BUSINESS School trailblazers at the University of Strathclyde, who

have already set up long distance learning centres in South East Asia,

are now planning a possible global strategy with immediate emphasis on

the Pacific regions and the Middle East.

The flotillas of troopships, the tea planters and the white-plumed

governors of Empire have long gone, but, now in the age of computers,

the emergent and flourishing countries of the East are welcoming a new

type of British venturer.

Last October Strathclyde Business School launched its first Master of

Business Administration centre abroad, in Singapore, with an intake of

25, folowed in April by Hong Kong with 40 participants. Now the first in

Malaysia is planned at Kuala Lumpur in October. Each centre with take

two entries of participants each year.

The MBA overseas plan has developed swiftly and, in a new move, staff

from Strathclyde are starting to jet out to Asia twice a year to provide

intensive seminars for course members just before exams.

Gordon Anderson, MBA Programmes Director at Strathclyde, and his team

are determined to keep to the forefront and are exploring and analysing

further markets especially in Asia and around the Pacific.

Europe and the Caribbean, in fact most parts of the world, are under


Gordon Anderson has recently visited Kuwait and Karachi which, along

with Dubai, are other possible centres for expansion. These are

particularly attractive logistically as they are already on the route to

Asia taken by Strathclyde staff.

The whole MBA scheme is a major operation involving organisation on a

global scale.

Constraints on expansion include cost and the availability of teaching

staff from Strathclyde with the appropriate skills to handle the

intensive seminars.

The MBA is a higher degree open to people with sound academic

qualifications and several years of commercial, public or industrial

sector experience. Till recently its distance learning was limited to

people located in the UK and Ireland.

But, as demand for the qualifications has grown world-wide, MBA

programmes have become big business with fierce competition among

universities in Britain, Europe, Australia and America.

Strathclyde, however, has been hailed as one of the top five schools

in Europe. The Economist recently rates the Business School as excellent

in reputation, medium in price and under innovativeness, it was termed


The selection of suitable representative organisations abroad is

critical to the whole exercise. In Singapore Strathclyde is represented

by a private educational establishment, Open Learning Resources, and in

Malaysia by the Strategic Business School. Hong Kong partner is the Hong

Kong Baptist College, one of the ''big five'' educational establishments

in the colony. These supply a permanent presence and handle local

administration though decisions on candidates, local tutors and exam

assessments are retained by Glasgow.

Wherever possible formal endorsements are arranged with professional

bodies. In 1987 the Chartered Institute of Managerial Accountants signed

a collaborative agreement with Strathclyde endorsing and recommending

their courses to Fellows and Associates and CIMA encouraged the

launching overseas. Latest ally is the Singapore Society of Accountants.

Around 72% of the students are in the 25 to 34 age group though ages

range up to 45 and over. The course is designed to last two and a half

years but regulations allow five years for completion.

Says Gordon Anderson: ''Many well-qualified persons cannot come to

Glasgow for the full-time course. These new overseas centres provide an

opportunity for them to take the degree on a part-time basis, at home,

continuing in their own employment.

''The type of person seeking MBA might be someone in engineering or

accountancy with an ambition to be a general manager or perhaps a

research scientist who has been labelled a specialist.

''For our part we want to keep a high international profile and

establish the Strathclyde MBA as the pre-eminent UK programme overseas.

Our major competitors are Warwick University and Henley, an independent

college whose degrees are awarded through Brunnel University, London.

''The latest decision is to send out our own staff from Glasgow. We

feel it is essential to provide students with face to face contact with

the Strathclyde faculty, to reinforce the learning from the distance

learning materials and to prepare them for exams which are scheduled

just two or three weeks ahead.''

When King George V visited India in 1911 for the Great Durbar he was

so impressed by the welter of engineers and others who had graduated

from Strathclyde's mother unit, the Glasgow and West of Scotland College

of Technology, he granted the Royal prefix. Any future royal visitor to

the east might be similarly overwhelmed.

Strathclyde was the first business school to award the qualification

MBA to its full-time programme set up in 1966, the first to launch a

conventionally-taught part-time MBA in 1976, and the first to launch the

MBA by distance learning in the in the UK.