A qualification to provide shelter from recession

February 8, 2002

THES reporters find out how enrolments on MBA courses around the world have fared in the face of slowing economies and the aftermath of September 11.

International MBAs would be particularly threatened by a slow-down in global mobility. Three non-Spanish students who enrolled on the University of Chicago Executive MBA at Barcelona explain why they signed up.

Marianne Hosni 's family has been in the textile business in Egypt for 100 years. She joined the business in 1983 after studying maths at the American University in Cairo.

By 1990 Ms Hosni, now 41, was appointed sales and marketing director with eight managers directly reporting to her and overall responsibility for 55 people.

She found the Chicago EMBA programme in Barcelona matched her needs.

"I was keen to join an institution that will help me move the family business into the 21st century by being exposed to and networking with executives from all over the world. Its geographical location, in Barcelona, enables me to study, continue working and take care of my family," she said.

Although not directly affected by the atrocities of September 11, Ms Hosni added: "I believe that we are, as business people, all concerned and that we all have a role to play in the international endeavour to promote peace. I am confident the EMBA programme will provide me with the tools to increase awareness and promote progress towards that end."

Lawyer Jesica Seacor , 34, an American living in Switzerland, manages intellectual property and electronic publishing matters for the International Labour Organisation.

She chose the programme because she can "work full time, attend classes with other professionals working in Europe, learn from Chicago professors, and earn a highly ranked degree that emphasises general management skills".

"I will use this degree to help me advance to a role that requires not just legal, but also business and general management skills.

"I am already applying what I am learning to my current job at a specialised international organisation. Like learning a new language, I am starting to see how terms I used to use superficially or overlooked now have a broader and deeper meaning.

"Especially within the context of a United Nations agency, knowing how these terms are relevant outside the system strengthens my ability to negotiate effective partnerships.

"September 11 has reaffirmed my desire to live and work internationally as an American. Over time, I have found that people will overlook one's nationality and consider one's integrity instead. The opportunity to informally represent my country overseas is both challenging and humbling."

Rodney Gaines , 36. is another American living in Switzerland. He took a first degree in engineering before spending ten years in the global telecommunications industry in Switzerland, Sweden and Malaysia. He returned to Switzerland three years ago.

"I am making use of the time to focus on my studies, explore business opportunities and to pursue philanthropic interests.

"My class and I are pursuing the formation of a charitable foundation - Giving Circle - aimed at creating a structure through which our class and future classes can pool talents, time and finances to leverage focused and charitable giving."

Mr Gaines is confident the qualification will help shelter him from recession. "During the economic downturn, I have the ability to re-tool and emerge with a decided advantage when the world economy will have, hopefully, made full recovery.

"Businesses have a social responsibility in local and global communities."

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