The Most Innovative Global MBA Programs

OneMBA – This is a novel and highly creative program put together by five prominent universities on four different continents. The U.S. lead partner is the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, which has linked up with The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in Asia, the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in Europe, Tecnologico de Monterrey Graduate School of Business in Mexico, and Escola de Administraco de Empresas de Sao Paulo in South America.

Format: During the 21-month program, students attend classes every four to six weeks at their home university. You’ll also join OneMBA students from all the schools for four global residencies—each lasting seven or eight days–spread across the program. Starting in September, the first residency is in Chapel Hill, the beautiful campus of the University of North Carolina. All students are assigned global teams made up of participants on all four continents. The average age of a OneMBA student in the Class of 2012 is 37, with 13 average years of work experience. Nearly a third of the class already has advanced degrees.

Cost: $97,500, including tuition, texts, most meals and overnight lodging. Excludes the cost of airfare to attend the global residencies or, for that matter, the transportation costs to get to the courses at your home university.


Purdue University International Executive MBA (IMM) – Purdue’s Krannert School of Management boasts a Financial Times ranked EMBA with schools in the Netherlands, Budapest, Hungary, and Hanover, Germany. This is a whirlwind program, with five two-week residencies held in six countries on three continents and five online periods lasting about three months each in between the in-person residential portions. The program ultimately results in two MBA degrees.

Format: The 18-month program starts in March and is divided into five 16-week instructional modules. Each of the residential session involves 36 hours of classroom time during two six-day weeks. Students are expected to spend 15 to 20 hours weekly on class readings and assignments for a period of ten to 12 weeks during the pre-session for each module’s courses. The core curriculum is now being offered in two ways: the traditional on-campus model and a newly created online model.

Cost: $75,000, includes tuition, books and other course materials, lodging and most meals during the residential sessions. Excludes transportation.

Thunderbird Executive MBA/Europe & U.S. – The school ranked by U.S. News & World Report first for its international focus boasts an EMBA that provides students with practical exposure to all the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations through one-week field seminars. Students visit Brazil or India in their first field seminar and then Russia or China in the second. European students, who are based on the university’s campus in Switzerland, also conduct two modules to visit classmates and the Thunderbird campus in Arizona.

Unlike all these other global programs, Thunderbird requires students to reach a specified level of proficiency in a second language. The school offers instruction in Arabic, Mandarin, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Format: Starting in October, Thunderbird requires eight one-week-long modules delivered in Geneva, along with two international field seminars (also one week in length) shared with EMBA students from the U.S. There are an additional two modules on the home Thunderbird campus in Arizona as well as one online course. Each module—which typically lasts seven to eight days and covers between two and four subjects–is held about every five to eight weeks. When students are in a module session, they’re often in class between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Cost: $88,700, includes tuition, textbooks, case studies and other academic materials, hotel accommodation for five of the 12 modules. Excludes transportation, meals, and lodging for seven of the 12 modules. (Thunderbird is offering a $15,000 tuition credit against the European version of the program for applicants who apply by April 30, 2011.)

Trium Global Executive MBA – This ten-year-old program is run jointing by New York University’s Stern School of Business, the London School of Economics, and HEC-Paris. It is a 16-month course with a half dozen face-to-face modules (a total duration of ten weeks). In between classes, the faculty assigns projects and readings that can take as many as 20 hours a week to complete.

Format: The program kicks off in September with a two-week module at the famed London School of Economics. Then, classes and study are via distance learning until the second module in January, a two-week stint at NYU’s Stern School of Business in global strategies in finance. The third module in April takes students to a rotating emerging country—most recently China—for a week of study there in operations management, entrepreneurship, and corporate governance. A few months later, in July, students gather in Europe at HEC-Paris for two weeks devoted to marketing and corporate strategy sessions. The second rotating module—a one-week stint most recently in India—comes around in October. The final two-week portion of the MBA program finishes up at NYU’s Stern in Janary for sessions on “The Challenges of Leadership.”

All in all, it’s a fairly demanding workload. Administrators of the program say there are 500 live classroom hours taught in English, along with 15 to 20 hours per week of Internet distance learning, including readings, assignments, case studies and a final strategic term project.

Cost: $140,000, includes tuition, lodging in the guest module locations, lunch and group dinners, books and materials. Excludes airfare and other transportation.


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