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EMBA: Buy one, get one for free

The FT’s 2011 ranking of global Executive MBA programmes is out and the first three places go to Kellogg/Hong Kong UST, Trium and Columbia/London School of Economics. The winners are all combination programmes where students study in more than one place and often receive a title from more than one university. Of the top 10 EMBA programmes in 2011, seven involve studying on more than one continent.

The leader of the pack, the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA programme is a partnership between the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s School of Business and Management. The 18 month-long programme starts with one live-in week at HKUST, followed by monthly live-in weekends, then two live-in weeks at the Kellogg School near Chicago and concludes with additional monthly live-in weekends. Executive MBA students may complete up to two global electives at Kellogg partner schools abroad, where home-grown faculty share their insights into local business, culture and politics.

The Trium degree is awarded by three well known business schools, the Stern school at New York University, HEC in Paris and the London School of Economics. It takes ten weeks out of office over the course of 17 months with six on site learning modules plus distance learning. Two weeks are spent at the LSE, two at NYU, three at HEC and then 1.5 weeks in an emerging market. The 500 live classroom hours are taught in English and 15-20 hours per week of web-facilitated distance learning are required, including pre- and post- module reading, assignments, case studies, and a final strategic project. The degree is jointly issued by all three universities.

The 20 month-long EMBA Global from Columbia and the London School of Economics comes in two sizes, either as Americas and Europe or Asia; the latter extends its reach to Hong Kong and Shanghai with the addition of HKU Business School to the partnership. EMBA-Global Americas and Europe students receive two MBA degrees: one accredited by London Business School and one by Columbia University. EMBA Global Asia students receive one MBA degree conferred jointly by London Business School, Columbia University and The University of Hong Kong.

In the Western class core courses are taught in intensive four-day blocks that enable highly-focused learning, minimising time spent away from the office. Classes alternate between London Business School and Columbia Business School. Faculties from each school travel with students to teach in both, London and New York. The Eastern programme is delivered primarily in Asia, with blocks taking place in London and New York.

These programmes come at a cost. Fees for the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA Program currently are 124,500 US dollars, but costs will rise for the next intake to 143,300 UU dollars. Trium already costs 149,500 US dollars and the EMBA-Global Americas and Europe 147,723 US dollars. And according to alumni surveys conducted by the Financial Times nowadays more students are paying their own way through their executive MBA programmes: The number of self-financing students has increased from 27 to 33 per cent between since 2007. In fact, the growth in EMBA student numbers over the past few years has been driven by students receiving either partial or no financial support. The return on investment therefore is decisive for many applicants: salaries today for Kellogg/Hong Kong UST Business School alumnis are 419,416 US dollars, for Trium EMBAs 307,808 US dollars and for Columbia/London Business School 259,833 US dollars.

Financial Times
London Business School

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