If you had to name the most obvious global locations to set up a business school the names that would roll off most tongues would be pretty familiar: London, New York, Paris, Tokyo. Pretty far down this list would come Rotterdam, Monterrey or Chapel Hill.
The OneMBA is a global executive MBA which is made up of five partner schools from five very diverse cities; Hong Kong, São Paulo, Rotterdam, Monterrey and Chapel Hill.
But these locations actually make perfect sense.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is located in a city that needs no introduction. Hong Kong is a major economic player, a financial juggernaut dependent on international trade and its ever-growing ties with mainland China.
Fundação Getulio Vargas is located in São Paulo, Brazil whose economy outweighs that of all other South American countries. Brazil is expanding its international exposure and as one of the BRIC nations presents many financial opportunities where the rest of the world is in recession.
Rotterdam’s School of Management at Erasmus University gives insight into European business. Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and the largest and most important port in Europe, granting the city the title “the Gateway to Europe”.
EGADE is the Graduate School of Business at Monterrey Tech, Monterrey is the capital city of the Northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo León. The city is a commercial centre and the base of many international corporations such as Sony, Toshiba, Whirlpool, Nokia, Boeing and General Electric.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home to the Kenan-Flagler Business School is close to Washington D.C so a great location for all those Whitehouse Wannabees who are fitting an EMBA around their busy schedules. Over the past 20 years North Carolina has made the transition from a traditional economy based on tobacco to a global economy driven by knowledge-based enterprises including Cisco, Dell, Bank of America and branches of Google, Microsoft.
If you apply to the OneMBA you apply to the most conveneient OneMBA partner school for you and then attend monthly class sessions on its campus. However, if your job requires you to move away you can transfer your partner school without interruption.
I spoke to a few OneMBA alumni about their experiences:
Alexander Pierrou - attended the OneMBA in Rotterdam. Alexander is originally from Sweden and graduated from OneMBA in 2009, he is the Business Leader of Philips TV, Marketing Director of Philips Consumer Lifestyle and Head of Consumer Marketing Intelligence in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay
"The OneMBA has made me more open minded. Studying in different cultures has improved my creativity when it comes to problem solving and it has also made me more aware of the ethical nuances in problem solving that depend on the way people perceive right or wrong, fair or unfair etc. Latin America is a region full of surprises where your environment is constantly changing. The OneMBA did prepare me well for dealing with ambiguity and change. I also really enjoyed the strategic life planning offered at the OneMBA. These courses really made me understand what drives and motivates me in the longer run."
"The mix of nationalities not only in terms of students but also in terms of professors, guest speakers and real international exposure with the global residencies. The mix between India, China on one hand, US and Netherlands on the other and Brazil and Mexico provides such a big spectrum of nuances which I could not find in any other MBA program. We also did part of our course in Turkey which was a very interesting experience on top of the other residencies. It is difficult to become better prepared for a global management role than through the OneMBA."
Guilherme Gatti - attended the OneMBA in São Paulo. He graduated from the program in 2006. Before the OneMBA Guilherme worked as Director of Marketing for FedEx Latin America, based in Sao Paulo. After the MBA he became FedEx's Director of Brand and Marketing for the Division, based in Miami.
"The OneMBA has helped me to develop a global vision of business and also to learn how to work with far-flung teams from different cultures and time zones. It also helped me further improve my networking and communications skills and become more effective in planning and executing global programs."
"We have analyzed international operations of multinationals and developed strategies that overlooked corporations as a one global unit, instead of independent parts. That changed the amplitude of the vision I had of business, from parochial to truly global."
Frans Tjallingii - attended the OneMBA in Rotterdam. He graduated from the program in 2004. Before the OneMBA Frans negotiated treaties for Dutch government. After the MBA he moved to SMIT Marine, a shipping concern. Worked in West Africa and now Canada.
"OneMBA made it possible to change my career path into business management. One of the practical examples that I was able to work on for my employer was the sale of a business activity. This included the strategic evaluation, financial evaluation (determining a sale value), negotiation and sale of the business. Without the knowledge of OneMBA I would not have been able to do this."
"I chose the OneMBA Because of its clear global outreach and the level of the fellow students that I had the privilege of enrolling with. The one week immersion courses in different locations provided a lot of insight of what is possible in the global economy and which pitfalls exist in global business. My fellow students where all high level managers with great experiences that they shared in the classroom. I’d say the interaction between students is a very big contributor to learning in the OneMBA programme."
What advice do they have for others considering the OneMBA? "Identify what you are looking for in an MBA. I believe OneMBA focuses on the international aspects and is maybe a bit more strategy and operations oriented than some of the other MBA’s. The modular format works very well for people that travel a lot and who can plan their travel. In addition I’d always look at the enrollment: who will you share the learning experience with?"
Find out more about the programme which was ranked 26th in the world by The Financial Times in 2011 at OneMBA
Compare b-school rankings from the FT, BusinessWeek and Economist on the MBA rankings table