LINK International Institute of Management

Age: 19

History: LINK, a non-profit non-state institution, was founded in 1992 during Gorbachev's famous “perestroika” period. It was accredited by the Ministry of Education in 1997 and by AMBA in 2006. LINK is a partner of the Open University's (OU) Business School, and operates through a network of more than 80 regional study centres in Russia and the Baltic states.

Address: The LINK central office is in Zhukovsky, a small town famed for its aviation and scientific research institutes, about 25km from Moscow. Study centres can be found in cities all over the region, from Riga to Vladivostok: but the beauty of the OU partnership is that students can study from home.

Ambience: It depends which programme you opt for: LINK's MBA students will have an undoubtedly Russian experience in everything from tutors to student digs; whereas OU Business School students are taught with British text books by Western tutors.

Vital statistics: LINK's main business is distance-learning postgraduate courses in management. There are three different levels of qualification: certificate, diploma and MBA. Having completed the diploma, students can choose to go on to study the OU MBA (in English) for a further two years, or the LINK MBA (in Russian) for a further one year. Both teach strategy as compulsory and offer a range of elective modules, but whereas the OU programme includes courses on managing knowledge and creativity, innovation and change, the LINK course puts greater emphasis on students learning to manage difference. The institute has more than 350 tutors and recruits around 6,000 students each year.

Added value: The distance learning technology of the OU, adapted for Russia, enables LINK students to obtain top-notch qualifications wherever they are. The OU Business School is triple-accredited (by EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA), and LINK students can transfer at any stage.

Easy to get into? Entrants to the LINK MBA programme must be at least 22, with two years of work experience and a degree behind them. For the OU programme, you'll need to be 25 with four years of management experience.

Gurus: Tutors are current or former practical managers, so students benefit from their real-life experiences.

International connections: The two-way link between Russia and the UK is unique.

Student profile: Most LINK MBA students are 25-34, but OU students can be almost any age.

Cost: The LINK MBA programme price is £5,714; the OU MBA is £9,927.

Who's the boss? Professor Sergey Shchennikov is the head and a specialist in distance-learning methodology.

Prospectus: +7 495 781 26 31;

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