How Location Fits When Choosing a B-School

How important is location when choosing a business school? The internationalization of management education has made it possible for anyone to find a great program at home or abroad. A recent piece in The Economist online looks at the significance of location when it comes to choosing where to study an MBA, since we’re all global citizens now.

Location-Key to Identity

Examples of schools that view their location as integral to their identity, The Economist says, include Cass Business School–located in the heart of London’s financial district–and SDA Bocconi, the Milan-based school that has forged strong connections with the luxury brands sector.

ESMT, founded by 25 of Germany’s leading companies, argues that its location in Berlin benefits students by exposing them to the country’s successful social market economy.

And INSEAD‘s decision in 2000 to open a second campus in Singapore clearly demonstrated the shift to specifically target Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Window Into Another Market

English-language MBA programs at Spain’s IESE and HEC Paris offer students a chance to strengthen their Spanish or French while getting a front-row seat of how commerce works in the host countries, The Economist reports.

Students don’t even have to be based in a new country full time. At many schools, students spend the bulk of a two-year program on campus, but can also elect to join an exchange program which gives them a chance to study for a term at partner schools abroad.

Melting Pot or Salad?

The trend in business schools over the past decade, at U.S. programs and particularly in Europe,  has been to create highly-diverse MBA classes. The Economist reports that Judge Business School at Cambridge now draws students from 35 countries; IE in Spain from 68.

If the aim is to create a cultural hothouse where managers and professionals from a wide range of nationalities live and work together, sharing ideas and experiences, what better way, the schools argue, to understand a country’s approach to business than to spend a year solving case studies with one of its brightest citizens?

Is the Future Online?

Advances in technology have already begun helping to apply the interactive experience of conventional learning to the online experience. The Economist cites Warwick Business School‘s development of a virtual classroom called wbsLive which allows students to exchange ideas and opinions with professors and fellow students as if they were sitting side by side in a lecture room.

So, how long will it be before location is no longer part of the equation when choosing the best place for your MBA? We’ll probably have our answer in the next five years.

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