Europeans Opting for MBAs Closer to Home

B-school-bound Europeans are increasingly applying to MBA programs on the Continent, which are shorter and cheaper than their U.S. counterparts Scottish business school student Steven Renwick used to harbor what he called a “vague aspiration” to get his MBA from an American institution such as the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Then he took a closer look at the price tag. The cost of a two-year degree at a top U.S. business school would easily set him back more than $150,000, an investment of time and money he was not comfortable making. Says Renwick: “It seemed like a massive opportunity cost.” Instead, he considered schools in Europe with one-year MBA programs, such as Switzerland’s IMD (IMD Full-Time MBA Profile), France’s INSEAD (INSEAD Full-Time MBA Profile) and the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School (Saïd Full-Time MBA Profile). He ultimately applied to and was accepted by Saïd, a school known for its strong entrepreneurship offerings, with a more affordable tuition of about $57,000. “I was always very aware of U.S. business schools because they were so highly ranked, but they just seemed astronomically expensive to me,” says Renwick, who is now at Saïd working on launching an Internet startup. “I didn’t see the advantage of getting myself into that much debt before even going into business.” Renwick is part of a new generation of European MBA students who are increasingly looking to attend business schools on their home continent, rather than going abroad to the U.S. for their business school education. In the past five years, the number of Europeans who are sending their Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores to U.S. schools has declined sharply, according to a report released this month by the Graduate Management Admission Council on...

Top 5 Reasons an MBA is a Bad Investment

The once-golden MBA is quickly losing its luster For years, an MBA degree has been seen as a first-class ticket to the management fast track. People spend $100,000 (or more!) to earn the degree, confident that it will propel their career into overdrive. Even so, the once-golden MBA is quickly losing its luster. Let’s face it: the degree has been WAY over-hyped, MBA curricula are out of touch with real-world demands, and many programs have a culture that fosters some awful management habits. With that in mind, here are the top five reasons your MBA may not be worth the money you’ll pay for it. REASON #1: THE ROI SUCKS When it comes to goosing up your lifetime income, the MBA just ain’t what it used to be. Writing in a research piece for “The Academy of Management Learning and Education” several years ago, two business school professors, Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford and Christina Fong of the University of Washington, dropped this bomb on academia: “What data there are suggest that business schools are not very effective. Neither possessing an MBA degree nor grades earned in courses correlate with career success.” The report debunked many of the traditional claims of B-school recruiters. Pfeffer and Fong cited multiple studies that, for instance, compared the salaries earned by MBAs with their non-degreed peers. All research concluded that although MBA grads earned higher starting salaries than college grads, mid-career MBAs saw no salary boost after earning the degree. Some studies even found that those who pursued an MBA full time suffered from the disruption in their employment…Read full...

AACSB Urges B-Schools to Adapt to a Global World...

Graduate and undergraduate business programs must do better at making globalization central to the B-school curriculum, the accrediting group says Business schools are lagging behind in preparing students for careers in an increasingly global world and need to become more strategic about how they weave cross-border content into their programs, according to a report released today by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The study, titled “The Globalization of Managements Education: Changing International Structures, Adaptive Strategies, and the Impact on Institutions,” was presented to deans at an AACSB conference in Phoenix. It suggests that business schools need to make deeper and more sustained efforts across the curriculum to help students understand the challenges of conducting business in different cultures and countries. Robert Bruner, chairman of the AACSB Globalization of Management Education Task Force, which wrote the report, calls the study “a real wake-up call” for business schools. “If we drill into the curriculum of the schools, there is a large gap between aspiration and achievement,” says Bruner, who also serves as dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business (Darden Full-Time MBA Profile). “Schools have a long way to go when it comes to globalizing their curricula, and the majority are still in their infancy in figuring out how to do that.”Read full...

Meet the enemy of the MBA

Josh Kaufman, 28, is a self-proclaimed “independent business educator.” If Josh Kaufman had gone to business school, he probably would have graduated this year with an MBA from Harvard or Stanford. But Kaufman, a 28-year-old entrepreneur and former assistant brand manager for Procter & Gamble, thinks business school is pretty much a waste of time and money. MBA programs, he says firmly, have become so expensive that students “must effectively mortgage their lives” and take on “a crippling burden of debt” to get what is “mostly a worthless piece of paper.” Kaufman believes that MBA programs “teach many worthless, outdated, even outright damaging concepts and practices.” And if that’s not bad enough, he insists that an MBA won’t guarantee anyone a high-paying job, let alone turn a person into a skilled manager or leader. In an era when MBA bashing has become almost fashionable, Kaufman is emerging as business school’s most unforgiving critic. Founder of PersonalMBA.com and the author of the forthcoming book “The Personal MBA,” he’s a passionate advocate for what he calls self-education. Instead of paying up to $350,000 in tuition and forgone earnings to go to Harvard, Stanford or Wharton, Kaufman says a better way to learn business is to open the pages of classic business texts and learn on your own. His epiphany occurred five years ago, when he was working at P&G (PG, Fortune 500) headquarters in Cincinnati as an assistant brand manager for the company’s Home Care division. He had joined P&G straight from the University of Cincinnati by virtue of the school’s cooperative education program. Almost all of his peers and managers boasted elite MBA degrees. To overcome his feelings of intimidation and to prepare for the job, he began reading, and...

Penn State Cracks Down on Plagiarism

At the Smeal College of Business, dozens of MBA applicants who plagiarized admissions essays on “principled leadership” were shown the door. They won’t be the last dmissions Director Carrie Marcinkevage was sitting in her office reviewing business school application essays last February when she stumbled on a sentence that bore an uncanny resemblance to an essay she had just finished reading. The essay, one of five required in the application, asked students to discuss the connections between principled leadership and business. “I had that inevitable moment of ‘Oh gosh, I swear I have seen this sentence before,’ ” says Marcinkevage, who heads the MBA admissions office at Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business (Smeal Full-Time MBA Profile). She pulled out the essay where she remembered seeing the phrase and compared the two side by side. To her dismay, she discovered both applicants had used the exact same sentence. The problem soon proved to be bigger than Marcinkevage could ever have anticipated. Over the next few days, she and her admissions staff combed through 360 pending applications submitted for Smeal’s 2010 admissions cycle, even reviewing those submitted by applicants who had already been admitted or invited to the school for an interview. They uncovered 29 cases of students who had lifted entire sentences or paragraphs from online sources, including a 2009 essay titled “Principled Leaders: A Model for the ‘Reset’ Economy,” by Deborah Merrill-Sands, then dean of Simmons School of Management (Simmons Full-Time MBA Profile) in Boston. The case was even more surprising because all applicants to Smeal are asked to sign an honor code before submitting the application. Said Marcinkevage: “It was the perfect storm of plagiarism.” Plagiarism Detection For the past decade or so, universities have taken...

Optimist with MBA lands the job

MBA graduates with an overall optimistic outlook spend less time and effort searching for jobs and receive offers more quickly, research shows Once they get the job, they’re even more likely to be promoted in the first two years than their pessimistic peers. Researchers surveyed 232 MBA students about their relative dispositional optimism”a general belief that good things tend to happen more often than bad things. Their answers were correlated to their job-search outcomes. The findings have been published in a working paper issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research. According to the researchers, optimists are more flexible in the way they handle difficult situations. Beyond a brighter outlook, there are a number of reasons why optimists might outperform others in the job market. For example, individuals who are articulate and personable may be more optimistic because they have learned to anticipate favorable outcomes when they interact with others. In other words, good things tend to happen to these people, which makes them more optimistic, which in turn perpetuates more good things occurring…Read full...