Open University Business School

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The Independent Online

Age: 28

History: MBAs at the Open University Business School began in 1989, and now more than 20,000 people have earned one. The school was founded in 1983 and is the market leader in distance-learning.

Address: The main campus for the Open University is at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes. However, there are 13 regional centres and 350 study and tutorial centres nationally. Students study at home or at work at their own pace with access to tutors via the regional centres, e-mail, online forums and the telephone.

Ambience: The Open University has one of the most diverse student communities with students between the ages of 13 and 99 and more than 11,000 students with disabilities.

Vital statistics: It offers a broad spectrum of qualifications, with courses ranging from undergraduate certificates, foundation and honours degrees to the well-established MBA programme. In total, 75 per cent of FTSE 100 companies sponsor staff on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Added value: Not only does the school help individuals study for degrees and other qualifications but it also works equally with SMEs and FTSE 100 companies designing courses and learning programmes that address specific challenges in a business. Short, online courses are also available in business and management, computing and technology, updating teaching practices, the food industry, professional skills and travel planning.

Easy to get into? Widening access and participation in higher education is at the heart of the Open University's mission. It is working to increase the levels of participation and attainment of students from under-represented groups, such as from disadvantaged communities. There are no educational prerequisites, except for the MBA, which requires a degree or equivalent, and management experience.

Glittering alumni: Bart Knols, AMBA student of the year 2007; Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge; Lieutenant Commander Phil Parvin of the Royal Navy, AMBA student of the year 2002.

International connections: 22,501 (54 per cent) of the Open University Business School's student population are outside the UK.

Student profile: Almost 40 per cent of Business School students are aged between 25 and 34.

Cost: Between £3,500 and £4,500 for a degree and between £12,000 and £14,600 for an MBA.

Return on investment: Recent graduates boast greater self-confidence and transferable skills.

Who's the boss? Professor James Fleck is both the dean and professor of innovation dynamics.

Prospectus: +44 (0)8700 100311;;