MBAs Across Borders: International Business Schools |

MBAs Across Borders: International Business Schools

By QS Contributor

Updated September 8, 2014 Updated September 8, 2014 looks at international business schools offering innovative courses that allow students to understand and experience business around the world.

For students this means the ability to create a more flexible, tailor made MBA experience with opportunities to study in and experience different campuses, cities or countries.

"I went on exchange because I wanted to get a taste of the US, especially of the MBA experience at a top business school there. I also wanted to focus on the not-for-profit sector and Stern offered some great courses in this field," explains Jason Chuei, a full time MBA student at Melbourne Business School in Australia. Originally from the UK, Chuei did his exchange at NYU Stern School of Business in the US.

For the international business school this means spreading their brand across borders.

"It is all about building international presence" says Andrew Crisp, director at education marketers CarringtonCrisp. "For every business school, international recruitment and liaisons with alumni are priorities. Increasingly schools are going global, often building networks through partnerships with other universities."

Today these international opportunities are no longer limited to simple exchange programs. Here are a few examples of the different ways that MBA programs are going international.

Exchanges and course work

International MBA exchanges are still a standard fixture of most programs, offering students the opportunity to spend a term studying at another university, often in another country.

Melbourne Business School in Australia, to name but one program, offers students the opportunity to choose from 45 different universities across Asia, Europe and North America.

In the US, programs such as Harvard Business School's Immersion Experience Program, provide students with the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks learning about business in another country through a one off course, giving them exposure and practical experience through applied management projects, often outside the classroom.

International business school campuses

Several schools are taking things a step further and creating new campuses in other countries, providing students with opportunities to study across both campuses.

INSEAD has had a dual campus structure since 2000, with a European campus in Fontainebleau, France and an Asian campus in Singapore. The MBA program runs in parallel on each campus giving students the ability to study at either.

In the UK, Nottingham University Business School allows students the opportunity to take all or part of their MBA on campuses in China, Malaysia or Singapore in addition to the traditional exchange semester. Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in Belgium has campuses in Leuven, Gent, but also St Petersburg and in Beijing through Peking University.

Some schools, such as Grenoble Ecole de Management and ESCA Ecole de Management Casablanca, have jointly established new campuses, in this case a new Euro-African Campus for Management aimed at training future high-potentials in Africa.

The dual MBA degree

A growing number of schools are exploring opportunities to provide students with not just a few months studying at another international business school, but the ability to study towards a dual MBA degree. These provide students with two MBA degrees issued by two different universities.

Hong Kong University offers students of the full time MBA the option of two tracks: a London track where students spend a term at London Business School in the UK or a New York track at Columbia Business School in the US. In each case the school provides a unique graduation certificate, an official transcript and alumni services.

Simon Korf, a graduate in 2006 of the dual MBA degree program at Hong Kong University: "The dual degree partnership provided the best of both worlds, the globally recognized brand of London Business School and the Asian business exposure of Hong Kong University. Business schools traditionally emphasize competition among and differentiation from other schools. A partnership focuses on complementing factors of each program. A partnership like this is therefore much stronger than an exchange."

NUS Business School has dual MBA degree programs with HEC Paris and Guanghua School of Management in China. They also have an Asia focused degree program, S3 Asia MBA, an MBA jointly operated since 2008 by three leading universities in Asia, the School of Management, Fudan University, Korea University Business School and the NUS Business School.

Another benefit of these joint degrees can include the ability to gain work experience or post graduation employment in another country. S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research in India and Schulich School of Business at York University in Canada have paired up to create a joint MBA program where students spend the first six months of the 16-month program in Mumbai before travelling to Toronto. The Indian government is helping Indian students by subsidizing the cost of the program and offering low-interest loans. Students then have the opportunity to work in Canada both during year two and after graduation.

Eliminating Borders altogether

Distance learning MBA programs are also taking advantage of partnerships between campuses.

The Thunderbird School of Management in the US and Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico have joined to create a Distance Learning MBA for Latin American managers. The program begins and ends at the Thunderbird campus in the US, with classes via satellite and on-site on 33 campuses throughout Mexico.

China Europe International Business School, a not-for-profit joint venture established between the Chinese government and the European Commission, besides operating programs in Beijing and across developing regions of China, has also set up executive MBA programs in Accra, Ghana.

International business schools are not showing any signs of slowing down their expansions. According to Crisp, "Many universities are looking to partner with business schools in the BRIC countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China, but they would do well to look at a bigger BRIICK, including Indonesia and Korea".

One thing is for sure, the next generations of MBA students will have more opportunities to learn and be exposed to global business than ever before.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in September 2014

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