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Executive Education: Ask the expert

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Steve Haberman

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Executive Education

Do you have a question about MBAs or another aspect of executive education? Each week Steve Haberman, Deputy Dean and Professor of Actuarial Science at London's Cass Business School, answers a query from an Executive Education reader. Click here to e-mail us.

Q. What sort of impact will the Bologna Accord have on European business education?

A. The Bologna Accord will mean different things to different schools depending on their position in the marketplace, but it will have very significant implications for business education throughout Europe, the UK and the rest of the world.

The structure and timing of degrees is to be harmonized across 41 countries in Europe, with Bachelors degrees taking 3 years to complete and Masters degrees taking 1 or 2 years to complete. As Europe prides itself on high standards in teaching and learning at all stages, the prime objective for many countries will be the preservation of quality in degree courses that will be shorter in length.

Along with the creation of a common quality assurance system, Europe is likely to see a massive increase in students crossing borders to study business, which will also have social and employment implications.

The number and variety of courses is expected to expand -- a recent expert report estimates that there will be 12,000 new degrees on offer in management education alone.

A key question is how quickly student mobility will increase, with students considering a change of subject, university and country when, on completing their first degree, they make the switch to Masters. A further change is that more postgraduate qualifications across Europe will be taught in English, a trend that, in fact, has already begun.

These changes will present challenges to employers, who will be faced with cohorts of students thinking of entering the job market after their bachelors degrees, which will now be shorter than previously. Similarly, in some countries, employers will need to adjust to students seeking employment after their masters qualifications.

Clearly, there will need to be good communication between business schools and employers to ensure that the needs of employers, in terms of the knowledge and skills acquired by graduates, for example, are reflected in the new curricula..

In some respects UK business schools have a slight advantage in that it appears that the rest of Europe, and possibly the rest of the world, will be falling in line with the UK model. However, the UK cannot afford to be complacent as access to new markets will mean increased competition, particularly in masters programs.

Ask a question:

Please e-mail us. Please note that Professor Haberman can only answer one question a week and is unable to deal with queries not chosen for the Executive Education site.

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