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The dwindling relevance of Europe as a graduate destination is one of the reasons for the launch of a four-year bachelor’s programme awarded by three universities on three different continents.
Bocconi University in Milan, the University of Southern California and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology collectively have created the world bachelor in business degree, which will accept an initial cohort of 45 students for entry in 2013-14.
Stefano Caselli, Bocconi’s vice-rector for international affairs, told Times Higher Education that an increasing number of the university’s graduates were looking to Asia and Brazil for work, making it ever more crucial to offer its students international experience.
“Europe is a good location but it’s up and down [economically]. Other areas are becoming more and more important,” he said.
There have been other double- or triple-accredited courses before, but this is thought to be the first time a full BA has been run and awarded by three institutions, Professor Caselli said.
Graduates, who would be awarded a degree by each one of the universities, would enjoy a “competitive advantage”, he said.
For example, it would make it easier for them to enter the US or Hong Kong job market without having to be transferred there while working for a European-based company, he argued.
Universities were increasingly designing their degrees as a “puzzle of different experiences” rather than a single programme in one location, Professor Caselli added.
Students spend a year at each of the universities before picking one in which to complete their course.
Tuition fees and accommodation costs for the first three years will set students back the equivalent of £75,400. About 170 applications have been received so far for the 15 places that Bocconi awards, the vice-rector said.
The university, which boasts Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti as an alumnus, runs 19 joint degree programmes with other European institutions and opened a campus in Mumbai last October.