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London’s EMBA market grows despite Brexit fears

Luisa Da Silva’s resume includes numerous achievements, such as an experience of working in Swedish gold mining and Mexican silver mining, as well as Canadian tar sands exploration. However, in about a year there will be one more gold star on her record: she will obtain an EMBA at Warwick Business School.

The main objective for Da Silva upping her education level was to get more qualified and avoid questioning at the executive level of companies. Despite her vast experience in management, she never got any considerable acknowledgment. According to her, everybody continued seeing her as nothing more than just a scientist.

To make her business school choice, Da Silva considered both British and American EMBA programs. Finally, she made the decision to enter Warwick’s weekend EMBA program in London. In spite of the fact that Warwick’s London campus is only two years old, most students chose it as their place of studies. This year only saw 100 out of 180 EMBA students choose the London headquarters.

London as the One and Only British EMBA Hub

Professor John Coley, the Associate Dean for Warwick Business School, is now adamant that most business education will continue to happen in London. Not only Warwick’s data agrees with this statement. For instance, London Business School’s applications have grown by 10% in 2017, and by 18% compared to 2015. According to leadership program executive director Arnold Longboy, the trend will continue. George Yip, Associate Dean for executive programs at Imperial College, EMBA is for now the most lucrative program at the university, although its tuition fee has gone up from £46,000 to £55,000.

Despite vocal concerns voiced by universities due to the fact that Great Britain voted for Brexit in June last year, by now it has yet to affect British business schools applications in any negative way. George Yip believes this fact is due to EMBA students being mostly over 30 and having already decided on a place to live and work in. Even the decrease of the pound which came after the infamous Brexit vote didn’t do any harm to British educational institutions: their tuition fees have subsequently dropped to make education much cheaper than before. Additionally, British managers will also choose the UK more often as the country to obtain their EMBA degree in.

London’s reputation as an international city hasn’t suffered much damage, either: 40% of Warwick EMBA students are nationals from other countries.

New EMBAs Allow Business Schools to Enlarge Campuses

Many famous British universities, such as London Business School, have invested their incomes in extending their campuses by adding new buildings to their facilities. University College London has recently opened a new business school able to take in 1,700 students in the center of London.

One more positive factor for the increase in London EMBAs is the flexibility of EMBA program formats: there are weekend, evening and weekday study plans. Several business schools, such as Imperial College, launched weekend programs, with students readily applying. Cass Business School, also headquartered in London, offers different sets of electives taken either in Dubai or in London.

According to Professor Simon Mercado of ESCP Europe’s London campus, business schools need flexibility to attract new applicants. Only a personalized product can sell well if offered to individual clients.

China’s Business Schools Frustrated at Government Intervention

At the same time, China’s business schools are not doing so well, as the government has again intervened in universities’ affairs. From this year on, EMBA applicants – grown-up people – will have to take the same entry exams as younger would-be MBAs. Consequently, there are much less future EMBAs this year than expected – compared to 10,000 planned, there will be only 2,500 of them. Of course, deans are shocked by this intervention and believe that Chinese businesses will suffer from this.

Another controversial detail of this new regulation is the fact that Peking University and Tsinghua university were permitted to give students their own sets of tests, so they didn’t lose any prospective EMBAs. Other business school deans believe that this move was nothing less than just political. All in all, it may yet prove beneficial for other, non-degree executive programs, but nothing is set in stone yet.

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