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'Must do better'.

A Ranking of the world's best MBAs has been released, with European and US universities leading the way and a distinct lack of Middle Eastern and Asian institutes getting top marks.

The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, in the US, climbed from fourth to take the top spot on the The Economist and What MBA list, while the absence of Asian universities was glaring.

But Mishal Kanoo, deputy chairman of The Kanoo Group told 7DAYS that Middle Eastern universities are failing to attract the "best and brightest" to study business in the region because of a lack of freedom, a lack of funding and because they can't attract the best professors.

"With the rankings, the sad part for me is not a single university from this region is even close to getting ranked," said Kanoo.

"There has to be a greater amount of academic freedom, it is very restricted and unless we are going to change that mentality... you are not going to attract the best and the brightest without the top professors," he said, adding that restrictions include censorship over subjects like arms deals.

If you want to pursue a role in business in the UAE and cannot afford to head to the US or Europe to study it is not all doom and gloom, however.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of budget airline flydubai, which has recently followed an aggressive hiring strategy, told 7DAYS: "Standards in this region are improving all the time and the Emirates Aviation College, which offers an excellent MBA in Aviation Management, is a very good example of that.

I don't believe that you now have to leave the UAE in order to further your education or your career."

Likewise, Kanoo says personal abilities and a positive personality hold just as much weight with him as the qualifications of a graduate.

"MBAs mean absolutely nothing to me other than a certification by universities that this person can think. Whether the person is coming from East or West is secondary as far as I'm concerned," he said.

If the bank balance permits however, studying in Europe still shows the greatest return on investment. According to The Economist: "European MBAs are still likely to out-earn the rest... As banking jobs disappeared, the average basic salary of new MBAs from the London Business School has dropped from $117,000 to $100,600 since the 2009 ranking."

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 20, 2010
Words:413
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