The MBA’s new dawn

East's brightest and best opt for study closer to home

The balance of world economic power is shifting east, and the potential impact on business education is huge. Though the Graduate Management Admissions Council reports that candidates from Asia Pacific make up 57% of the applicant pool to U.S. two-year M.B.A. programs, the heavy flow of applicants to schools in Europe and North America may drop off as the East's brightest and best opt for study closer to home, and case studies about Asian companies become more relevant than those about their Western peers.

Which raises the question whether the balance of world intellectual power may also be shifting. And whether the future business school of choice may not be in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania or Barcelona but in Shanghai, Hyderabd or Singapore.

As reflected in the media business school rankings, the Asian M.B.A. is on the rise. In 2011 there are eight schools that feature in the top 100 business school rankings of the Financial Times, up from only three schools four years ago. The likes of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), the Indian School of Business (ISB), China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and Singapore's Nanyang and National University of Singapore (NUS) and are fast on the heels of the top M.B.A. programs of North America and Europe for a position at the top table. It is a little over one hundred years since the Harvard Business School began its M.B.A. program - are we set to see a comparable Asian champion in the next ten?

Demand is certainly on the rise. Score reports for the GMAT, the Graduate Management Admissions Test used by business schools as part of the candidate selection process, indicate that in the past five years the number of applicants from China, India, Hong Kong and Singapore sending their test scores to schools in these countries has increased by an impressive 229%...

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