The Most Innovative Global MBA Programs

Darden Global MBA – The University of Virginia’s new 21-month global program enters its first class of some 40 students this August. The final application deadlines are May 10 and June 10 of 2011.

Format: Starting in August of this year through May of 2011,students will undergo six separate two-week-long international residencies at the home campus in Charlottesville, Va., and Washington, D.C., but also in Brazil, India, Europe, and China. Fully a third of the course work will be delivered via the Internet, in live weekly classes, virtual learning teams, and integrated work projects. Some 15 faculty members at Darden will be involved in delivering the program.

And all of it will be taught via the case study method, the dominant teaching approach at both Darden and Harvard Business School. For each of the program’s six terms, students will be expected to read and discuss 30 to 35 case studies—over 200 in all. Roughly 20% of the cases will be brand new at launch, designed specifically for the new global MBA.

Each residency is a two-week stint, evenly spread across program. The experience begins with two weeks at Darden’s home campus in Charlottesville, Va., in late August and then kicks into the distance learning portion of the program via the Internet. Each week, there will be a maximum of two online classes, requiring at least ten hours of work by participants.

The second term begins in mid-January of 2012 in Brazil with a two-weeks in Sao Paulo and/or Rio de Janeiro.  The third term kicks off in Beijing and Shanghai in May of 2012, while the four term starts off with an immersion trip in September of 2012 in Paris and Berlin. The final international two-week residency begins in December of 2012 in India, in New Delhi and/or Chennai. The program ends with two weeks in Charlottesville and Washington, D.C., in May of 2013. Four Darden professors will be sent to each international residency.

Cost: $139,500, not including an estimated $12,000 in additional travel costs.


Duke MBA—Global Executive – Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business claims that this is the world’s first global MBA program for senior executives. Launched in 1996, the MBA experience includes five residencies and visits to seven different countries.

Format: This 15-month program is composed of five terms (an optional sixth is available for electives or a concentration in one of six areas, from strategy to energy and the environment). Short, in-person residencies are followed by longer distance learning periods via the Internet. Weekly real-time class meetings are held, along with faculty office hours. There are bulletin board discussions and online team meetings.

Students start their pre-reading assignments for the program in late April before arriving on the Duke campus in Durham, N.C., for the first residency (this year it will begin May 16th and end June 1st). There’s a short break before the distance learning kicks in. Then, in late August and into September, students go to London and St. Petersburg for a second residency. Dubai and New Delhi come up next for two weeks in December. Shanghai and Bangkok are the destinations for another two weeks in March of 2012. Students finally complete the degree with a return to Durham for one week before graduating on July 14th.

Roughly 60% of the total time in the classroom takes place during these residential sessions. Students study, discuss and experience the way in which region-specific institutions, markets, and cultures enhance and hinder global commerce. Duke also assigns a personal coach to each student to explore unique leadership and personal development issues.

Cost: $152,500 for class beginning in 2012, includes tuition, books, class materials, lodging, and meals at the five residential sessions. Excludes travel to and from the residential sessions.

  • There is a new curious player in the field: Skolkovo, Russia.

  • nalin

    I received an Executive MBA in Global Management on the joint program between Helsinki School of Economics and Seoul School of Integrated Science and Technologies. HSE is now known as ALTO University, as they have combined their schools of art & design, business & technology.
    It was ranked at 31 in the world in 2009 and costed around $40K USD all up.

    I would recommend it as in reality, the course content among Exec MBA programs tends to be along similar lines.

    Great for networking, and building confidence that one can operate comfortably among high level Exec’s and CEO’s

  • Charlotte Kingswood

    Not convinced by John Byrne’s assessment – not all partner programs mean focusing on just two continents. Take the Georgetown ESADE Global Executive MBA program, 50% is spent in emerging markets with modules taking place in India, China and Latin America as well as Europe and the US – check out the website – 22 nationalities in a single cohort – sounds pretty global to me!

  • Guest

    The Global MBA from Manchester Business School recognizes that students seek a mix of the familiar and new, as a way of meeting the challenges of thriving in a global market. The design of its blended format program encourages students to establish roots in one location, while gaining exposure to peers across any or all of the seven MBS Global MBA centers: Manchester, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Miami.

    As MBS director Michael Luger pointed out in a recent Financial Times “Online Learning 2013” panel, the blended format provides meaningful face-to-face contact, fertile ground for real and lasting network building. “MBS has one alumni network of almost 50,000 graduates, spanning over 160 countries – all of whom benefit from the rich experience of recent graduates and those who are further on in their careers,” says Luger