work experience.
If I have been absent from work for a period of time, does it affect the chances of being admitted?
Please address any time gaps in your resume. You may also use the Optional Essay section for this purpose.
How do you measure the quality of work experience in such a diverse range of work experience?
ASB uses a comprehensive competency model to evaluate candidates. ASB seeks candidates who demonstrate evidence of these competencies, which can come from a wide range of professional experiences.
Are there specific types of work experience and industries that you look for in candidates?
We are not looking for any specific industry experience; instead we want to see that you’ve been successful at, and reflective of, whatever it is you’ve chosen to do prior to pursuing your MBA.
Would lack of work experience in a major organization count against me in my application, despite the success of my independent venture?
Often, working in a small organization or start-up can provide very interesting and rich experiences, so you do not need to have worked in a large organization.
How do you factor in applicants with advanced degrees?
Advanced degrees may provide important evidence of academic accomplishment and success, and will be considered alongside an applicant’s undergraduate transcripts.
Does PhD research count towards work experience?
Yes, PhD research is considered as work experience.
Does ASB prefer applicants who have a more quantitative background?
ASB evaluates applicants’ verbal and quantitative abilities. Successful applicants with less quantitative experience may be asked to complete a series of math preparation modules as a condition to their admission to the MBA program.
How important are extracurricular activities? Is it acceptable if some of the activities are work-related?
Applicants are encouraged to share their extracurricular activities and hobbies in the cover letter, essay(s), resume, and perhaps the video sections of the application.
8. Essays and Recommendations
Should I only include professional experience and goals in the cover letter and essays or also include personal interests to paint a more complete picture?
The cover letter is your way of introducing yourself to the admissions committee. It should be succinct and tie together your past experience, your goals for the future, and how the ASB MBA program can help you achieve them. You may include a mix of personal and professional experiences in order to convey your message.
Should I focus on past achievements or future goals?
The mandatory essay should showcase examples of something you have done in the recent past. The cover letter should be used to tie together your past experience with your future goals, and how an ASB MBA fits into that picture.
How are the letters of recommendation submitted?
All letters of recommendation are submitted online directly by your recommenders prior to the application deadline and according to the instructions in the online application. We do not accept recommendation letters via email. For more information, please visit the Application Instructions page.
Is there a word limit on the letters of recommendation?
ASB utilizes the GMAC common letter of recommendation as part of our application. There is space within the online letter of recommendation form for the Recommender to speak at length about your qualities, should they wish to do so. Please visit the Application Instructions page for further details.
If a recommender is not an English speaker, can I translate the letter of recommendation?
If a recommender is not an English speaker, an official translation should be submitted with the name of the translator.
May an additional letter of recommendation be submitted beyond the two required letters of recommendation?
Additional letters of recommendation will not be accepted.
What is the admissions committee looking for in the letter of recommendation?
We prefer professional recommendations over peer, personal, or academic recommendations. We want to understand your accomplishments relative to your peers and also get representative examples of what it is like to work with you. ASB utilizes the GMAC Common Letter of Recommendation form in its online application. It is suggested that the recommender answers all the questions presented in the form, and utilizes the space at the end to elaborate more throughly about the applicant’s qualities, describing specific recent examples of strengths. A generic letter of recommendation without examples is discouraged. More information about the GMAC Letter of Recommendation form may be found here.
What if I own my own business, or work for a family business? Who can I use as a recommender?
Recommenders should be people with whom you have a professional relationship and who can speak to your professional accomplishments. Ideally, a recommender should be someone who has been in a supervisory position to you. You may also ask a client, a mentor, or a co-founder to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. We suggest not using letters of recommendation from family members or friends.
What if my supervisor changes frequently? Should I submit a recommendation from a current supervisor or a past supervisor?
Recommenders should be people who know you best and can best speak to your professional development within a relatively recent timeframe. Ultimately, this decision is up to you. In addition, you may want to use the optional essay question section to explain why your current employer/supervisor is not represented in your recommendations in order to clarify the situation in your application.
What if I cannot get a recommendation from my current employer or supervisor because I don’t want to risk losing my job?
If you are unable to get a letter of recommendation from your current employer, you should seek someone else who can speak to your accomplishments in a professional setting. You may also want to explain why your current employer/supervisor is not represented in your application using the optional essay question section.
9. Career Development
What is the role of the Career Development Office?
The Career Development Office aims to future proof ASB graduates by cultivating lifelong skills of identifying career options, imparting the skills needed to market themselves successfully, and in turn maximizing their career opportunities.
I am thinking of a career change. How easily can I make a career transition after ASB?
Any career change involves change in one or more of 3 areas: industry, role, or geographical location. Changing one area will be significantly easier than changing all 3 simultaneously. At ASB, we recommend students use their Action Learning and Summer opportunities to achieve their desired pivots.
Is an internship a mandatory part of the MBA program?
The Summer Program – is a mandatory part of the MBA program where students choose one of the 3 options: Summer Associate Program (which is a CDO-sourced project), Entrepreneurship Program run by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center, or an Individual Action Learning Project (where students source and craft their own projects).
What is the role of CDO in my summer search?
