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Three of the world’s most prestigious business schools are joining forces to launch a three-continent undergraduate degree in business. The four-year programme will be launched in 2013 by the Marshall school at the University of Southern California in the US, Bocconi in Italy and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in China.

Although these multi-partner business programmes are proving increasingly popular in the post-graduate market, particularly for Executive MBAs - MBAs for working managers - the new degree will be one of the first targeted towards undergraduate students. The programme will be taught completely in English.

John Matsusaka, Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at the Marshall school of business says the three schools wanted to get ahead of the trend in higher education. “One of the reasons we are doing this is to learn how to do it. We thought, this is the way the world is going.”

The three schools will enrol 45 students on the World Bachelor in Business progress in 2013 and will retain that enrolment figure for five years. “It’s not your usual 18-year old that is going to do this programme,” says Prof Matsusaka. “We’re really trying to get a global mindset at a very young age.”

In the first year participants will study in Los Angeles, in the second year in Hong Kong Kong and in the third year in Milan. Students will then choose where they want to study for the fourth year. “We think they will go back to the country where they want to get a job,” says Prof Matsusaka.

Students will be integrated into the undergraduate community at the three schools, but will also have dedicated classes for their cohort. Although they will have to cover the broad topics of business on all three locations, each school will play to its strengths - the Marshall school in communications, for example, and Bocconi in statistically-based topics.

All students will have to conduct a video interview to be considered for the programme as well as satisfying the entry requirements of all three schools. As to fees, they will pay the standard undergraduate fee for the school at which they are studying. This will make the first year at USC the most expensive - the first year will cost more than $43,000.




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