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Thu, Jul 27, 2006 - Page 10 News List

London Business School attracting more foreigners

POPULAR PROGRAM The high cost of LBS' MBA program is not deterring students from around the globe who are lining up to sharpen their career skills

DPA , LONDON

"London experience. World impact" -- is the eye-catching slogan of Britain's leading institution for business and management studies, London Business School (LBS).

Clearly not shy of exploiting London's reputation as an increasingly global powerhouse of finance and business, LBS is reporting a steady rise in international students.

Of the 325 who have enrolled for next year's Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, 91 percent are from 75 overseas countries.

By far the largest proportion -- 26 percent -- of foreign students come from the thriving economies of Asia, followed by the US and Canada at 23 percent and Europe, excluding Britain, at 18 percent.

Success

"The problem is no longer finding jobs for students, but finding students for jobs," Graham Hastie, director of career services at the LBS, sums up the school's success.

McKinsey-groomed Hastie points proudly to the fact that, last year, the number of MBA graduates who accepted a job offer within three months of graduation stood at 96 percent, up 11 percent compared with the previous year.

Hastie oversees a team of seven associate directors, specializing in lines as varied as industry, banking, consulting, entrepreneurship and organizational behavior, social science and humanities.

The importance the LBS attaches to direct links with business firms in Britain, the US and other countries for job contacts cannot be overestimated, according to analysts.

Commenting on the rapid growth of schools for business and management training around the globe, especially in Asia, one expert said: "The point is to change behavior and attitudes. Only the serious business schools can do that."

As part of the aim to produce "excellence and sophistication," the LBS and other schools are increasingly recognizing the importance of adding "executive short courses" to their program, in order to produce "visionary and not just functional managers."

Under the LBS' flexible 15 to 21-month program format, the first year of core courses will provide students with the knowledge and frameworks of general management, while the second year is basically one of choice.

The emphasis is on the development of career skills and the provision of a "truly global network of unlimited opportunities to increase your cultural mobility."

Useful

One graduate, while stressing the confidence the school had given him, said: "I found courses in Organizational Behavior and Entre-preneurship particularly useful as they developed skills where I was weak."

The course length provided a "deeper and more valuable learning experience than one-year programs," he added.

Excellence, however, does not come cheap. Tuition fees for the full 21 months are currently at ?41,970 (US$78,400), plus an average monthly spend of ?1,500 to cover London's notoriously high living costs.

However, as the Association of MBAs (Amba) reported recently, an increasing number of applicants are willing to pay up to ?64,000 for a sought-after business degree.

A number of other leading business schools, such as Imperial College Management School in London, and Henley Management College just outside the capital, had seen demand for places rise by up to 30 percent.

The picture is similar at Oxford University's Said Business School, and at Birmingham Business School.

"Employers want to see proof of success and ability in the real world, combined with the acquisition of generalist skills that the MBA provides," said Peter Calladine, Amba's education services manager.

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