March 11, 2008

Hotelies Study in Singapore

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Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Cornell teamed up in November 2004 to establish a joint Master’s of Management in Hospitality program, which has been open to students from across the globe since July 2006. The program, which is based in Nanyang’s campus in Singapore, brings together Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and NTU’s Business School, both world-renowned leaders in their respective fields.
“The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration recognized early the potential for the growth of the broad-ranged hospitality industry in Asia,” explained Dr. Judy Siguaw, Dean of Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management. “SHA knew that it wanted a presence in that part of the world.”
Dr. Russell Arthur Smith, vice dean of CNI, added that the collaboration between the two schools also stemmed from the “recognition of the unmet market need for hospitality management education in the Asia region.”
“Cornell, with its premier hotel school, and Nanyang, with its leading business school knew that they could collaborate to deliver top notch managers for the Asian hospitality industry,” he said.
According to CNI’s website, the program has a three-fold mission. It aims to create a world-class institution for the hospitality and tourism industry in Asia; to deliver top hospitality education and research; and to develop the hospitality industry’s future Asian leaders, managers and entrepreneurs.
CNI’s graduate hospitality program attracts students from all over the world, including many from the U.S. Siguaw explained that from the very beginning American students have been applying to the program, and the percentages rise every year. According to Smith, the student body also represents China, France, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand and many more.
“In general, the motivation for coming to our Singapore campus is to gain insight of and to experience themselves the Asian hospitality and tourism industry,” he said. “The Singapore campus encourages our students to learn from the Asian hospitality industry first-hand. Asian hospitality leaders are commonly on campus for our industry roundtables and career track advisory boards as well as executives-in-residence and guest lectures.”
According to Siguaw, Singapore’s highly westernized culture makes assimilation from the American university relatively smooth, and the students generally “require little adjustment.”
“Singapore is a clean, sophisticated, cosmopolitan city that serves as the regional headquarters for over 10 hotel corporations, multiple on-line companies, and several airlines,” Siguaw said. “[There is] a world-class airport and an excellent ground transportation system — there is no difficulty getting into or around the country. English, Mandarin, Hindi and Malay are widely spoken, so visitors have no difficulty communicating their needs.”
The physical distance between the Ithaca campus and the Singapore campus is no barrier to overseas student cooperation. Not only are the students required to spend a significant amount of time at both locations, but they also take the same courses on both sides of the globe using distance-learning technology.
“Our students spend half of their program – six months – in Ithaca where they take the same core and elective classes with the Ithaca intake,” explained Smith.
“They are also expected to interact in specialty courses which include a Leadership Development Program, charrette project, Career Day and a hotel show during their time in Ithaca.”
According to both Siguaw and Smith, the program in Singapore offers a plethora of unique opportunities to its students.
“In Singapore, the students are exposed to master classes, career track advisory board meetings and industry roundtables — spread over six months. These are designed with the purpose of allowing them to network and build relationships with senior hospitality executives and industry leaders in the region,” Smith said.
Siguaw specifically stressed the advantage to the location in Singapore.
“The strongest growth in the hospitality industry is taking place in Asia, so there are many jobs available and promotions occur at a far more rapid pace in Asia – about three times faster than in the USA,” she said. “The CNI students also build more global connections as they are introduced to 50-100 hospitality leaders in Asia in the first five weeks of the program and then meet North American leaders when they are in Ithaca for six months. As one of my American students noted, being in Asia is like ‘being in the right place at the right time.’”