Complete confusion reigns in Stockholm over the future of the School of Economics’ full-time MBA programme, following newspaper reports last weekend that the degree was to be terminated. The programme was launched as recently as 2004.
Lars Bergman, president of SSE, told the FT emphatically that SSE is not terminating the MBA programme but that the programme was being redesigned for the entering class of 2008. This, says Prof Bergman, is to comply with Swedish government rules on how to bring all its higher education programmes in line with EU requirements by 2010 - the deadline for implementation of the Bologna Accord.
According to Prof Bergman, when SSE launched its MBA programme the masters was not an official Swedish degree. Now the Swedish parliament has given the official seal to the masters qualification, ruled that it should be two years length and - most significantly - ruled that business schools and universities will not be able to charge fees for these programmes.
So, SSE is now considering how its MBA programme will fit into this new regime. Because the tuition-free ruling only applies to individual students, Prof Bergman believes SSE’s executive MBA programmes will still be able to charge fees because most of the students are company-sponsored.
The school is also planning to launch a pre-experienced masters degree for those students who have completed an undergraduate degree in subjects other than economics or management - SSE already has a masters programme for those with an undergraduate degree in these areas. The new MSc for those with a range of undergraduate degrees will be launched in 2009, or even as early as 2008.
With the pre-experienced masters degrees and the EMBAs in place, the question for Stockholm will be whether it can attract enough high quality students to fill the MBA programme as well.