Cass Business School

Age: 44

History: Formerly City University Business School, Cass is the largest European provider of specialist Masters courses in Europe, and is geared to the global financial services industry. The Masters in administrative sciences began in 1967 and became the MBA in 1979, but the institution's roots go back to 1894.

Address: In 2003, the school moved into a £50m purpose-built site near the Barbican on the edge of the City of London.

Ambience: The building has a 200-seat lecture theatre and 12 classrooms that seat 60-80 students and contain the latest audio-visual equipment. There is a "real-time" Bloomberg dealing room and a comprehensive IT suite, with the latest range of business applications. In 2005, Cass opened the Reuters room, enabling students to experiment with real-time scenarios (such as trading) without losing any money.

Vital statistics: The emphasis is combining practice with theory. Given the school's proximity to the Square Mile, Cass has access to senior City practitioners who contribute to programmes as visiting lecturers. The school has 23 specialist Masters programmes, including management finance, real estate and actuarial science.

Added value: Students undertake a business research project, usually at a company of their choice. There are placement opportunities, and MBA students attend an annual international symposium in Shanghai and also participate in a compulsory consultancy trip in an emerging market economy either in Poland, Russia, South Africa or Argentina.

Easy to get into? The minimum requirement is a recognised, relevant degree, a GMAT score of 600 (scores tend to average 640) and three years of business experience upon graduation.

Glittering alumni: Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, chairman of easyJet and founder of easyGroup; Bob Kelly, chairman, president and CEO, The Bank of New York Mellon; Liu Ming-Kang, chairman of Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission; Jeanette Purcell, CEO of the Association of MBAs.

International connections: Links with the Alliance of Management Schools in European Capitals (AMSEC) and EM Lyon, and has undergraduate exchanges with the University of Illinois. Graduates can apply to spend a term at business schools in Europe, the US and Japan. Overseas students make up 70 per cent of the intake, with 25 per cent of these from the EU.

Cost: £31,000.

Return on investment: Enhanced career prospects and a strong alumni network.

Who's the boss? Richard Gillingwater, previously chairman of the Shareholder Executive.

Prospectus: +44 (0)20 7040 8600;