Chicago Booth to expand footprint in Asia

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business will relocate its Asia Executive MBA Program from Singapore to Hong Kong, in a move to expand and strengthen the school’s presence and influence across the region, while continuing a robust presence in Singapore.

Beginning in 2014, Chicago Booth’s award-winning faculty will begin teaching MBA classes at the new location to corporate and organizational leaders from across Asia, North America and Europe. Other programming, including research, entrepreneurship, remote teaching, custom executive training and alumni events, will expand to Hong Kong, even as activities continue in Singapore.

“Asia is a critical region to University of Chicago faculty, students and alumni, and the University brings its distinctive intellectual approach to the region in many ways,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “By establishing programming in Hong Kong, Chicago Booth takes an important step in this growing engagement.”

“Thanks to the success of our Asia program, Chicago Booth has built great momentum in Southeast Asia and developed a strong alumni base in the region,” said Sunil Kumar, Chicago Booth dean and the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Operations Management. “Expanding into Hong Kong allows us to have impact on future leaders in business and build new corporate relationships in North Asia as well, complementing our activities.”

For 13 years, Chicago Booth has run a successful campus in Singapore that serves as the Asia platform for the school’s Executive MBA Program. The decision to relocate the program follows months-long deliberations and input from the Chicago Booth community and reflects the school’s commitment to broadening its impact on management thought, practice and education across the globe.

The expansion of Chicago Booth into Hong Kong reflects the school’s strategy for Asia as it aims to deepen its global engagement and influence. It will take advantage of and contribute to the University of Chicago’s overall engagement in Asia and expansion of many activities there. It will allow Booth to influence some of the best organizations in some of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The proximity to China, the world’s second-largest economy, is particularly attractive, Kumar said. The University of Chicago opened a Center in Beijing in 2010, which has fostered collaborative work of faculty and students across the full range of the university, with colleagues and institutions in China and beyond.

The Asia Executive MBA Program will be run initially in a temporary location in Hong Kong while the school explores and then builds on a permanent campus site. The Hong Kong government recently granted Booth conditional approval for the Ex-Victoria Road Detention Centre site on Mount Davis, the westernmost hill on Hong Kong Island. A final land grant to Booth via the University of Chicago Foundation in Hong Kong Ltd. is subject to local accreditation, town planning and preservation approval.

Since the Singapore campus opened in 2000, more than 1,000 students have received their MBAs from the Asia Executive MBA program, and nearly 2,000 students from Booth’s London and Chicago campuses have spent time on the Singapore campus. The current Singapore cohorts will continue to attend the Asia program in the historic House of Tan Yeok Nee in Singapore until the current cohorts have graduated.

“We are grateful for the generosity and support of our community and the government in Singapore over the last 13 years,” Kumar said. “We aspire to have a robust, ongoing presence in Singapore, and we are looking at options for continued and new programming in the region.”

Chicago Booth is exploring space options for holding classes and other activities in Singapore after the Asia Executive MBA Program relocates. Potential activities in Singapore include custom executive education, remote teaching, seminars, and alumni and community events. Chicago Booth will continue to support the University of Chicago Financial Math Program, which operates in Singapore.

In Hong Kong, the Asia Executive MBA Program and curriculum will follow the same structure as Booth’s other Executive MBA programs, said Robert Gertner, deputy dean of the Part-Time MBA programs and the Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance. Students from the Asia program interact closely with students in the North American and European programs, spending three weeks together in Chicago and one week in London. Executive MBA students from the other campuses will spend a week studying in Hong Kong.

“All of our courses are taught by Booth’s faculty, who fly to our campuses in Asia and Europe. This approach is unique to Chicago,” Gertner said.

Chicago Booth offers a Full-Time MBA Program, an Evening MBA Program and a Weekend MBA Program, as well as Executive MBA programs in Chicago, London and Singapore. The school also offers a PhD program, open-enrollment executive education and custom corporate education.