From the outside, it seems like an ordinary day at the London offices of Waterstones, the publisher of the King Edward VII Academy (EAD) Diploma. A slightly harried-looking man dressed in a bespoke suit walks into the newsroom and immediately turns to Twitter to check on the latest gossip about his favourite band, Kings of Leon. But as the staff behind the scenes know, this is far from what’s happening. For the past seven months, he’s been training vigorously for the most demanding day of his life: his final exams.

The Final Exams

It’s a scene that might play out in any university or college across the country. The corridors are deserted, despite the hour, and a knot of last-year students are huddled in a corner, cramming for their final exams. Suddenly, the front doors burst open and the entire student body floods into the corridors, yelling and screaming as they rush to take their final exams. A frenetic atmosphere prevails as the year’s work comes to a head.

Except this isn’t any normal university. This is an exclusive independent school, and the exams they’re taking aren’t usually counted in national rankings. The students are there for the prestigious EAD diploma, which they’ll wear with pride for the rest of their lives. On this day, they’re competing to secure a place at one of the country’s most exclusive universities. And it’s not just about getting a degree. The EAD also offers academic and professional development opportunities that could change their lives forever.

The EAD Diploma

The EAD diploma, named after its founder Robert Pattinson, is a rigorous three-year programme that combines classroom learning with intense study and service learning. It is considered among the most competitive academic qualifications in the world, and it’s not easy to attain. The requirement is that students complete at least 45 hours of academic learning a week, plus an additional nine hours of class preparation, assessment and project work. Students must also maintain a B grade average and achieve at least a bronze medal in each of their games, or participate in extra-curricular activities.

While most universities in the UK offer the chance to participate in university sporting events, many are not able to compete for a prestigious league title or award. The EAD offers its alumni sporting successes, including six full Rhodes scholarships, and a variety of academic and professional success stories.

The Difference Makers

The EAD diploma’s rigorous curriculum isn’t just about imparting knowledge. Its alumni boast a powerful set of skills, with many gaining employment or further study within a short space of time. Here’s a selection of LinkedIn profiles for some of the world’s best-connected EAD graduates.

In 2018, the EAD celebrated its 20th anniversary and issued a call to its alumni for help in developing an expanded programme, including masters courses and doctoral programmes. The response was overwhelming, with more than 500 applicants for just 20 places in the new MSc in International Corporate Social Responsibility. The same year, the EAD partnered with London Weight Room to create a unique master’s degree in personal training, helping participants gain the skills to transform peoples’ lives with gym-based fitness programmes. The EAD boasts an incredibly high rate of employment as well, with more than 99% of graduates securing a job or further study within six months of graduation.

How Does It Work?

The EAD diploma requires a significant amount of effort from students. Between study, coaching sessions and games, they’re constantly working hard to maintain their stamina. Before they even begin their studies, students are expected to have sat a minicomputer for four years, which will form the basis of their academic learning. During this time, they’ll develop the skills necessary to use SPSS, an applied statistical package, and MatLab, a program used in the field of mathematics. These will serve as the basic tools in their studies.

Study weeks are quite a bit longer than in a normal university setting, running from 7.30am to 6.00pm, with just an hour for dinner. Class meetings and tutorials are held at lunchtimes to give the students a break from their studies, as they work through the day with little ones or prepare for college work through the night. Many of the world’s most successful business students have credited their time at the EAD with turning them into confident, capable adults, capable of taking on the world.

The Importance Of Teamwork

Although the EAD diploma demands a great deal of individual effort, it is crucial that the students work together as a team, both in and out of the classroom. After all, they’ll be living and breathing alongside each other for the next three years, and forming lasting friendships is a crucial part of the social experience. The EAD encourages its students to get involved in as many extra-curricular activities as possible. This could include sports, drama or music, student-led committees, school trips, volunteering and charity work. It wants them to make the most of their time and truly embrace the learning experience.

Many successful alumni have credited their extensive network of friends with helping them to find work. It’s therefore no surprise that over half of the EAD’s graduates already have a job or are in their first year of study. The EAD’s connections allow it to attract some of the best students and faculty to its London schools. The partnership with King Edward VII ensures that the next generation of business leaders will have access to some of the very finest academic minds in the world.

The Future Of Work And Studying

The world of work is changing, and so is the way we study, with many high-quality jobs now requiring extensive academic qualifications. The EAD diploma’s unique structure means that its graduates are perfectly placed to succeed in this new world, with many already gaining employment in a variety of high-flyer roles. While it’s very impressive to obtain a degree from a prestigious university, employers now recognise that a degree alone isn’t enough. They want to see successful undergraduates who have a depth of knowledge that is transferable and applicable in the real world.

This is why the EAD offers not just a certificate but a complete education, including a practical training programme that gives students the opportunity to gain valuable job experience. The EAD’s partnership with King Edward VII provides further opportunities, with companies and businesses that recognise the value of the partnership offering mentoring, recruitment and job opportunities that would otherwise not be open to them. The EAD is recognised as one of the most reputable and exclusive educational institutions in the country.

While it’s never easy to leave your home and head off to a new country, there are plenty of rewards in living abroad, including culture shock, adventure, and a rich social life. For those who thrive in a diverse and international environment, the world is their oyster, and the opportunities are endless.