as unusual: GSB offers Asian program
a tiered classroom in a renovated plantation house built by a
19th-century spice merchant, 84 students from 15 countries wait
for the week to begin. Their first class will be three hours,
followed by another three-hour session in the afternoon. The cycle
will repeat itself throughout the rest of the week. On Friday
the students return to their homes and jobs until the following
month, when they will meet again for another week. In all, the
process will take 20 months to complete, after which they will
receive their University of Chicago M.B.A.s.
The program is a new offering by the Graduate School
of Business, and it is located not in Chicago but in the heart
of Singapore, just across the street from the president's house.
On a continent where M.B.A. degrees are highly valued but no internationally
known program exists, the GSB is hoping to establish a secure
foothold in the Asian business community.
"If you're going to be a major business school,
we think it's important that you be represented in the major economic
cities of the world," says Gary Eppen, the Ralph and Dorothy Keller
distinguished service professor, who serves as deputy dean of
the Singapore program.
The concept of an executive M.B.A. program was pioneered
by Chicago in 1943 but was not taken to an international level
until the University of Michigan began teaching business classes
in Hong Kong in 1991. Since then, executive business programs
have sprung up in places such as Frankfurt, Buenos Aires, and
Hyderabad, India, run by schools like Columbia, Harvard, and Northwestern.
The Singapore campus opened its doors on September
14 with a full roster of students and a clear agenda: to make
the Chicago M.B.A. a globally known asset. As universities-through
both international and online programs-begin to imitate the expansionism
of the companies they study, they not only import lessons in international
markets to teach at the local campus, but they also export the
school name to distant lands. Notes GSB dean Robert Hamada, "We
wanted that region of the world to know that we are permanent."