While students are encouraged to search and secure their summer opportunities, CDO actively sources potential hosts for Summer Program. For international students, projects based out of Malaysia do not require additional visa requirements beyond the valid student visa.
What is the role of CDO in my full-time search?
We see ourselves as a partner in your career development, providing advisory sessions, tools and preparation in order for you to identify and discover your career path. Additionally we work with key employers of the region to recruit from our school.
What type of events does CDO run?
CDO events include:
- Networking events: from career symposiums in a speed-networking format to industry themed events (e.g., renewable energy)
- Corporate presentations and career talks: companies can choose to meet students during a lunch talk or an after-class evening talk
- Career core curriculum adapted from MIT Sloan for emerging markets and CDOplus programming (including etiquette, negotiations)
What are work authorization issues associated with international students?
Granted that 70% of our students are international students, we work closely with the Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Center to ensure that the opportunity to retain talent in Malaysia is maximized.
On a broader perspective, certain companies with a progressive hiring strategy and recognizing the value of access to an international talent pool based on their prior experience, skills and potential will invest in the additional cost and effort required in obtaining working papers. The willingness of a company to invest will also depend on the value of the candidate that they are wishing to bring on board. That being said, given the high heterogeneity of companies in emerging markets and our students, there is a wide spectrum in terms of time taken to secure these working papers.
10. Re-applying to ASB
When re-applying, will the admissions committee review both the current and past year’s applications?
When re-applying, we may review your previous application along with your new application. It’s important to consider this when submitting the new application. You don’t want to be too repetitive of last year’s application, but at the same time there should be some continuity. You should also highlight any updates or changes and be able to demonstrate personal and/or professional growth relative to your previous application.
What is the biggest mistake you've seen a re-applicant make?
The biggest mistake re-applicants make is submitting the same exact application package as the year before. If something didn’t work the first time around, this is your chance to adjust your application materials.
11. Scholarships and Financial Aid
How are applicants evaluated for ASB scholarships?
Scholarships will be awarded by the Admissions Committee based on the overall merit of the application. All applicants are considered for ASB scholarship opportunities. There is no additional scholarship application as such. ASB awards market leading scholarships up to the full amount of tuition; however these opportunities may be limited and are extremely competitive. Generally, the Admissions Committee aims to notify applicants of any scholarship award at the same time they are notified of the admissions decision.
ASB’s policy is that if a prospective student is an employee of a company that the school has a corporate scholarship or partnership with, they may be excluded from ASB’s merit-based scholarship assessment. Such individuals should pursue the scholarship opportunity that exists with their employer for corporate sponsorship to the ASB MBA program.
Generally, the Admissions Committee aims to notify applicants of any scholarship award at the same time they are notified of the admissions decision. ASB’s policy is that if a prospective student is an employee of a company that the school has a corporate scholarship or partnership with, they may be excluded from ASB’s merit-based scholarship assessment. Such individuals should pursue the scholarship opportunity that exists with their employer for corporate sponsorship to the ASB MBA program.
What sort of Financial Aid is available?
Fee paying students are eligible to apply for a loan for the amount of their program fees not covered by scholarship awards. Details on the loan facility will be made available to admitted students at the time of admission.
12. Visiting the ASB Campus
Is a campus visit required?
We strongly encourage you to come to ASB to get to know us and our culture a bit better. If you would like to come visit, please get in touch with our Admissions Office at email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
We are a small team and may not be able to accommodate you if you drop by unannounced. Typically, visits last about 45 minutes – during your visit you may have a chat with Admissions and a short campus tour.
You are also welcome to come attend one of our on-campus Admissions events that occur throughout the year – please check the current schedule of events here.
What are Classroom Previews?
Classroom Previews are your chance to attend a class delivered by ASB faculty, distinguished professors from MIT Sloan School as well as professors and practitioners who have profound expertise in Asian economies.
Afterwards, you will join the admissions team or current students for a campus tour and learn more about the highly innovative and collaborative nature of the ASB MBA experience. The session will take up approximately 2-3 hours.
Sign up for a Classroom Preview session here.
What is Preview Day?
Preview Day is currently only once per admissions cycle and is your chance to experience classes and culture at ASB in a more immersive manner compared to the Classroom Previews.
You will have the chance to interact with members of the ASB community by taking classes, socializing and attending events, and interacting with students of the course of a full-day. This is similar to Open Days in other institutions of higher learning.
Spots are limited, sign up for yours here before November 9, 2018:
What is Admit Weekend and how do I get to attend?
Admit Weekend is an immersive event open to those applicants admitted to the program during Rounds 1 & 2 (and their Significant Others).
Admit Weekend for the 2019 intake is scheduled for March 22-24, 2019. This is an opportunity to get a taste of what life as an ASB student will be like, through a mix of on-campus and off-campus activities.
Admitted students not based in Malaysia may be eligible for the reimbursement of flight tickets to attend Admit Weekend up to a certain amount, as stated by ASB’s Policies.
Further details will be communicated to admitted students in Round 1 & 2. We encourage applicants to apply early, so they will have the opportunity to participate in Admit Weekend!
If you have additional questions about the admissions process or the MBA program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org