The A-Z of Business Schools: Durham University Business School

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The Independent Online
Age: 33

History: One of the oldest business schools in England, it was set up, along with London and Manchester, as a result of the 1965 Franks Report (Harold Wilson era: don't yawn).

Address: On the edge of the city, adjacent to the ancient university, it is housed in a 20-year-old building.

Ambience: Purpose-built premises have been refurbished recently, so you get all mod-cons - new MBA wing, new IT equipment, new library, new accommodation block. Very suave. You also get a lovely view of the golf course from the semi- rural setting. Good social life in-house and in hip Newcastle; Pennines and Lake District nearby if you need to stretch your legs. Or Northumberland coast if you want a dip.

Vital statistics: A business school for postgraduates only. No hairy undergraduates here. So the atmosphere is relaxed and grown-up. Academics are on first-name terms with students and their doors are always open apparently. There's a drop-in computer centre open 24 hours a day, 364 days a year. Closed Christmas Day. Specially for workaholic would-be captains of industry.

Added value: Wide choice of electives (options) including some unusual ones e.g. negotiating skills, creative management and crisis management. The school has made a specialism of small businesses and entrepreneurship led by its international guru Allan Gibb. Quick off the mark in establishing distance learning MBA in 1988. It now has more than 700 students from around the world on that MBA - from Hong Kong, Singapore, India and the North-East of England.

Easy to get into? Minimum requirements are two, preferably three, years of work experience. Plus degree or equivalent. Interviews where possible.

Association of MBA's accreditation: Yes for full-time, part-time and distance MBAs.

Glittering alumni: Sylvia De Voge, vice president of the Hay Group, Boston; Kinfe Gebremdhin, Ethiopian minister of labour; Clive Dench, joint chief executive, South Humber health authority; Ian Emery, vice president, Chase Manhattan Bank, London; John Cuthbert, managing director, North East Water, Sushil Prakash, vice president, Bank of America, Delhi.

International connections: 60 per cent of full-time MBA students come from abroad. Like other schools, it busts its gut to recruit from overseas. MBA programme executive director David Stoker jets to Mexico City, San Francisco, New York, Washington, Peking, India and Singapore in search of students.

Research: Achieved a 3a (top grade is 5) in the research assessment exercise.

Teaching: Rated satisfactory by the higher education funding council quality boffins.

Student profile: Average age on full-time MBA is 30; on part-time 36; and distance 34. Male/female mix is two-thirds to one-third on full-time MBA; 60:40 on part-time and 70:30 on distance.

Cost: pounds 8,750 for full-time MBA (EU students) or pounds 9,750 (non-EU) and pounds 7,000 for distance MBA, depending on how long you take.

Return on investment: 30 to 40 per cent salary hike and a more interesting job with the chance of a career change.

Who's the boss? Economist Prof Tony Cockerill, expert on single currency and adviser to the BBC on the implications of prudent Gordon Brown's Budget.

Next week: University of Edinburgh Management School.

Lucy Hodges