The competition across the Atlantic for the highest standard in MBAs is hotting up
Lately, UK business schools have had remarkable success in attracting students that would normally have opted for an MBA in the US. The Dean of Henley Business School, Chris Bones, commented, “A consistently undervalued pound means the UK has been gaining international students who might otherwise have gone to Europe or the US. We represent better value for money.”
The average American MBA course takes two years to complete, but this does not mean that it is a better qualification than one obtained in the UK or the rest of Europe. The curriculum for the average one-year UK MBA is basically the same as that of a two-year American MBA. The daily workload might be higher and students who do not have a business background may find it more difficult than a two-year MBA programme.
Then, of course, there is the matter of cost. To obtain an MBA in the US will cost anything up to $80,000. In the UK the cost varies between $43,000 and $54,500, although the London Business School, with its two-year MBA, is much more expensive.
The reputation of a UK MBA is beyond question. All the top business schools in the country consistently receive high research ratings. In the UK, business schools are normally attached to major universities, but operate semi-autonomously.
Nearly every single one of the major UK business schools has experienced strong growth in the number of overseas students over the last few years, including Manchester Business School, Said Business School (Oxford), London Business School, Imperial Business School, Cambridge Judge Business School, Lancaster University Management School and Cass and Warwick in London.
Open University Business School, Strathclyde, Durham and Cranfield are now part of an elite group of international business schools with triple accreditation from Europe, the UK and the US. It can indeed be said that business education in the UK is more highly respected today than ever before.
There is a new long-term trend emerging. According to the Association of Business Schools more than 80 percent of all full-time MBA students in the UK are now from outside the country’s borders. Many of them come from Eastern Europe, China, Hong Kong and India.
Susan Rose, who is in charge of MBAs at Henley Business School, Reading University, says, “Students are looking for an internationally recognised brand name.” Henley’s MBA programme offers core modules in finance, business strategy and marketing.
The meteoric rise of economies such as India, China, Singapore and Hong Kong means that these countries have an almost insatiable demand for MBA graduates.
Top American business schools, such as Stanford, Harvard and Wharton, still attract many of the top students and most of them go on to senior positions at major US companies. US universities are, however, not as ‘internationalised’ as their UK and European counterparts. Many companies, particularly in Europe, therefore prefer students who obtain their MBA at a university in the UK or Europe, since they are more comfortable working in an international environment.