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Business school plans executive M.B.A. program in Singapore

Five years after setting up
an international executive M.B.A. program in Barcelona, Spain, the Graduate School of Business has announced plans to establish another overseas outpost, this time in Singapore. It will be the first campus established in Asia by a leading U.S. business school. With applications already being accepted, classes will begin in the fall of 2000, to be taught by faculty from the school’s Chicago and Barcelona campuses.

“This represents the first time a business school will offer a globally integrated, executive M.B.A. program on three continents taught entirely by its regular faculty at permanent campus locations,” says Robert Hamada, dean of the GSB.

Modeled after the GSB’s North American and European executive M.B.A. programs, the Asian program will target the same type of seasoned middle- and upper-level business executives with at least 10 years of work experience. Designed to have leading companies throughout the Asia-Pacific region nominate their high-potential managers as students, the program is also intended for government officials, physicians, lawyers, and health-service administrators, as well as entrepreneurs.

Enrollment will be limited to 80 executives per year, drawn from throughout the region. Because most students will continue to work full time and commute to classes, the program is offered in 16 one-week modules spread over 19 months.

Students from all three executive M.B.A. programs will spend four weeks taking classes together, traveling to each program site. They will also form small management teams for study purposes during weeks when classes are in session. Between sessions, students will work on assignments and communicate with their study groups and the faculty through CD-ROMs, the World Wide Web, computer-facilitated discussion software, and multimedia software.

The program in Asia is intended to provide participants with “a truly global immersion into the fundamentals of business,” Hamada says.
According to Hamada and Mark Zmijewski, deputy dean of M.B.A. programs, the GSB had been seeking an Asian site for several years and chose Singapore for political and practical reasons: not only does the country strongly support education, it also has good transportation from the airport.

Singapore-based alumni helped with the arrangements: Cheng Wai-Keung, MBA’73, chair and managing director of Wing Tai Holdings Ltd., assisted in lease negotiations for the House of Tan Yeok Nee, site of the new campus. The house, a national heritage monument in Singapore’s Orchard Road section, is owned by a consortium led by Wing Tai Holdings. The building will be completely restored, with modern classrooms and group study space. John Wadsworth Jr., MBA’63, chair of Morgan Stanley Asia Limited, and his wife, Bette Sue Wadsworth, will help fund the cost of outfitting the classrooms through the W. L. S. Spencer Foundation, of which they are chair and president, respectively. Additional startup funding will come from the Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB).

“The University of Chicago’s presence here will help to propel Singapore toward the knowledge-based era,” says Philip Yeo, SEDB’s chair. “The world-class teaching and research that its program will bring to Singapore will help us to realize our vision of becoming an education hub, attracting top faculty and executives from companies around the world.”—K.S.

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