LBS to turn out finance Masters

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LONDON Business School has long been a strong adherent of the US-style two-year MBA, writes Roger Trapp. So it seems surprising that it is launching a nine-month Masters degree programme in finance.

However, the programme director, Paul Marsh, does not see a conflict. The school still believes that students cannot pick up sufficient breadth to obtain a proper MBA qualification in a year. However, in-depth mastery of a single, albeit complex area can be acquired in a single year. Indeed, one in six of the applicants already accepted for the course starting in October holds a one-year MBA and is looking for greater knowledge in a particular area.

LBS believes it is on to a winner because of the success of the part-time course launched last year. This programme, taught mainly in the evenings to participants working in the London area, accepted 51 people - despite the initial target of 40 - because of the volume and quality of applicants.

Most of the part-time students are already working in finance, but the school expects the full-timers to have a wider range of experience as well as a greater range of nationalities. They will also be younger - averaging about 27, against 30 for the part-time course - but at least 23, because of the work experience requirement.

To obtain the M Sc in finance, students have to complete 10 course units, including four compulsory ones and an individual project that will count as two. The remaining four may be chosen from such areas as international finance management, options and futures, and mergers and buyouts.

Professor Marsh, who holds the school's chair in management and finance, feels London's position as a pre-eminent international financial centre, combined with the school's array of academic names, will prove a draw for students. He also hopes the programme will attract additional top-level teaching staff.

While he believes this is one of the few specialist finance courses available in the world, he expects other institutions to follow suit in the next decade.