The Relevant MBA

Business schools and the MBAs they graduate still play a crucial role in creating and disseminating knowledge that can affect corporate policy and practice I believe that the MBA is more relevant today than ever before. But today’s MBA, both in product and in person, is not “your father’s MBA.” Indeed, business schools and the MBAs they graduate still play a crucial role in creating and disseminating knowledge that can affect corporate policy and practice through robust research programs, and in providing the leadership that is required to move organizations and the world forward in positive ways. MBA programs have sometimes been derided as “trade school for smart people.” Criticisms have ranged from the expense to the relevance of programs. Some people may feel that the time working would help their career more than getting an advanced business degree. While there are substantial costs associated with having highly educated faculty and desirable facilities, MBA programs have reinvented themselves. From students to alumni, those connected with Johnson and other top MBA programs are well-rounded, global thinkers who feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the systems, goods and services, and wealth they create. They want to know that their products or services are safe and sustainable and enhance consumers’ lives, and that their profitable business solutions are leveraged for long-term global benefit. Young professionals entering an MBA program understand the stakes here — personally and professionally. Whether an individual is looking to join a large or small organization, the not-for-profit sector, or pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity, the training in analytical skills and discipline demanded by an MBA incomparably prepares someone to make a contribution from the first day. But even more importantly, the MBA is able to adapt to...

Financing an MBA, With Help From Mom and Dad

Daniel Wesley knew as soon as he started applying to business school that he wanted to avoid student loans. He’d already racked up about $45,000 in loans from his undergraduate days and didn’t relish the idea of adding another $200,000 or so to that debt load, he says. When he found out he got into the Weekend MBA program at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (Booth Part-Time MBA Profile), he turned to his mother and father, a retired construction foreman, for help. They agreed to pay for his first year of school, which he just completed, and plan to pay for his second year as well. “It is a huge advantage and definitely a relief to know that I won’t have nearly a quarter of a million in debt hanging over my head when I graduate,” says Wesley, 33, chief executive officer of Creditloan.com, a website on personal finance. Wesley is one of a growing number of graduate business school students who are using their parents as a funding source for B-school, either accepting tuition gifts from them or negotiating interest-free loans. A two-year business program at a top school can easily add up to $150,000, after factoring in tuition and fees, room and board, and living expenses. From 2003 to 2007, the number of prospective students who said they expect their parents to help them pay for business school doubled, and was approaching 40 percent in 2010, according to a 2011 survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council. The lingering effects of the economic downturn, coupled with tighter lending standards, have left many students nervous about taking on more student loan debt, says Haley Chitty, a spokesman for the National Association of Student Financial Aid...

Maximizing GMAT Scores: The Early Testing Strategy...

At the age of 20 or 21, the average GMAT score is 575. At 22 or 23, it’s 536, a drop of 39 points Wisdom is supposed to come with age, but calculus, trigonometry, the ability to balance a checkbook…these things don’t. In fact, the fall-off in math skills after college is about as steep and as scary as the drop in the value of a new car once you drive it off the lot. Let’s face it: youth has its privileges, and this is one of them. This all came to mind recently when someone pointed out a little statistical anomaly published in a recent GMAC publication. At the age of 20 or 21, the average GMAT score is 575. At 22 or 23, it’s 536, a drop of 39 points. Things improve a few years later, when most people are actually taking the GMAT, but 575? In your dreams. Which brings me to my point. If, after graduation, you suspect that you might be applying to b-school somewhere down the road, the wise choice would probably be to take the GMAT immediately”before you forget everything you learned in college. You just have to be sure to apply to an MBA program within five years, after which most b-schools will not accept those scores…Read full...

How to Pay For Your MBA

You’re about to pony up for one of the most costly investments of your life at exactly the same moment you must bid adios to your (hopefully) substantial annual salary for up to two years It’s that time of year again”applicants are experiencing the euphoria of acceptance at the b-school of their dreams, only to be jarred by the reality that they’ve now got to come up with the money to pay for it. Popular M.B.A. applicant blogger Richard Battle-Baxter says he nearly fainted when he received his initial loan award notification. “I knew that would be coming but it was like looking at an employment offer! I mean actually… [one] year’s tuition is definitely someone’s yearly salary!” Tuition at the top programs can soar well over $100,000, and tangential academic and living expenses will also set you back a pretty penny if you’re planning on earning your M.B.A. degree in a metropolis such as New York, Boston, or Los Angeles. You’re about to pony up for one of the most costly investments of your life at exactly the same moment you must bid adios to your (hopefully) substantial annual salary for up to two years. For many, that’s a sobering realization. Finding the money: Even in these strained economic times, American banks know that M.B.A. graduates with a decent credit history are a sound investment when they start work, according to Ross Geraghty’s recent article on M.B.A. loans published by QS Top M.B.A. While scholarships and other types of “free” money are available at fewer M.B.A. programs than non-professional forms of graduate education, there are many resources available for a scholarship or fellowship that fits your background and needs. The first stop is your target program. Many schools...

