University of Leicester MBA vs. Edinburgh Business School MBA?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by LG800, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. LG800

    LG800 New Member


    I'm a newbie here at though I've been lurking and reading posts now for the past few weeks.

    I am considering the MBA program from the University of Leicester but haven't found too many posts/threads about it.

    Is there anyone here who has gone through or is currently going through this program?

    The other one I am considering is the University of Durham, which sounds like it is slightly more famous and prestigious, although I find their website a bit confusing at times. (An Australian colleague found the University of Leicester website confusing so I guess it depends on the viewer)

    I initially wanted to go through the Edinburgh Business School MBA because a few of my friends have done it and it has significantly advanced their careers and it is very affordable, whilst remaining very reputable (or at least according to rankings I've seen for business schools in the UK).

    However, upon reading the various posts about EBS on this site, it sounds like an extremely lonely program where you are mostly on your own.

    Also the Leicester MBA sounds like there is more emphasis on writing and communicating skills, while the EBS MBA seems much more exam-focused. I personally would prefer more of the focus being on the papers than on examinations.

    However, although I've seen the EBS MBA on a few "top 20" or "top 50" rankings lists, I have yet to see the Leicester MBA on any prestigious list and this is causing me to waver on my decision.

    I understand that Leicester is "accredited" and has a fairly long history and is a decent university in itself and certainly not one that I would be embarrassed to say I obtained my MBA from.

    But I guess my question is, is the "name recognition" of the EBS MBA that much more than one from Leicester or Durham? Is there a large difference for employment opportunities in Europe or Australia?

    I would appreciate any viewpoints, advice or comments on the issue.

    Thank you in advance.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2005
  2. Professor Kennedy

    Professor Kennedy New Member

    I intervene here not to sell the merits or otherwise of EBS (I am obviously biased) but to advise you on choosing between Leicester and Durham.

    In my mind, and experience, there is no doubt that Durham is the more prestigious school for the MBA compared to Leicester. From what I know of the two Schools, Leicester is less rigourous, more 'easy' and therefore less solid as a School in its reputation.

    I cannot be accused of bias as Durham was the first University after I graduated that I applied for a lecturing post (1971) and they chose somebody else (who no doubt must have been seen as already a Nobel Prize winner in waiting!).

    However, my son in law took his MBA from Durham and you can be sure I took an interest in his course, its syllabus and his exam papers (unfortunately they had choice of questions, plus out of sight and off campus papers and a dissertation - which I graded without sight of Durham's marks and I gave it 65 and Durham gave it 75). However, I know how hard he worked at his assignments because several were written in my kitchen and I can testify to their provenance.

    Of Leicester, I only know anecdotally, but I am not impressed with their examination system, their assignments, or their pass rates. My impression is that Leicester is a revenue maximiser (by volume of students not by high prices) and has 'looser' exam standards than Durham.

    In the 'trade' ( i.e., aong faculty in UK BUsiness Schools) Durham is a better prospect. It also, speaking modestly, has 'copied' the EBS model closely (the sincerest form of flattery) and stands head and shoulders above Leicester in the real pecking order (not one derived from self certified marketing agencies posing as 'accreditating' agencies but the only true one of assessment by their peers, including EBS - the most difficult School to please).

    I would suggest you go to Durham - EBS is probably too tough a proposition for you, though I seem to spend much of my time on our EBS MBA/DBA web boards in contact with students and they are in contact with each other on the student run site, Watercooler, at www.

    Maybe, our students are not so lonely as you think ... but go to Durham, you won't go far wrong with its MBA.
  3. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    I'm not familiar with the Leicester MBA, but I did have a friend who was doing a DL MA in TESOL through them. From what he did it seems to support what Dr. Kennedy said.

    There were no exams, each week he had to write a 1-2 page paper that summarized some reading assignments. Each month was a longer paper was due. (I think it was about 10-20 pages) And at the end of the 2 year program, a dissertation (15k-20k words). He never had to do any real teaching or be evaluated on his teaching. I thought this was a little odd for a TESOL program.

    Seemed to me if you were a good BSer, you could pass this program no problem. From experience I can tell you that this won't happen with the EBS program.

    The Durham MBA I believe used to be partly taught by EBS, until Durham decided to teach an entire program on their own and collect all the tuition.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2005
  4. LG800

    LG800 New Member

    Thank you, Professor Kennedy and edowave for your comments and advice.

