Is it the Right Time?

Despite the unstable world market, MBA’s continue to pay off

In the last four years demand for better and more qualified business professionals has become acute and the pay-off remains excellent. Investing in your career now could be the right move in the long-run.

Better qualifications give competitive edge

Some would argue that going back to university at a time when the economy is suffering is nothing short of an escape. Though this may be the case for some, the motivation of most MBA candidates is a great deal less ‘escapist.’ Today MBA graduates are still very much in demand. Prospective MBA students have been knocking on the doors of international business schools, continuing a trend that started in 2008. The pay-off has been quite tangible. “Recent MBA participants have gone on to work for over 300 companies in more than 60 countries,” states the Dean of the MBA programme at INSEAD, while 10% of the students at IE Business School (ranked 8th worldwide by the Financial Times) start a new venture after graduation. It is true that when the economic crisis began, many companies froze their recruitments, yet forecasts for 2012/13 are completely different. MBA recruitment in London has picked up, while according to MBA Career Services Council (MBA CSC) recruitment levels across the developed world have also risen. Three-quarters of the b-schools which participated in the MBA CSC survey reported an increase in recruiters on campus. So things are looking up for MBA graduates and especially for those aiming at managerial or executive level jobs.

Flexible formats limiti the risks

MBA’s are indeed becoming more accommodating in their attempt to answer the needs of all who aspire to further their business education. You can now choose from a variety of options depending on the time you are willing to dedicate to a degree or the money you can afford to spend. Weekend or evening classes, Internet courses, distance learning, open enrolment, and full-time modules accommodate busy professionals. Even Rutgers University offers a 12-week Mini-MBA certificate! So you are now able to choose to spend a shortest time out of pay-roll or keep your job while studying.


Business courses show you the way to dare and succeed

If you want to learn about the nuts and bolts of a rather fluid economy, you should enrol in an MBA programme. Courses today are bound to meet your needs as they are all-encompassing and increasingly diverse. Colleges like Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers training in specific programmes such as “Fundraising and Marketing,” “Performance Counts!” and a targeted “Women’s Senior Leadership Programme.” Emory University’s Goizueta Business School teams up with corporations like The Home Depot to create customized leadership and development programmes. Furthermore, MBA’s today are extremely practical – you learn about business strategies and concepts not just on paper but also through real life situations during the internships and training that are part of your course work. “A business education is not about making more money, it’s about becoming entrepreneurial. It’s about having an idea of what’s supposed to go into finance, sales, marketing, product development and so on. You avoid tunnel vision. You are more likely to see the whole forest, not just a few specific trees,” says Leeds Business School graduate Gwen Hoff. James Smiff, a 2010 graduate of the Hult International Business School seems to share the above view, I don’t think the MBA made me "entrepreneurial." I do think that it made being entrepreneurial easier, because as I struck out on my own, I had at least a general idea of the various functions, and what was supposed to happen. I didn’t have to guess what the buzzwords meant. The knowledge was enabling.”

The network of contacts is a real passport for employment

The alliances that you form with your classmates and the network you create is one of the most important and valuable things that an MBA programme can give you. Business education introduces students and alumni to a diversified world of organizations, business leaders, and outstanding colleagues around the globe. MBA graduates have often felt that the associations formed during the MBA course are invaluable resources and can be drawn upon for years after completion of the MBA. Also most top b-schools have active career centres which help their students choose the right career path. The Career Service at INSEAD, for example, prides itself on its high-calibre team which works with MBA students to shape their objectives, hone their job-finding skills and help them outline their job-searching strategy. Statistics show that 48% of INSEAD students secure a job prior to their graduation. A particular college network can boast tens of thousands of alumni (HBS has more than 65,000 alums and Wharton has 81,000) all representing an enormous network of knowledge and opportunity.

Most MBA programmes these days try to be recession-proof and offer their students an open-platform experience. Many of the respectable b-schools, for example, have a variety of exchange programmes that students can take and thus gain hands-on experience by learning about the Asian or the American economy from the source, rather than in a classroom with a lecturer. Many top schools now have multiple campuses. The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School has a campus in San Francisco, and Columbia Business School merged resources with the University of California's Haas School to create the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Programme. Duke University has picked up on the current global trend and offers students the chance to study in different parts of the world, including New Delhi and San Petersburg. Thus, by being embedded in some of the world's most important economic regions, Duke offers its students access to diverse fellow students, companies, industries and partners and thus to a rather large network of contacts. The HEC Executive MBA also offers students the opportunity to take classes in five different locations worldwide. With an MBA degree one is not geographically bound and can work anywhere in the world, as MBA's these days teach enough about the cause for doing business, the manner of doing business and the operating environment in which business is done throughout the world. Thus, even if the crisis continues in Europe and the US, MBA graduates can always pack their things and look for a job in the Asia or Brazil where the economy is still!

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