Over the course of its 106 years, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business has produced more Nobel Prize-winning faculty members than any other business school. In 1943 it inaugurated the first Executive MBA (EMBA) programme in the world, offering professional training for senior managers, and Chicago GSB now ranks as one of the top business schools in the United States.
In 1994 Chicago founded a new campus in Barcelona, followed six years later by a campus in Singapore - making it the first business school with a permanent campus on three continents.
"We felt it was important for the business school to establish a global presence," explains Glenn Sykes, managing director of the Europe Campus, in Barcelona. "A permanent campus we believed was the only way to ensure that all our students received the same high quality of education as in Chicago, not a watered-down version."
To maintain standards, the Chicago business school flies its staff out to Barcelona, and to Singapore, to teach economics, finance, marketing and other business fundamentals to students on the part-time EMBA programme. Students at the Europe campus attend 16 week-long sessions, spaced over 21 months, including two weeks in Chicago and one week in Singapore. Twenty-five per cent of course time is spent with their peers from the other two campuses, "providing an international experience rooted exclusively in Chicago GSB methodology," says Sykes.
The content of the course is essentially the same, no matter which continent you are studying in: "Our educational philosophy is that there are some fundamental truths about business, regardless of national boundaries, or politics, so we can teach these things around the world. What differs is how these fundamentals may be applied, and how they operate in different markets," says Sykes.
But if the course stays the same on each campus, the clientele is far more varied. The Europe campus attracts, predictably, mainly Europeans, as well as students from Africa, Asia, Canada and the US. Taught in English, the current EMBA programme represents 23 nationalities.
More than 600 executives have graduated from the Europe campus since its inception. The majority of them are international senior managers, with an average age of 35 and 10 years' work experience, but a few come from backgrounds such as law, medicine, architecture and engineering.
"Our students are people with significant experience behind them, and a promising future," says Sykes. They can expect to be worked very hard at the Europe campus, but not so hard that there is no time to enjoy Barcelona. "The city is very rich in terms of culture and entertainment," enthuses Sykes. "But no one needs to sell Barcelona: it sells itself."Reuse content