    It is especially good to hear of business schools and their reputation among other institutions and Durham appears to be the way to go. I particularly like their system of offering seminars that DL students can attend, which is heartening for a student that cannot make the part-time program due to work and geographical constraints.

    At their tuition rates though, it makes me wonder if I might as well spend another 2000 pounds and attempt the MBA program from the University of London.

    If that were the choice, with the University of London MBA be the better choice?
  5. tcmak

    tcmak New Member

    Hi LG,

    There are two MBA programmes (or 3 if you include LBS), from

    i. Imperial College,
    ii. Royal Holloway College

    In terms of 'name recognition', I believe UoL or Imperial College has advantage over this. (Disclaimer: sorry, I am really biased over this, pls forgive me too) .

    But for 'name recognition', besides reading my 'biased' opinions, there is a rather simple way to try out- ask people around you, from various educational and professional background.

    In addition, it also depends on where you are based. UoL maybe well-known all over the world. I am not sure if Durham is reputable in your local community. This is something you may need to sort it out from people around you.

    As for Imperial College MBA, despite of the name recognition, there are somethings you might want to note:

    1) There's no easy exam. Passing rate can be low when they think it is not up to their standard

    2) Loneliness, though many of my classmates and I doesn't feel lonely on study, it is rather subjective. There are some virtual tutorials when you can talk to lecturers and ask questions on the study materials.

    In addition to my biased opinions, I would agree that you won't get too far wrong with Durham. It's repuatable and affordable.

    Finally, another factor you might want to look at is the their alumni network, especially if you are not based in UK.
  6. DRMarion

    DRMarion New Member

    Something you should consider

    I completed the EBS MBA in 1998, and am working on the EBS DBA.

    I have 4 courses I am working on: Project Management, Strategic Risk Management, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Making Strategies Work.

    I can safely say that I have never seen such a focused curriculum. This program is just what top managers need to lead and steer their businesses.

    So, I do not need another doctorate, but, everything I am learning now, is fresh, interesting, practical, & focused.

    I do not think one could do better than EBS.
  7. Professor Kennedy

    Professor Kennedy New Member

    Hi LG800

    The University of London is a collegiate university (like Oxford or Cambridge) in that it is composed of several constituent colleges whose degrees are awarded by the University of London, not the colleges. London is a well known name around the world. Someof its constituent colleges are world famous for excellence, e.g., London School of Economics, University College London, Kings College, Queen Mary College and Imperial College. Other colleges are less prestigious, like Wye College and Royal Holloway.

    The University of London recognises this by requiring all its colleges to include classes in their own degree programmes from another constitutent College of the UoL. For example, Imperial College ('Tanaka Business School') has classes delivered by Royal Holloway in its MBA and Queen Mary College has classes delivered at LSE (my wife took her BSc (Econ) in both Queen Mary and LSE, causing some confusion now and again, when we were courting in the 1970s, with me waiting to meet her in one College while she waited for me in the other!).

    The superior MBA in London (and the UK!) is the London Business School (LBS) which awards its own MBA degrees now that it has a Royal Charter independent of the main University of London. But any degree you do in UoL is not from LBS. It will be a mixture of at least two other constituent colleges of UoL. London's MBA has still got high name recognition worldwide. But the views of 'tcmak' may well be prejudiced in that he/she does not acknowledge the dual degree policy of UoL.

    Hence, if you were to choose between Durham and LBS I would advise LBS. If you were to choose between Durham and UoF I would choose Durham (because of the dilution of, say, Imperial with Royal Holloway). I am a great admirer of Imperial, however, given we share a Professor as author of some EBS DL courses, but I think UofL is 'passing off' high quality courses with some from its lesser Colleges - a purely personal opinion on my part.

    If only 2000 GBP is at stake, and if the money is important, then either Durham or UoL is an even bet - but if you can afford and get into LBS, go to LBS over any other choice in Europe.

    Incidentally, all EBS students around the world, DL especially, may attend any of our campus programmes. I had a dozen DL students joining my recent MBA class in Negotiation with the fulltime and part-time campus students. Even higher proportions join our core classes.

    Kind regards
  8. LG800

    LG800 New Member

    Thank you again for the thorough responses. Now I see why I had a few difficulties understanding the University of London system and the idea that they "dilute" their programs with other lesser colleges was one that I had not considered.

    As much as I understand that London Business School is the most prestigious and probably the best business school on the planet, their tuition is triple my budget as I doubt my company would think they can get their investment back, unfortunately. :(

    Thank you again for the very helpful advice.
  9. tcmak

    tcmak New Member

    Hi Prof Kennedy,

    Though I think I need to know more on know more on what exactly I am studying, I'm afraid I cannot agree on what you mean by 'diluting', at least in the IC DL MBA programme.

