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Aiming for career advancement and financial success? You might want to look at getting another degree -- something that will put your career over the edge.

 If you are looking for a top-notch degree, here are the most prestigious and rewarding ones from around the world.

Note: All prices are in U.S. dollars.

MSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics

London School of Economics                                                     

 Entrance requirements: A strong educational background in mathematics, statistics, economic                                             theory, and econometrics.

 Acceptance rate: Less than 5% (15 out of 320 students in 2004).

$30,500 a year.

Duration: Nine months full time.

Famous alumni: Many famous alumni failed to achieve such lofty credentials as the MSc in econometrics, but several world leaders -- including former Indian president Shri KR Narayanan and former Israeli prime minister Moshe Sharett -- achieved a BSc in economics.

There are many top programs at this internationally renowned school, but the most academically challenging and respected program is arguably the MSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics. 

Many of the top academics and politicians around the world have graced this school, including such notable names as John F. Kennedy (former U.S. president), Pierre Elliott Trudeau (former Canadian prime minister), Jomo Kenyatta (first president of Kenya), George Soros (billionaire global financier), and Robert Mundell (winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences), to name but a few.

In fact, the school has 13 Nobel Prize winners among its former alumni and staff, and over 30 former or current heads of state or government.

Bachelor of Technology

Indian Institute of Technology

Entrance requirements: High placement on IIT Joint Entrance Examination.

Acceptance rate: Less than 2% (approximately 5,500 admissions out of 300,000 applicants).

Tuition: $1,100 a year (including miscellaneous administrative expenses).

Duration: Four years.

Famous alumni: N.R. Narayana Murthy (cofounder and chairman of Infosys); Rajat Gupta (former managing director of McKinsey & Company); Vinod Khosla (cofounder of Sun Microsystems).

The Indian Institutes of Technology are a group of seven technology and engineering schools in India that have won worldwide recognition for the quality of the education they provide.

Graduates from these schools are often revered for their practical and in-depth knowledge, and a degree from IIT is often seen as a ticket to success. In fact, the excellence of these schools hasn't gone unnoticed, with many graduates being courted and cherry-picked for some rather lucrative jobs abroad.

In recent years, many graduates from Western universities have found it worthwhile to supplement their degrees with additional training from these universities. Among the more popular subjects are Extreme Programming and Pair Programming, both of which India has grown an expertise in.


Harvard Business School

Entrance requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. university or its equivalent.
  • Average GMAT score in 2005: 707.
  • Average GPA in 2005: 3.64.
  • Work experience and accomplishments are considered.

Acceptance rate: 12% in 2005.

Tuition: $39,600 per year plus many extra fees.

Duration: Full-time 22-month program.

Famous alumni: Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. (chairman of The Carlyle Group and former CEO of IBM); Michael Bloomberg (founder of Bloomberg LP and New York City mayor); Nicholas F. Brady (former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury); George W. Bush (U.S. president).

Although some claim that Harvard has lost its place as the top MBA program in the world, nothing negative can be said about the prestige and earning power of its alumni.

Many of the top business theories and acclaimed business minds in the world have had some connection with the school, whether as students or staff members. Whatever the case, graduates of Harvard Business School have access to one of the most diverse and international alumni networks, as well as a reputation that can open doors into most organizations, whether large or small.

LL.M. Law

University of Cambridge

Entrance requirements: First-class law degree from a UK university or its overseas equivalent.

Acceptance rate: Approximately 125 students a year.

Tuition: $10,000 per year for domestic or EU students; $20,000 per year for international students.

Famous alumni: Hans Blix (former head of United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission).

Through the years, the University of Cambridge has been at the forefront of law education around the world. With common law forming a major part of the legal structure of many nations -- especially those with former ties to Britain -- a degree from this university forms a very attractive springboard for a successful career in law.

The University of Cambridge's School of Law has extensive contacts and relationships with a number of the world's leading law firms. If you want a successful career in law, you will find no better place to start than Cambridge.


Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Entrance requirements:

  • Very high academic scores in the 3.8 GPA range.
  • Average MCAT scores: 11.4.
  • Letters of recommendation from senior faculty or premedical committees.

Acceptance rate: 4%.


Famous alumni: Peter Agre (winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Richard Axel (winner of Nobel Prize in Medicine), Herbert Spencer Gasser (winner of Nobel Prize in Physiology), Haldan Keffer Hartline (winner of Nobel Prize in Medicine).

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is the world's foremost authority on medical research, and its hospital is one of the finest in the world.

Befitting its status as the top U.S. health institution, Johns Hopkins is the most important recipient of National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants and is associated with nearly 20 Nobel Prize laureates.

A look through the faculty and alumni of this fabled university reveals a who's who of medical achievement -- a testament to the influence and contributions of this institution's graduates in the field of medical research.

Given that these are some of the most prestigious degrees in the world, getting into them will not be easy. But everyone should have lofty goals, and these programs should set you on your way to the summit.