Smart moves: The A-Z of Business Schools - Kingston Business School

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Age: 25

History: Set up to provide business education in the South East primarily through first degrees in the subject. MBA established in 1984 when Kingston was still a polytechnic.

Address: On the university's Kingston Hill campus next to deer-infested Richmond Park.

Ambience: Leafy, white-washed charm combined with new, high-tech buildings. Pleasant wooded site an hour away from Central London. Has expanded hugely via new buildings costing pounds 12m to pounds 15m and now has a new library, new computers and new teaching facilities.

Vital statistics: As a former poly, it still serves its local area and is the major centre for business education in Surrey and South London. But its location on the outskirts of London and its reputation as one of the best known of the new universities means it can tap a big student market and good staff. Indeed, it is beginning to see itself as a global player. Unusual in offering only a part-time MBA delivered in two formats: either part-time or open learning. Part-time means you study two evenings a week during university terms. Open learning means you study one weekend a month following a one-week introductory block. Has 120 places on its MBA and 90 full-time staff.

Added value: Situated between Gatwick and Heathrow, it's ideally positioned for businesspersons on the move. They actually do jet in from Europe - Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany - as well as from Australasia and America for the open learning MBA. After the OU, it's one of the largest producers of open learning texts.

Easy to get into? Degree or equivalent plus five years' management experience. And you need to be over 26.

Association of MBA's accreditation: Yes.

Glittering alumni: John Rice, director of community and environment, Medway council; Diane Ashton-Jeannes, information systems and services manager, Legal & General; Fiona Czerniawska, managing director, Arke Ideas; George Gray, managing director and head of portfolio trading at Warburgs; Nigel Dakin, first secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Terry Sargeant, managing director, KME UK Ltd.

International connections: Big Greek connection. It has more than 1,000 Greek students, of whom 200-300 are post-graduates. Also Moscow connection where the MBA is funded by the British Council, the Lady Thatcher Foundation, George Soros (above) and the Rothschilds. Staff are flown to Moscow to deliver the course. Plus collaboration with Haarlem business school in the Netherlands.

Research: Awarded a 3b (top grade is 5) in the 1996 research assessment exercise.

Teaching: Rated excellent by higher education funding council.

Student profile: Average age is 35; male/female ratio is 75:25.

Cost: pounds 9,000 for two-year course.

Return on investment: Sixty per cent of students receive pay hikes and promotion while on the course.

Who's the boss? Market researcher Professor David Miles. He has done a large amount of consultancy work for the British Council in - guess where? - Greece. More colourful than your average business school dean. In his youth he was a Labour councillor in Westminster and once even tried for Parliament.

Next week: The Management School, Lancaster University.