U.S. MBA Programs in Asia Draw Students From West

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Almost half of the new class at UCLA's Singapore MBA program are U.S. residents, The Wall Street Journal reports. That's up from 29 percent just three years ago.

"Business students world-wide have become eager to get Asia on their resumes," the Journal says. Thus, while the Asia-based programs were intended to tap demand from Asians and Western expatriates, enrollment is picking up from students who commute "from places as far away as London and Los Angeles."

Acquiring direct knowledge and contacts in Asian business was a key consideration for one Microsoft manager cited in the article. The manager, William Lee, told the Journal he had never visited Asia before the program. Because Lee lives in Nevada and works entirely in the U.S., his UCLA-Singapore program required four trips to Asia over 15 months.

Among U.S. and European institutions offering MBA degrees in Asia are the University of Chicago (in Singapore); Northwestern University (in Hong Kong, as a joint venture with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, or HKUST); UCLA (in partnership with the National University of Singapore); and France's Insead.

Harvard Business School has resisted the trend. An associate dean said Harvard's regular faculty is fully occupied at home, and "it would be difficult to get faculty of the same stature and quality to teach abroad."

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