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Despite Brexit, UK Business School Education Is Booming

Applications from overseas MBA candidates are surging

Mon Oct 30 2017

BusinessBecause
When Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016, those in the business school market stoked fears of a mass exodus of overseas student and teaching talent, weakened graduate job prospects as firms potentially moved headquarters elsewhere and the visa regime tightened, and a loss of EU funding for research which informs the tuition of degree programs. 

In fact, Brexit has done little to dampen demand for the top MBA courses in the UK, new data suggest. At London Business School applications to the MBA are up 15% year-on-year, says Gareth Howells, executive director of the program. At Imperial College Business School, applications to all courses are up, some of them by more than 50%, claims its dean, Francisco Veloso.

When asked about the impact of Brexit, Cass Business School’s head of recruitment and admissions, Balbir Guru, said: “We have seen a positive impact on the level of diversity in the classroom. Applications from international students for the Full-time MBA have increased year-on-year post-referendum.” 

And it is not just the London schools reporting application growth. Nottingham Business School notes a 25% increase in interest from international students. Overall, two-thirds of MBA programs in the UK grew their number of applications from international applicants last year, said the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

One plausible explanation is the fall in the value of the pound since the UK’s EU referendum, making it cheaper to study courses priced in sterling, has made UK schools more attractive. “A fall in the pound has made the UK an even more enticing option compared with alternative study destinations,” Francisco wrote in the Financial Times recently.

“International students can obtain an MBA degree from a prestigious British business school for a much lower price than before, especially when compared with US peer institutions.”

UK business schools may also be riding on the coattails of a broader trend away from US MBA programs to European ones. There is growing pressure to complete courses more quickly and thus spend less money and time out of work. MBAs in Europe can generally be completed 50% more quickly than in the US. “Non-US programs are thriving,” says Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president, with applications to US schools conversely falling for three years on the trot. 

Many UK schools are, of course, exceptionally well-regarded institutions, ranked highly in multiple league tables and with a reputation for teaching excellence and good career prospects. As Helen Foley, senior manager of visa compliance at LBS, says: “People who apply to LBS aren’t deterred by paperwork or the visa application process. They’re interested in enhancing their education and gaining experience at a top business school.”

Olly Nguyen, president of the LBS Student Association, says students are unsettled by Brexit, but they also recognize the advantage of obtaining an international network in London, a commercial hub. “Global careers will still exist,” he says. Recent announcements that large employers including Amazon will open new offices in London and hire more UK staff are encouraging. 

There are other signs of growth in the UK business education market. University College London (UCL), one of the UK’s top universities, recently opened a school of management in the UK capital. King’s College London, meanwhile, this year will officially launch a business school with a London campus. 

This rather rosy picture runs contrary to another narrative: Brexit has made the UK less attractive to overseas students. A recent survey by 1,500 business school students of 85 nationalities by CarringtonCrisp found that 28% of them were less likely to consider studying in the UK following Brexit. Another survey last year by the Chartered Association of Business Schools found that around 45% of UK business schools expect to see a decline in EU student applications because of Brexit.

We have been here before. The UK scrapped a post-study work visa in 2012 which allowed international students to stay in the country for up to two years while they searched for jobs. That legislative move was widely blamed for a dramatic fall in Indian candidates applying to places at UK universities. “We noticed a big drop off [in applications] in certain parts of the world,” admits Alexander Pepper, a management professor at the London School of Economics. 

But on the whole, it would seem that applications from overseas business school candidates have recovered, and are in some cases surging.  

Most UK business schools have taken steps to reaffirm their commitment to the internationality that is the hallmark of their programs. Foley says that LBS is offering support to students for visa applications through webinars and other information sessions. 

Other schools say that making their programs more flexible, with a range of study formats and customizable lengths, is attracting more international students. 

Andrew Crisp, a business school branding expert, advises lobbying collectively for changes to visa regulations, and emphasising unique strengths in school marketing material, such as a positive lifestyle or economy associated with their location. 

