Posted by: Alison Damast on September 20, 2011
It is the stuff of dreams for many B-schoolers, a business school that guarantees undergraduate students a job upon graduation. This golden guarantee was dreamed up by the London School of Business and Finance, which launched the program, dubbed the Trium UG, this fall. The premise of the program is that if students don’t find a job within six months of graduation, the school will issue them a refund of £2,500, or approximately $4,000.
The fast-growing school, which has over 20,000 students, came up with the job guarantee idea because the job market in the United Kingdom has been so challenging recently for undergraduates, said Valery Kisilevsky, the school’s managing director.
“We are in a bit of a difficult period with graduate employment at the moment in the U.K. as there are about 2 million graduates without jobs,” he said. “We were looking at what we can offer as a solution.”
The school has received thousands of e-mails and phone calls about the program, believed to be the first of its kind in the U.K., Kisilevsky said. So far, the school has accepted 70 students into the program, which has stringent admissions criteria and is designed for a small handful of ambitious, talented students who can “hit the ground running” at their first job out of school, he said. The program is separate from the school’s regular undergraduate business degree, and functions more like an honors program, he said.
Students in the approximately four-year long program will undergo more training and field experience than the typical undergraduate business student. In addition to their normal coursework, students will be required to take graduate-level classes in the field of their choice, courses that help develop students' soft skills, compulsory foreign language training, and a required six-month internship. They will be required to focus their studies on certain academic areas, like marketing or accounting.
Of course, the program won't be put to the test until the first cohort of students graduates around 2015, but Kisilevsky said he is confident that students in the program will be able to land jobs without any problem. He expects interest in the program to grow, as students continue to worry about their job prospects. Another motivating factor? Undergraduate tuition fees in the U.K. are slated to triple next year at all schools.
"With the tuition increase comes a growing realization from students and parents that they need to see some value from their money," he said.
It will be interesting to see how much of a success this program ultimately is, and if the surge of initial interest in it continues to grow. The tuition for the Trium UG program ranges from £7,250 to £9,950 pounds per year, meaning tuition could be nearly $63,000 by a time the student finishes the program. If a student in the program doesn't find a job within six months, that means they'd only get $4,000 back. That's not much recompense, but it is better than nothing and hopefully, will hold the school accountable. If all 70 students failed to find jobs within that time period, they'd find themselves doling out nearly $300,000 to the students. That would be a painful and embarrassing pill for the school to swallow.