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The University of Chicago is to move its European campus from Barcelona to London in August this year. The move will pitch Chicago against London Business School in the market for executive MBAs – MBAs for working managers,.

Chicago’s European campus is used primarily as one of the three sites for the Chicago executive MBA programme – the other two are Chicago itself and Singapore. But if the school was simply thinking about the EMBA programme, there would have been no reason to move, says Ted Snyder, Chicago dean. “We view Barcelona as a big success.”

The decision to move, he says, was a strategic one. “If you look at it from the perspective of the school as a whole, it [the move] is compelling,” he says.

London is the third most important city for Chicago alumni, after New York and Chicago and the majority of Chicago’s corporate partners have headquarters in London, says Prof Snyder. The faculty will also want to spend more time in London than in Barcelona, he says, which will add to the learning at the school. “Barcelona doesn’t have that research dimension,” he says. There is the bonus of a direct flight between Chicago and London.

Also, Chicago will hope to run executive short programmes in the City. The school already has an alliance with the Spanish school Instituto de Empresa, to run short courses in Spain. This relationship will continue, says Prof Snyder, though the Spanish campus will probably be sold.

The move will not be cheap. The opening of the facility will add €1m to the operating costs of the school.

The campus itself will be in the City of London, just 10 minutes walk from St Paul’s Cathedral. Chicago is leasing the first floor of a multi-tenanted building. The school will have 25,000 sq ft of space.

Prof Snyder believes the location will attract a different set of students to the EMBA programme. He believes that in future between 40 and 50 per cent of the 80 participants on the European branch of the programme will be working in London and “will reflect London’s diversity in the business community.”

He hopes the campus will be open for the incoming EMBA class in August.

There may be one disadvantage to moving to London, though. As Prof Snyder puts it. “We’re not moving to London because of the weather.”


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