Olly at LBS is optimistic: “There have been lots of historic crises; life goes on,” he says.

Student Reviews

Bayes Business School

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Best Journalism school in Europe

When I first stepped onto the campus of City, University of London, I knew I was in for a ride - and not just on the Tube! With its vibrant energy and an impressive repertoire of programs, City U became my home away from home. The Journalism program was kind of a big deal. Rumour was that we were the best in Europe! The lecturers were not just experts in their field; they’re practically journalistic royalty. They were invested, passionate, and had a knack for turning the most flat press release into a riveting news story. With their guidance, I’ve learned to navigate the chaotic world of media like a pro. The campus was a melting pot of every culture, being that we had such a diverse international crowd. Being in the heart of London, I had the world at my fingertips - there was always a new corner to explore, a hidden gem of a cafe to discover, or a street performer! City, University of London wasn't just a university; it was a chapter in my life story that I’ll never forget.

Lydia

Verified

23/02/2023

On Campus

Learning environment

The teacher-learner ration is manageable, giving each learner a chance to gain personal attention. It is also easier following up on the progress of a student, as the numbers per class is not large. the conducive environment for learning includes clean classes, standard desks, world class instructional facilities and the opportunity to engage lecturers even after their sessions. The team spirit at City is above board, with learners getting chance to learn both from instructors and colleagues. This is the university of choice; the place to be.

Nathaniel

Verified

24/01/2023

On Campus

Classes

I liked that each class had a manageable number of learners, making the professor-learner ratio favor knowledge acquisition. I also liked that study schedules were manageable, and not overwhelming. The focus on talents and gifts even within the learning environment makes it possible for learners to achieve the best of their potential, and this has worked to the advantage of those that have schooled at City, University of London

Muhammad

Verified

24/01/2023

On Campus

Classes

The diversity at City University facilitates interactions and is a direction toward the unity of the world. The classes are well built to match the number and needs of all students regardless of the elements of diversity that set people apart. The use of technology in delivery makes learning even more interesting and achievable. At City University there is no distinction pegged on the issues that make people unique.

Dorah

Verified

23/01/2023

On Campus

professors

The team of lecturers at the Uiversity are well experienced. Their level of insight and the methodologies of delivery works for the interes of the leaeners. My learning experience was largely boosted by the level of knowledge of the professors at the institution, and their passion to transfer the same to learners. I appreciate every class I attended because of the level of insight I was able to gather

Nora

Verified

17/12/2022

On Campus

The best university I’ve been to

The campus and the people I've met have made it a wonderful experience. I was reared in a small town with a graduating class of only 88 individuals, so moving to City University was a huge adjustment for me. My dorm has more residents than my whole high school combined! I enjoy the atmosphere here, and everyone is so friendly. Outstanding academic options and a stunning campus. Really great from beginning to end. The educators genuinely love what they do, and the students are ready to learn. On or around college, there is always something to do with friends, and the social scene is particularly warm.

Antonia

Verified

21/11/2022

On Campus

Bayes Business School

As a student at City university attending Bayes Business School I would totally recommend choosing this university as the experience is exceptional with great social networking opportunities . Professors are significantly helpful, delivering with excellence and professionalism. Everyone is happy to help and make you feel welcomed in such an esteem university as City, offering exceptional development and guidance through out the course.

Muhammad

Verified

15/11/2022

On Campus

Economics and Politics

Incredibly amazing university, the way they polish students and help them boost their morale and think intellectually is worthwhile. Many universities have international partnerships to allow exchanges between their students. The most obvious subjects for these opportunities would be those that involve languages, and the study of people and places.

Navya

Verified

11/11/2022

On Campus

Clinical biology

I really like it it’s perfect for me with not too many people and not too few either. All the modules are amazing. I love the toy bar. I love all the societies that I’ma part of. Especially the colour Bollywood society

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