KNOWLEDGE BASE

Like other high-growth areas of the "knowledge economy," information technology is the hottest segment of the consulting industry. Consulting organizations specializing in IT achieved an aggregate growth of 29% in 1997, compared with 16% for firms specializing in operations management, 15% for human resources, and 11% for strategy. Consultants News attributes IT's surge to the corporate push for global integration, boosting demand for enterprise-resource-planning projects. Other factors adding to the bottom line include Year 2000 debugging, data warehousing services, and electronic commerce. With 40% of graduates going directly into consulting, business schools have revised their curriculum to meet this demand for the technology-savvy. The Lally School of Management & Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., offers an M.B.A. program that integrates business topics with technology proficiency. Students gain real-life experience working with start-up, high-tech companies. The Anderson School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles, where laptops are a must, has networked every seat in the business school, allowing students easy access to professors' presentations and project data over the local network and the Internet. Charts: Best 75 Business Schools Top 25 Most Expensive Executive M.B.A. Programs Top 50 Consulting Firms

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