Business Heavy Hitters Go Global

London Business School

The London Business School

The world is becoming smaller. And globalization has become a business bedrock. Advances in technology and communication are fostering an increasingly connected world. Relations between cultures and nationalities are transcending virtual walls. This, of course is flowing into executive education.

London Business School (LBS), Columbia Business School (CBS), and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have all combined to offer an EMBA Global Asia program that marries Western and East Asian cultures. The program gives students a true immersion into each culture and is the first of its kind.

The program works like this. There is one intake in May each year. Students travel the globe to the different schools with faculty, staff, and each other to complete 19 four- or five-day learning blocks taking place during a 20-month period.

“One of the greatest strengths of this program is the faculty, staff, and students travel the road together and take in a residential format,” says Silvia McCallister-Castillo, program director at LBS. “The students are having breakfast with their professors and talking about everything from corporate finance to exchange rates.”


During the first part of the program, the majority of the 14 core courses taking place in learning blocks happen in Hong Kong with a few others in London and New York. The second part of the program allows students to customize their education and choose eight of any elective courses offered at one of the participating schools. Students are required to participate in at least one weeklong international assignment and lectures. Possibilities range from a business development project in Moscow to an economics project in South Africa to an innovation and adaption project in India.

McCallister-Castillo says it is the combination of spending time at three of the best business schools in the world and the truly global experience from professors and students that makes this EMBA program stand out. Currently, there are 74 students in the program from 25 countries on six continents.

Anthee Merichovitis is a current student in the program. She says the diverse range of nationalities coupled with a diverse set of industries enables students to develop an ideal platform for dialogue, learning and developing ideas.

“We need new business perspectives in order to find ways to develop strategic thinking and pioneer ideas,” says Merichovities, who came from a family business and hopes to extend corporate and financial knowledge with the degree. “Through a procedure of traveling and contacting local leaders and different cultures, we gain a unique opportunity to develop a broader global perspective and foster professional relationships and networks around the world.”

Michael Malone, associate dean at CBS, adds that the three locations allow the program to deliver what many other programs can only claim. “One of the most dynamic elements of the EMBA-Global Asia program is the level of discourse among the students,” says Malone. “It’s one thing to have students come from around the world to one location, but by studying in three global centers, students are constantly collaborating with each other and the faculty to deepen their knowledge of and experience with consumer and market behaviors worldwide. Students leave the program with a comprehensive worldview, which many programs claim to foster but few can actually deliver.”

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