Read this yesterday night and felt so demoralised that I didn’t want to blog about it until today. I mean… is there such a thing as fairness in this world? Especially where money is concerned? It’s quite amazing that despite NUS and NTU having produced so many generations of graduates, they lost out to SMU in terms of their students’ starting salary.

I mean, S$5,600?! How obscene is that? And the starting pay is? More than S$3,000!

So the SMU students get all the top jobs and the NUS/NTU students fill up the rest. I’m sure for a lot of people who have already graduated and stuck with their S$2,500 a month pay and still slogging away are complaining left, right, center.

But seriously, what’s the real starting pay like?

THE fourth and largest batch of graduates from the Singapore Management University (SMU) are getting higher starting salaries than their seniors from the year before.

They are also landing jobs sooner, with nearly all snagging positions within six months of graduation.

The overall starting salary for the Class of 2007 went up 6.7 per cent to $3,040 from $2,850 for the Class of 2006, the university’s latest employment survey indicates.

The top 20 per cent are getting monthly starting salaries of $5,600.

The top 12 per cent – one in eight graduates or 69 of them from across all degree programmes – are doing even better, drawing starting salaries of between $4,000 and $10,000 a month.

Among the Class of 2006, just 8 per cent – or 26 – made it to this pay bracket.

Of the 69 high-fliers, nine are making between $8,000 and $10,000 a month, mostly from investment banking or management consulting.

Indeed, about half the graduates are in banking, finance, auditing and accounting jobs.

Miss Seetoh Zhi Min, 23, who has a double degree in accountancy and business management, landed a job as an associate at the Boston Consulting Group.

Part of her job involves analysing strategic issues faced by her clients’ companies.

‘I like the exposure to various industries, the type of work the job provides and, more importantly, the learning prospects that come with it,’ said Miss Seetoh, whose name was a fixture on the Dean’s List for three years.

The Class of 2007 distinguished itself one other way in the business of job hunting: More snagged jobs even before graduation.

Eight in 10 landed job offers either before graduation or, at most, within a month of graduation.

Two-thirds got two to more than 10 job offers.

Miss Delaine Cheong, 24, sent out over 10 applications and received five offers.

She is now an investment associate with the Financial Institution Group at Temasek Holdings, where she helps evaluate investment opportunities.

SMU’s Graduate Employment Survey had a response rate of 87per cent – 618 out of the 711 who graduated between May and September last year responded.

The National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University have not released their employment surveys yet.

Article obtained from on 12th May 2008

Reader's Comments

  1. not-convinced | May 12th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    haha i don’t believe this report at all. firstly, SMU students really ‘want face’ so maybe they report higher starting than what they actually get?

    and secondly, only those who get high pay will respond to the survey – ie, not all, so u don’t get the full spectrum of grads’ pays.

    there are 2 smu grads in my company, drawing $2.2k.

  2. Daryl Tay | May 12th, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Aiyoh Jean, don’t take these surveys seriously. Trust me when I say that our school only sends the surveys to those who they KNOW are drawing that kind of money, and don’t send the survey to ppl like those in not-convinced’s company earning $2.2k

    That said, I don’t think producing many generations of students is a factor. If SMU students do earn more (and I think SOME) do, it’s because they probably want it more and push aggressively for it. I’ve noticed that the other two unis tend to be a bit more laid back when it comes to stuff like that, so perhaps it’s a choice.

  3. forrestgump | May 12th, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I think the three unis are presenting a distorted picture. The distribution will be more like the following:
    $4000 and above: 11%+
    $3,000 -3,999 : 20%
    $2500- 2,999 : 30%
    $2000-2499 : 30%

  4. forrestgump | May 12th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    the average will come to the $3040, given in the report.
    %iles will give a bettter picture than the kind of distorted way of presentation being done by the 3 Unis, in trying to out compete each other.
    I hope better sense prevails in providing info in a form more meaningful than the case at present.


  5. tianhong | May 12th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    after reading all the comments I feel a lot better. thanks 🙂

  6. Daphne Maia | May 12th, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Tianhong, don’t worry. in the event that u don’t like the pay they are offering, u can ask to negotiate. if they have no room for negotiation (those neanderthals!) then just go to another company.

    afterall, 一分钱一分货. if companies pay below the market rate, they will get lower quality goods (human resources) haha.

    one company i know likes to hire china graduates (not educated in local unis), bcos these graduates are willing to take $1700 or $1800 monthly salary.

    anyway, like daryl says, i really believe all these uni’s salary range surveys only portray one part of the respective unis’ populations. so let’s not get all upset over it!

  7. eStee | May 12th, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    hey jean, I don’t trust such reports as well. I just grad from NUS and the job I got is not bad at all, definitely on par with SMU students in the above report. So, there are some NUS students who do take jobs like these as well. We’re not leftovers, that I can vouch for.

  8. Paddy Tan | May 12th, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Well it is definitely not everyone from SMU getting that kind of pay for sure 🙂

  9. Nic | May 12th, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Hey Jean, these top jobs are from investment banking and management consulting groups like the Mckinseys and the Bains. Even NUS and NTU grads get a chance at these jobs and earn the same starting pay, so just wait for the NTU and NUS reports bah.

  10. Daryl Tay | May 12th, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    I definitely second what Estee and Nic have to say. The job opportunities are open for all. I can’t believe that companies are easily blinded to think SMU students are better just because of our jumping jumping campaigns. Either as Daphne says (and I think), our graduates are more aggressive in negotiating in the boardroom, or they’re just scoring more of these jobs across the board.

  11. Klause | May 13th, 2008 at 9:51 am

    SMU is famous for aggresive marketing and I don’t their report is that reliable in some sense. I have friends who has recently graduated with good grades from SMU and they are drawing 2.8K per month.

  12. brian | May 13th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Agreed, the report is somewhat skewed. Plus let’s not forget the govt’s attempts to fudge the perception that it’s harder to find a job these days

    it’s a way of showing “hey! who says there’s a lack of jobs in Singapore?”

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