WHAT makes a world-class business school? It's one where international faculty produce innovative research to challenge the world's best graduate students and shape global industry at the same time.
The London Business School (LBS) (pic) is an institution which can rightly claim to be all these. It is consistently ranked among the top 10 business schools in the world, reflecting the excellence of its teaching and research programmes, the calibre of its students, and the diversity and reach of its intellectual community.
In the latest Financial Times MBA2003 rankings, released last week, LBS was ranked seventh worldwide – its highest placing to date and an improvement over last year's ninth position.
The top five were Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Harvard Business School; Columbia Business School; Stanford University's Business School and the University of Chicago. The top ranked European school was INSEAD, an acronym derived from the French for European Institute for Business Administration, in Fontainebleau, France (see chart).
The FT MBA 2003 ranking was determined by performance in three areas: career progression; diversity and international experience; and research.
The hallmark of MBA programmes is an analysis of the salaries of business school alumni after graduation. A recent Forbes magazine survey showed that LBS boasts the highest return on investment for two-year MBA programmes. Its five-year gain of US$149,000 was second only to Harvard.
Over the last decade and more, LBS has become an increasingly international school. Its dean Laura D'Andrea Tyson says: “Our vision is to be the pre-eminent global business school. LBS is a truly global institution. Its faculty, management and students are drawn from over 100 nationalities.”
Tyson's credentials are impeccable – she served as National Economic Advisor for two years to the Clinton Administration and joined LBS last year from the Haas School of Business at the University of California in Berkeley where she was the Dean.
Tyson led a LBS team to Kuala Lumpur when the School hosted a forum Competing in the Globalised World: Becoming a World Class Player last month. Two other noted LBS faculty members, Prof Christopher Earley and Prof George Yip also presented papers.
Founded in 1965 as a graduate school of the University of London , LBS has its campus in a 19th century terrace overlooking Regent's Park in central London.
The quality of faculty research at LBS was recognised when it was awarded the highest rating of 5*A by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The School has achieved this distinction since the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) began, reflecting its commitment to academic excellence in research and teaching.
LBS also offers more programme choices than any other top-10 business school, enabling students to choose the best option to match their interests, career goals, and preferences.
Says Gudrun Kuhlmeier, manager of the International Alumni Relations at LBS: “Our aim is to help our students to grow into creative and confident business leaders. Our MBA programme is deeper and more rigorous than shorter MBA programmes. We have an intake of around 300 full-time students each September. Our MBA attracts successful young managers with an average of 5-6 years' work experience from 70 countries.”
The School's portfolio of programmes include: a two-year MBA programme, a two-year executive MBA programme, the EMBA-Global which is a dual MBA programme run jointly between LBS and the Columbia Business School, the 10-month Sloan Masters Programme, a Masters in Finance, a PhD programme and the short-term and intensive Executive Education programme. Kuhlmeier explains that the EMBA Global is a part-time degree. “This is a truly international postgraduate degree. It is taught in London and New York and students will get two degrees from both LBS and Columbia.”
The Sloan Masters is aimed at senior executives with more than 10 years experience and is only offered at three business schools, the other being MIT and Stanford.
London's position as the international finance centre makes the Masters of Finance an attractive option for students while corporations worldwide send participants to the Executive Education programme.
The programmes vary in length from two days to four weeks and cover general management.
“A popular choice is the Senior Executive Programme, which is a month-long course aimed at senior executives who may not have the time to do an Executive MBA,'' says Kuhlmeier.
The faculty, students and staff represent a myriad of different cultures. More than 70% of the faculty is international, coming from 23 nations.
Diversity of the student body is even greater: 80% of students are from countries outside the United Kingdom, representing 70 countries.
Treasurer of LBS Alumni Club of Malaysia Christopher K.L. Shun considers this diversity to be one of LBS' strengths.
“Speaking from personal experience, I found that 80% of my fellow students on the programme were not from Britain. LBS is a global business school. An education at LBS provides global networking by a global faculty in a global city.
“If you want international education, which is global in focus, this is the right place to be.” About 70 LBS alumni are based in Malaysia.
Another unique feature of LBS is the network of Regional Advisory Boards bringing together prominent alumni and business leaders in seven geographical regions - Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America and the United Kingdom. The boards comprise over 100 members who help to raise the School's profile and act as its ambassadors.
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