By Claire West

Future business leaders from across Europe are increasingly shunning their home countries to live and study in Asia.

Figures from each of the top four business schools in Asia show that between three and 64 times as many Europeans are applying to MBA courses there now compared with a decade ago.

Now the four highest-ranked business schools in Asia - China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, HKUST Business School in Hong Kong, Indian School of Business (ISB) in India, and Nanyang Business School in Singapore - are seeking to capitalise on the surge in demand by joining forces to target European candidates.

Professor Rolf D, Cremer, Dean and Vice President of CEIBS said: “More businesses, and consequently more wealth, are moving from West to East each year.

“Some 139 of the Fortune Global 500 are now based in Asia, a 10 per cent increase from 2008 to 2009. Despite the global financial crisis, Asia is growing at an astonishing rate.

“Tomorrow’s global business leaders clearly see this. They appreciate the imperative and the value of understanding Asian culture in kick-starting their careers, something they can only achieve by living and working in one of the region’s most influential cities.”

The four business schools are putting their competitive differences aside to jointly travel, attend and speak at a number of MBA fairs across Europe and North America this Autumn.

Ahead of those visits, the four schools — united under the banner Top Asia Business Schools - have released combined figures showing their application trends over the past 10 years.

Since 2001, each of the schools has seen applications to study for an MBA go up by between 320 and 6,400 per cent.

Even in the past five years, applications to the four schools have risen by between 30 and 325 per cent.

Each of the four business schools already boast World-class reputations and all rank among the top 30 in the World. All are located in the key centres of Asian excellence with potential for significant economic growth.

Despite only being founded in 1994, CEIBS was recognised as Asia’s best business school for six consecutive years. With a student population that is 60 per cent Chinese, CEIBS offers a gateway to the largest network of graduates in China.

Since 2001, CEIBS has seen application number rise by 6,400 per cent, with levels today around 31 per cent higher than they were five years ago.

HKUST Business School is ranked as the ninth best in the world by the Financial Times. The fact that 92 per cent of students come from outside Hong Kong (from more than 25 countries) also helps place HKUST Business School among the top ten B-schools for International Students.

HKUST Business School’s applications have risen 663 per cent since 1991, and 135 per cent since 2006.

The Indian School of Business is the youngest B-School to be ranked in the top 12 by the Financial Times. The best in global faculty from its associate schools Wharton, Kellogg and London Business School teach on a state-of-the-art 260-acre campus in Hyderabad, India.

It’s seen interest in the MBA course rise by 466 per cent since 2001, and by 325 per cent since 2006.

Finally, Nanyang Business School in Singapore, ranked by the FT as the best in South East Asia, offers students the opportunity to study in what many believe is the world’s easiest city for business, and the most open economy for international trade.

It has seen applications rise by 320 per cent in the decade since 2001, and by 110 per cent since 2006.

Ajit Rangnekar, Dean of ISB added: “While we compete with each other for students, we share a real passion for excellence in business education and for Asia.

“Despite the global financial crisis, Asia continues to grow at an astonishing rate and - to sustain this - we need more global business leaders with a deep understanding of the region, its cultures and its potential.

“By presenting ourselves as a group, it is easier to showcase opportunities for European students at each of our schools. “