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'MBA Alternative' Takes Students To Emerging Markets, Beijing And Bangalore

LSE's unique master’s program takes a unique international approach

After taking charge of global corporate social responsibility (CSR) at a leading computer software developer, Rebecca Miller struggled to find a part-time MBA program which was classroom-based, but taught through an international lens.

The London School of Economics’ (LSE) Executive Global Master's in Management (EGMiM) – dubbed the alternative to the traditional MBA – stood out. Every year, EGMiM students enjoy trips to Beijing in China and Bangalore in India to learn more about foreign direct investment, and marketing and entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

Rebecca manages a portfolio of global CSR programs in both China and India, but had not visited the countries before joining LSE.

“The China and India modules were the highlight of the program,” she says. “The trips enabled me to better understand the context in which my own programs operate, and I became more attuned to cultural nuances and the need to localize certain components.

“Not only did the learnings directly translate into program improvements, but they also helped me identify the type of work I want to pursue.”

The only program of its kind, LSE’s 17-month EGMiM consists of seven one-to-two-week modules; five taken in London, two internationally.

In Beijing, EGMiM students visit both multinational firms operating in China and leading Chinese companies operating on a global scale. Last year’s class networked with senior execs at Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas and Chinese Fortune 500 tech firm Lenovo.

In Bangalore, students are immersed in the business culture of a thriving tech startup hub. On both trips, students are exposed to the opportunities and challenges that real organizations face.

Experienced EGMiM student Arnie Purushotham is professor of breast cancer at King’s College London, clinical academic lead for cancer at King’s Health Partners, and director of King’s Health Partners $200 million cancer center.

As part of his work there, he promotes health and prevention of cancer in emerging economies, developing research and education partnerships with regional cancer centers in his native India.

“We are building our marketing strategy based on what I learnt at LSE, and on the India module,” he says.

“You can learn the theory in the classroom, but there’s nothing like going out there and embedding yourself in the country, its culture, its people, and the way people do business,” he continues. “The EGMiM has changed the way I conduct business on a day-to-day basis.”

In Bangalore, Arnie worked on a research assignment for LinkedIn, who have struggled to break into the lucrative Indian market. He graduates from LSE’s EGMiM in March. After twenty years in healthcare, he’s profited from hands-on international business experiences across a variety of sectors.

“I can now function in different global environments more effectively,” he says. “Knowing that I’ve been there, done it, and got the academic, theoretical basis behind it.

“Since completing my studies, I’ve had several interesting job offerings which are directly linked to the overseas work that I currently do.”

Arnie looked at London Business School, Cambridge Judge, Oxford Saïd, and even INSEAD, in search of an executive management program. While many schools offer international modules in global financial hubs or Silicon Valley in the US, LSE’s focus on emerging markets captured his imagination.

For Saul Estrin, director of LSE’s EGMiM, an emphasis on emerging markets is emblematic of a forward-looking school.

“Emerging markets continue to represent the primary areas for future market growth for most firms,” he says.

“China is the world’s global emerging market super power, a global center of manufacturing, logistics, supply management and international trade. Bangalore represents the center of India’s remarkable high technology sector, which is beginning to leapfrog the West,” he continues.

“Learning how to differentiate customers in such an environment will be a key skill for future business leaders.”

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