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The globe-trotting MBA

By Peter Walker for CNN
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(CNN) -- The modern maxim that business is a global affair is one repeated endlessly in management schools. Now students can study for an MBA that practices what it preaches.

MBAs with an international perspective are nothing new, but the one-year MBA in Global Entrepreneurship offered by the San Diego State University College of Business Administration (SDSU CBA), which takes its first intake in fall 2007, is a step further.

Students begin with six weeks in San Diego before departing for 12-week blocks at partner universities in China, India and the Middle East, before finishing up at San Diego again.

At the partner institutions -- the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow, the University of Hyderabad, United Arab Emirates Higher Colleges of Technology, American University of Beirut and universities still to be confirmed in China -- students form relationships with local peers also taking MBAs.

The eventual result, SDSU CBA hopes, will be "a global network of business contacts" for every student.

"This program is the wave of the MBA future," boasted SDSU CBA Dean Gail Naughton as the program was launched.

"By bringing together key growth industries and universities located in emerging countries, along with industry leaders who will share best practices in globalization, we will give our students the knowledge and skills to effectively conduct business in the global arena."

Industry links

The university has signed up corporate partners including IT behemoths Microsoft and Intel, and accountancy and consulting giant KPMG to give students real-world experiences of how their companies operate in different countries.

Corporate partner executives will give lectures on cross-cultural business, which students then see in action on visits to local operations centers.

"We believe that it is important for leaders to have a global perspective and an understanding about how to operate in the global marketplace," said Irwin Mark Jacobs, chairman of IT firm QUALCOMM, another corporate partner.

Each of the partner companies has operations in the countries where students will travel. At the end of the MBA, participants will work with executives from the industry of their choice on a current business problem.

This global experience is vital in the modern business era, according to Leonard Lavin, chairman of hair care giant Alberto-Culver and SDSU CBA's 'Entrepreneur-in-Residence.'

"When my company began expanding into international markets, it became clear that what worked for our brands in the U.S. was not necessarily going to work everywhere," he said.

"It quickly became important for our executives to understand how specific brands within our consumer products line crossed cultural boundaries. They needed to know how local business is conducted in whatever region they were penetrating and, generally, how international markets responded differently.

"An entrepreneurial focus is one of the keys to success in our company and this is particularly true in international situations where the ability to spot market opportunities and respond to them quickly is key."

He added: "It takes time immersed in the culture, working side by side with those who understand the market, to gain that level of understanding."


Leaving on a jet plane: Students will travel the globe.


FT's Executive MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Hong Kong UST, China
3. London Business School, UK
4. Instituto de Empresa, Spain
5. Fuqua, Duke, U.S.
6. Chicago GSB, U.S.
7. Columbia, U.S.
8. Kellogg, U.S.
9. Stern, NY, U.S.
10. Cass, City University, UK
Source: Financial Times 2006



Executives taking the top EMBA courses in the U.S., Europe and Asia have average salaries of around $130,000 to $200,000.

A typical EMBA student is likely to be aged in the early 30s, with 6-10 years of working experience.

A top EMBA course can cost $100,000. Customized courses start at a few thousand dollars.


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