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A Guide to the Best UK MBA Programs

written by: Dr. Ranee Kaur Banerjee•edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch•updated: 6/30/2010

Reputed, time tested and acclaimed by all ranking authorities, these 3 top MBA programs in the UK have world recognition and will surely accord you the highest respect from recruiters and industry experts across continents.

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    Try the MBA Across the Pond

    Yes, you will command instant respect from HR headhunters and business leaders everywhere you go. But more, you are sure to gain many intangible benefits such as an unforgettable campus experience and the chance to live and learn from the vibrant, multi-cultural environment of universities as old as 800 years if you choose to enroll for one of the three top MBA programs in the UK described here.

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    London Business School Full-time MBA Program

    No. 1 on the Financial Times Global Business School Rankings, the program has a flexible curriculum that allows you to complete your MBA degree in 15, 18 or 21 months according to your own decision and development. Further, you can customize the program to suit your needs. The program gives you the autonomy to choose your coursework according to your career goals and interest areas. You are free to focus on core courses that you need rather than repeating what you’ve already studied before. There are a large number of electives to choose from and you can opt for day, evening, modular or block week slots for your elective classes. You may specialize in one of several areas or choose to keep you study of a subject broad and general instead of focusing on a particular concentration. You are at liberty to choose what to do with your summer vacations: take a holiday, go for a Summer Consulting Programme or join the Entrepreneurship Summer School.

    But such a high degree of flexibility comes at a cost: a whopping 49,900 GBP price tag (upwards of $75,000) for the academic session beginning in August 2010. The fees include full tuition and all text books and reading material but not your living expenses (and London is a very expensive city with an extremely high cost of living: about GBP 1300 or $2000 per month). However, there are several bursaries, scholarships and loans available and students can potentially recover about 15000GBP by the way of internship salaries and project stipends.

    If you want the chance to study and live in a cosmopolitan, multicultural environment; if you want your MBA degree to be a source of great pride and value to you and your career, if you want to gain internship and work experience opportunities in one of the most important business and financial hubs in the world, you couldn’t do better than the London Business School’s full-time MBA program.

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    University of Oxford Said Business School Full-time MBA Program

    Moving just a little north and around 55 miles west of London, we enter one of the world’s top 5 universities according to THE-QS 2009: a university that, incidentally, is over 8 centuries of experience in the teaching business. The University of Oxford Said Business School calls itself “Europe’s youngest and most entrepreneurial business schools” and dedicates itself to “developing a new generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs” and “to conducting research in to the nature of business and the connections between business and the wider world.”1

    Said Business School’s one-year full-time MBA was ranked 16th in the world and 2nd in UK by Financial Times in January 2010. It was adjudged 5th on Forbes’ list of the Top 10 Non-US Business Schools in August 2009. Said’s full-time MBA is offered in 3 three-month terms plus a summer project. Those who want to take the summer months off must complete the MBA in 15 months instead of 12 months. Each term contains 8 weeks of course work, one week of either revision or project presentation and one week of assessment.

    The 3 terms at Oxford University are Michaelmas (October-December), Hilary (January-March) and Trinity (April-June). The MBA program is structured to include lectures, seminars, projects and group work. Course work introduces the theoretical foundation and the projects on entrepreneurship and strategic consulting built into the program provide the practical application of the learned material. Above all, students must write an individual academic thesis in order to complete the program.

    Oxford is a university town and the atmosphere here is electric and completely seeped in traditions that are handed down generations. On the minus side, Oxford is quite expensive in terms of cost of living. The 12 or 15 month full-time MBA at Said for the 2010-2011 session will cost you around GBP 50000 (about $ 75000) inclusive of course fees (GBP33000), college fees (GBP3000), course material and text books (GBP500) and your living expenses (GBP1000 per month).

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    3 Top MBA Programs in UKReputed, time tested and acclaimed by all ranking authorities, these 3 MBA programs have world recognition and will surely accord you the highest respect from recruiters and industry experts across continents. More, you are sure to gain many intangible benefits such as an unforgettable campus experience and the chance to live and learn from the vibrant, multi-cultural environment of Universities as old as 800 years!
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    Cambridge University Judge Business School Full-time MBA Program

    The names Oxford and Cambridge are almost always spoken in the same breath as “Oxbridge” and there is a long history of rivalry between the two towns and universities ever since dissident scholars from Oxford founded Cambridge University more than 750 years ago!

    It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Cambridge University’s Judge Business School gives Oxford’s Said Business School close competition. At about 50 miles, Cambridge is almost equidistant to London as Oxford, only to the North (and a tiny bit eastwards). The city of Cambridge is almost as historic as that of Oxford. In fact, there is very little to choose between the two and the two rival universities are only 43 miles away from each other.

    Like Said’s, Judge Business School’s 12-month full-time MBA program extends to 3 terms (Michaelmas, Lent and Easter) and extends into a list of summer activities that a student can choose from in order to get full credit. These activities can range from an individual project, a dissertation, an advance workshop in negotiation skills or even a language course. Students get the opportunity to work on up to 4 global consulting projects. Judge Business School also hosts the flagship Distinguished Speaker Series of lectures that all its MBA students can attend. The Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, a student run Business Creation Competition now into its 10th year, and Enterprise Tuesdays, a series of free evening lectures offer Judge MBA students ample opportunities to practice what they have learnt and also to create their own networks of associates.

    Again, there is very little to choose from in terms of fees and living costs with the 2010-2011 Judge Business School MBA priced at close to the same amount of GBP 49829 (approximately $ 75000) including course fees (GBP35000), college fees (GBP2229), application fee (GBP 100) course material and text books (GBP500) and your living expenses (GBP1000 per month).

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    And More to Choose From

    After the United States, the United Kingdom is the world’s 2nd biggest provider of MBA education. Apart from the above, there are other full-time MBA programs that are highly acclaimed and have been able to build a formidable brand value. These are the CASS Business School 12-month MBA at the City University in London, the 12-month full-time Strathclyde Business School program, and the12-month full-time Warwick Business School program to name just a few.

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    Endnote:

    1. See the homepage of Said Business School at http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/Pages/default.aspx

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    References

    1. THE-QS as quoted above stands for the Times Higher Education-Quacquerelli Symonds (THE-QS) World University Rankings. THE and QS have recently parted ways and the annual rankings will now be called Times Higher Education World University Rankings in association with Thomson Reuters. Other annual and biannual rankings of repute come from US News & World Report, Good University Ranking Guide-UK, Businessweek, Financial Times and The Economist.

    2. See http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-rankings for the Financial Times rankings quoted above.

    3. London Business School's official website: www.london.edu

    4. Oxford University Said Business School official website: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/Pages/default.aspx

    5. Cambridge University Judge Business School official website: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/