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To boldly go….

When I think of the school’s decision to strike out on our own and take our Chicago-based Executive MBA Program to Europe almost 25 years ago, the iconic phrase (if slightly nerdy Star Trek reference) comes to mind - to boldly go where no business school has gone before. Professor Harry Davis, the architect behind the program’s global expansion, explains in our recent video how the idea to establish a presence elsewhere was triggered unexpectedly during a meeting about something else. It was initially dismissed, but after more consideration and exploration, eventually led to bringing our top Executive MBA Program to Europe. This was just the first stop on our global journey.

First Contact

The school’s first international campus opened in Barcelona in 1994. A few years later, building on the success of Barcelona, the school expanded the Executive MBA Program again into Asia, opening our second international campus in Singapore. Our presence on three continents grew the reach and influence of the school, and also reinforced the already very diverse program and network of students and alumni. The Booth network was now growing more quickly and in more countries than ever before, thanks to the presence of the Executive MBA Program.

Expanding outside of the US was then, and still can be, a risky venture. Over time, we’ve had to adapt and be flexible to changing market conditions. In 2005, the decision was made to relocate the European campus to London and in 2014 the Asia campus moved from Singapore to Hong Kong.

What has not changed is our approach. The decision from the start to stick to our core values and only use our own faculty to teach and not partner with any other institutions, reinforces the school’s commitment to insuring absolute top quality teaching no matter where in the world we offer our programs. This decision was also unprecedented. Just like the creation of the first Executive MBA program in 1943, the school took the lead on this to forge a new, innovative path.  Our global expansion allowed us to meet a gap in graduate business education at that time, and address an ever-globalizing market to create new opportunities to educate some of the brightest and best executives.


One immediate and key component of our global expansion was the creation of the International Weeks. During these joint session weeks, students from the different campuses meet up and take classes together as an international cohort. Students study on all three campuses as part of the program, and in doing so enhance their knowledge and learning from people with very different backgrounds and business experience. Considering we have students from over 46 different countries in our three programs, and representatives from almost every conceivable industry, there are endless learning and networking opportunities.

We’ve also been able to introduce more flexibility for our students through the three campuses. In addition to the required international weeks, as many as one-quarter of our students choose to do additional weeks on another campus during their time in the program. Their reasons vary; they travel to learn more about the regional business environment, because they have business to conduct in a location nearer to another campus, because they are considering a career or job move nearby, or just as an opportunity to continue building their network.

Our continuing mission

In the nearly quarter of a century that we have been in Europe and Asia, we have educated thousands of executives from countries all around the world, creating a network of great business leaders, policy makers, and influencers who are shaping businesses, NGOs, charities, and governments around the globe. What’s even more astonishing is that those numbers can’t begin to reflect the hundreds and thousands of individual stories of meetings, deals, hirings, board and advisory appointments, counseling, advising, networking, and life-long friendships that take place across the global Booth family.

That brings us to today – and to the end of my Star Trek references. We are just a few months away from the next major milestone for the University and for the Executive MBA Program, the opening of the University’s new building in Hong Kong. This will be the new home to the Asia Executive MBA Program as well as other Booth and University of Chicago programming. This is the first stand-alone building that the University has ever built outside of Chicago, and is a fitting emblem of the strong commitment the school has to educating and influencing present and future leaders all around the world.  Starting in the Summer of 2018, Hong Kong-based students as well as all other Executive MBA students will have the benefit of studying in our iconic, state-of-the-art building overlooking Victoria Harbour; the perfect setting for the next 25 years of influencing and educating future Boothies.

To read more about the 75th anniversary of Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program and our global expansion to Europe and Asia, please visit our website.