    For all courses I took in the DL MBA programme, they are taught by IC faculty members. The materials are prepared by the IC faculty members themselves.

    The only exception being the specialisation module, which students can choose to take 2 courses from RHCL, instead of taking the specialisation module prepared by IC.

    If taking two courses from RHCL poses a problem, then take the IC specialisation. Indeed, many of my classmates choose over the specialisation module by IC for obvious reasons. They are taught by IC faculty members. I don't see the problem with that. But I would be happy to know if there are any issues that I may have overlooked.

    Is that the 'dilution' you mean? Maybe you can explain better on what exactly you mean by 'dilution'. And I would like to know about it and I would like to tell for all I know about the programme.


  10. Professor Kennedy

    Professor Kennedy New Member

    Hi tcmak

    A MBA from Imperial, designed by Imperial, taught by Imperial, examined by Imperial is a 'pure' Imperial MBA.

    The practice (indeed policy requirement) of the Senate of the University of London that degree programmes be sourced at more than one of its constituent colleges is intended to promote a collegiate spirit among its constituent colleges that would otherwise be absent and, in some circumstances, detrimental, because 'lesser' colleges would drift into a second order two tier stream.

    The dual sourcing policy 'dilutes' the 'pure' single sourced degrees from constituent colleges. In some cases this makes no difference because the choice of some dual sourced colleges are equivalent in reputation (e.g., Imperial and UCL; Queen Mary and LSE). In some colleges it helps raise the academic strength of one of the partners (e.g., Royal Holloway and Imperial), though it lowers it in the case of the other (e.g., Imperial and Royal Holloway).

    'Dilution' is a policy prescription from the centre that has its own arguments (you can see the outline in the arguments favouring dilution in the above paragraph).

    That you have opted to do pure Imperial courses only, suggests that you, and others like you, see the defects for you of the dual sourced policy (handed down from the centre of UoL).

    I am not judging the policy, only pointing out its consequences. Now if someone can go to Imperial and stick with pure Imperial courses without taking courses from another college, then I would revise my assessment: Durham v 'pure' Imperial is an even choice; go for either. If Imperial is 'diluted', go for Durham.

    Does that explain my personal views a little clearer?
  11. wh431

    wh431 New Member

    What is Diluted?

    Dear Prof Kennedy,

    doesnt the UOL eternal programm degree clearly state the name of the lead college (Imperial, Royal Holloway, LBS..)? So whats the term 'Diluted' abt?

    So what difference does it make if someone takes 2 out of let say 12 courses at Royal Holloway?

    I dont know much abt Royal Holloway but i guess since its under the umbrella of UOL and is existing for over a century, the standard of teaching shouldnt be too bad.

    Thanx for replying

  12. Professor Kennedy

    Professor Kennedy New Member

    Iwas not asked what I thought of the perception that 'diluted' courses from multiple institutions attract when comparing different MBA programmes.

    The first question was about Leicester or Durham's programmes. I suggested Durham was the better programme, more rigorous and associated with a prestigious University.

    It then went on to raise the question of UOL MBAs compared to Durham. I suggested LBS was to top European Business School which issues it own MBA degree under it own Royal Charter.

    Other parts of the UoL award their MBAs as the UoL MBA but that different colleges within UoL have different degrees of prestige and some of them partner with other constituent colleges within UoL, and that some combinations are not as prestiguous as others. I referred to this practice a a 'dilution' and would be seen as such.

    Please, I have no axe to grind here against UoL, in some of its colleges I have taught classes occasionally, including LBS and LSE. My wife is a graduate from UoL.

    I have no prejudice against Royal Holloway, but I do not think its recent developments into MBAs make it, yet, as prestiguous a Business programme as that awarded by Imperial (Tanaka). That's all.
  13. oxpecker

    oxpecker New Member

    I wish London would do away with the federal approach and have each college award degrees independently. I believe that the University of Wales is considering such a move. With the recent explosion in the number of degree-granting universities in the U.K., I think the time for defederation has come. This would eliminate some of the smoke and mirrors.

    (Both my brother and I have master's degrees from Birkbeck, the least prestigious college, and my father earned his PhD from the London external programme.)
  14. Professor Kennedy

    Professor Kennedy New Member

    Hi Oxpecker

    I deliberately did not mention Birkbeck. I consider it the most worthy college in all of UofL but I did not want to start another hare running in this debate.