More MBA Students Seeking Entrepreneurial Skills...

A new study finds entrepreneurship programs and skills are more in demand from MBA students, compared to traditional areas such as banking, finance and consulting Entrepreneurship is becoming a growing priority for MBA students over the traditional areas of banking, finance and consulting, according to a new study conducted by education and marketing research firm CarringtonCrisp. “Tomorrow’s MBA 2011,” which surveyed 476 prospective MBA students in 79 countries, looks at the evolution of the business degree and found a growing demand for entrepreneurship in the curriculum, with entrepreneurship courses listed by students in their top-five most desired course content. Other valuable course content among prospective students included Strategic Management, Leadership, and Managing People and Organizations. Students are also recognizing the importance of pursuing an MBA to develop skills sets of a business owner. When asked what they want from a business school and MBA, 60 percent of respondents said they want an MBA that will improve their career prospects, while their second and third most important criteria were for an MBA that provides them with new skills and challenges them to think differently. Improving earning potential was listed as the fifth most important factor, chosen by just over a third of all respondents…Read full...

The lure of a Brazilian MBA

Understanding cultural differences is key to doing business in Brazil and doing it well An American and a Brazilian meet to discuss a business deal. After waiting 20 minutes for the Brazilian to arrive, the American gives a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating the steps needed to execute the deal. The Brazilian is a little baffled. He would prefer to get on with the deal itself, he says, but not before he has taken his American friend out for lunch. Understanding cultural differences such as these is key to doing business in Brazil and doing it well, say the directors of the country’s MBA programs. This means teaching increasing numbers of international business students how decades of rampant inflation and currency crises have left Brazilians unaccustomed to long-term planning, or letting these students see for themselves the importance of workplace networking. The Bric countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – have seen an influx of international applications, with students eager to secure an MBA while submerging themselves in the culture of the country they hope to work in, or form close business ties with. MBA enrolment at the top institutions in Brazil is increasing. According to data from the U.S.-based Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the Graduate Management Admission Test, Brazilian citizens sat for 1,628 GMAT exams worldwide in the 2010 test year, compared with 1,312 in the 2006 test year. But demand is growing fastest among international students. The percentage of GMAT scores sent to Brazilian graduate management education programs by non-Brazilians rose from 8.3 per cent in 2006 to 20 per cent in 2010. Although the majority of these students are already living in Brazil, a different breed of students is emerging: graduates from elite universities overseas...

Executive MBA Programs Gain Popularity in India...

Now, more and more of India’s top business schools are offering one-year executive M.B.A.’s, mostly to computer professionals and others with technical backgrounds For decades, the only way to get into top Indian graduate business programs was to take a competitive entrance exam while still in college. Fewer than 1 percent of applicants were accepted. Those who did not make the cut went overseas if they could, or studied another subject. Once they had moved on, there was no going back. Then, 10 years ago, the Indian School of Business opened its doors in the southern city of Hyderabad, offering something different ” a midcareer M.B.A. in just one year. Enrollment in its flagship program, which requires a minimum of two years of work experience, grew to 575 this year from 126 in 2001. Demand is growing and the school plans to open a second campus next year for more than 200 students in Mohali, in Punjab, one of India’s richest states. Now, more and more of India’s top business schools are offering one-year executive M.B.A.’s, mostly to computer professionals and others with technical backgrounds who want to change careers or take on new roles at their organizations. While the institutions offering such programs say their graduates are every bit as capable as those who receive traditional two-year M.B.A.’s, some employers are doubtful. But teachers, alumni and job-placement officers say there are reasons to believe that recruiters will eventually overcome their skepticism. Demand is climbing at top institutions that offer one-year executive M.B.A.’s. Across the Yamuna River from New Delhi, the Noida campus of the Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow was set up only for executive education. Enrollment in the one-year program was just under 50 for the first three...