Trium Global executive MBA is a tale of three cities. New York University Stern School of Business, London School of Economics and Political Science and HEC School of Management in Paris launched the joint programme in September 2001.

Trium Global executive MBA is a tale of three cities. New York University Stern School of Business, London School of Economics and Political Science and HEC School of Management in Paris launched the joint programme in September 2001.

The three institutions had long-standing ties in areas such as joint research, and visiting faculty from the three schools had been discussing the idea of a global MBA for some time.

"One of the things that struck us was that to be a truly global brand in business education requires more than just flying American business professors across the Atlantic," says Rosemary Mathewson, Stern Associate Dean, Executive Programs.

"There were enough similarities that we understood one another and enough differences that we could make an interesting programme," she says. "You know, every once in a while that transatlantic stuff really works."

Typically, Trium students are about 40 years old and come from a broad range of industries. Each class has between 40 and 50 students from over 30 nationalities. They are senior level managers who can only afford to be out of the office for 10 weeks spread over a 16-month period.

The programme is divided into six intensive residential modules. Stern hosts two modules of a fortnight each, and LSE and HEC host one two-week module each. Each year, Trium chooses two other centres for the remaining one-week modules based on their relevance to current global business issues. So far, these countries have been Brazil and China.

Students live in their own countries between modules and are expected to put in 10 to 15 hours a week. Most of this is web-based, but there is also the usual reading, papers and case studies to get through. The final strategic term project, which is completed in groups of four or five, is seen as the "capstone" of the whole programme.

Trium is unusual in that the partnership includes LSE, which is not a business school. But it believes this emphasis on social, political and economic sciences gives it the edge over other global MBAs. Stern provides the finance and accounting expertise and HEC specialises in international management.

The three institutions also believe that their reputation at home gives them considerable pulling power when it comes to attracting big-name guest speakers. These have included Daniel Bernard, CEO of retailer Carrefour in France. Alan Greenberg, Chairman, Executive Committee and Former CEO of Bear Stearns is due to speak to Trium in New York.

At $111,300 (£61,800) for tuition, meals, lodging, books and material, Trium isn't cheap. But Mathewson says both students and employees see an immediate return on their investment. The growing number of MBAs who decide to pay their own way can expect a "significant" increase in their salary and career prospects. Mathewson adds that students start "adding value" at work as soon as they enrol on their MBA, not just after they've graduated.

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