19th July 2007, 10:08 AM
Re: Is it worth going overseas for uni education?
As an academic (in finance) at an Aussie university, allow me to add my cheapo AUD$0.02 to the discussions lah. As background info I did my undergrad and postgrad degrees in Aust (did my high school in S'pore). My masters and PhD are from Sydney University.
First of all, 1st class honours is an achievement no matter which university it's from. Having a H1 degree means that "you're a cut above the rest", and that in and by itself is meaningful. Sure one can always argue that having a H1 degree from an A-list university is more prestigious - that's subjective and in fact a matter of perspective.
Secondly, NUS is not as bad as you'd think. In the Asian/Australian ranking of universities, NUS has been up there consistently. As comparison only sandstone Aussie universities are up on the list and perhaps only 3 of them beat NUS, and not by much to boot. I've learned over the years working as an academic that while there's a need for good people (i.e. lecturers AND researchers), you can't get them without having a deep pocket. The Ivy League schools have very deep pockets because in general their students pay full-fees plus the fact that they've got excellent financial contributions from their alumnis as well as the businesses. Their people are paid very well. To compare NUS to them is like comparing apples and oranges because, really, Singapore is a small island and has what 5 million people tops? Australian unis are also struggling because of the same reasons.
For investment banking having a good undergrad degree is of course essential, but one must also display other qualities that would make you an employable banker (excellent communication skills, teamwork etc). I have had H1 students rejected outright by IBs before eventhough they're quality students. I myself almost ended up in IB but I was "saved" when I saw my colleague returned to academia after spending a few years in a top american IB firm looking frail and exhausted.
Oh yeah, I thought I'd add that quite a few Aussie academics (myself included) would like to be seconded to NUS during our 6 month sabbaticals. I was prepared to head over to UNSW Asia but aiyah that institution collapsed quite spectacularly.
19th July 2007, 12:11 PM