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Business as unusual: GSB offers Asian program

image: Campus NewsIn 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." -C.S.

 


  DECEMBER 2000

  > > Volume 93, Number 2


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