    Birkbeck is what every University should do - serve that constituency of able people that cannot fit a traditional college into their life style, job or personal circumstances.

    That all Universities leave their class rooms empty after 5 pm and at weekends is a disgrace when so many students could be exposed to a good education is a stain on the system.

    But don't get me started on the democratisation of education.
  15. oxpecker

    oxpecker New Member

    Thanks for the comment.

    Worthy but not prestigious. Which suits me fine.
  16. Yan

    Yan New Member

    Choosing an university

    From the STUDENT's point of view, I think the following factors need to be considered:

    1) cost
    2) name recognition
    3) toughness of course
    4) ranking

    I would certainly choose the program which is low cost, from well known university, easy, and high ranking. Unfortunately, it is difficult to have such program.

    On the other hand, I would definitely not to choose the program which is high cost, from an unknown university, very tough and low ranking.

    Any program may be in any combination, value for money is my criterion.

    Name recognition is rather subjective. An university may be well known in one region or country but it may not be so in others. As a working adult, I would see it through the employer's point of view. For a quick check, ask your friends and colleagues whether they know such university and their comments, etc.

    As to ranking, there is no official ranking available. However, it may give some indication of how others seeing this university (as a whole or for a particular subject). I don't think an employer can tell whether the university is ranking 12th or 20th. Of course, he/she may know the overall top 3 or top 5. If it is for further studies, I think the subject ranking is more important (if one intends to study at the SAME country). Otherwise, employer don't care about subject ranking and I would prefer the overall ranking of the university.

    The ranking of the UK unversities can be accessed through:

    Subject ranking

    Overall uk university ranking
    (University guide 2004 is freely accessible)

    Global MBA ranking

    As to US universities, one may check with US News and BusinessWeek and others.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2005
  17. plantagenet

    plantagenet New Member

    Re: Choosing an university

    Would you really respect an easy program?
  18. Yan

    Yan New Member

    Re: Re: Choosing an university

    A well known university will not offer easy program. So it is DIFFICULT (or impossible) to locate one.
  19. Professor Kennedy

    Professor Kennedy New Member

    Well known universities make it difficult to get into them. They measure entry criteria. They have more applicants than they are willing to, or physically can, teach and they use entry qualifications as screening tools. Marketing scarcity - low enrolment to applicants - is not synonymous with excellence.

    This does not mean that all well known universities are difficult to graduate from.

    Far too many have soft exam regimes.

    They have some or all of the following features:

    Choice of questions (making it easier for a student who has a partial knowledge of the subject to find something to gain at least a minimal or 'massaged' pass)

    Grades for essays and 'projects' (which are written off campus and out of sight, making 'assistance' possible, including plagiariasm and other forms of cheating)

    Grades for group work (to which not all members of the group contribute - a common complaint from those that do)

    Grades for contributing in class (which is rough justice for some)

    Grade for attendance (possibly the most ridiculous notion of a learning programme - this and the previous feature give power to the teacher and do not adequately test the students)

    Loose to non-existent proctoring or invigilation of exams (of which the 'honour' system is naive when used as a basis for proof of the quality of the assessment)

    Lecturers giving 'hints' in pre-exam reviews (based on the lecturer knowing what questions are being asked)

    Grading by the lecturer without external checks (allowing for unsupervised grade awards)

    Grade negotiation by students (allowing for the power of advocacy or other 'persuasion' and not the quality of their answers).

    In Campus Teaching these features are pernicious to standards; in Distance Teaching they detrimental; in Distance Learning they are open to serious doubts about the value of the attestation of the fitness of the student in their subjects by the university.

    Quality should be measured by outputs - assessment of performance in a tough exam regime and not assumed by the quality of the students' inputs.
  20. LG800

    LG800 New Member

    Professor Kennedy, I truly respect and agree with most of what you said in your last post.

    However, Durham for one has a dissertation or else a business report at the end of the MBA program, as does at least a few other reputable or decent business schools I have seen in the UK. Being as it is distance learning, a student would write his/her dissertation "off campus" and "out of sight." (Actually, even a full-time student would be writing at least part of his/her dissertation "off campus" and "out of sight," I would guess, but I could be wrong.)

    I understand that there are concerns for plagiarism and other forms of cheating.

    But what about all the schools (business or other graduate schools) that grade by dissertation?

    (Or perhaps I misunderstood something; I readily admit you would know considerably more about this subject than I do.)

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