When’s the perfect time to take an MBA to advance your finance career?...

s there a sweet spot in your finance career when taking a few years out for an MBA is most beneficial? No, insist business schools, which say they accept old and young students alike. Yes, suggest the statistics and – privately at least – graduate recruiters in investment banks. The theory is that undertaking an MBA is pointless, or at least of minimal benefit, if you have little to no work experience in the real world. Equally, it seems an odd decision to start at a business school with decades of experience under your belt. The most recent classes of top business schools suggest that the optimal level of experience is five years, and the perfect age for starting an MBA is 28 Share on twitter. The class of 2016 at London Business School has an average age of 29 and mean work experience of 5.5 years – the youngest person is 23 and the oldest 38. At Columbia, the average work experience is 5 years, and the oldest person is just 30 Share on twitter, while at Insead the average age is 29 with six years’ of experience. At New York Stern University, where 27% have a background in banking or finance, the average amount of work experience is 4.3 years…Read full story:...

These Are the Students Good Enough to Turn Down Harvard Business School...

Who in their right mind would get accepted to Harvard Business School and turn it down? Turns out the answer is: someone who also got into Stanford. It’s a nice problem to have: You’ve been admitted to two or more MBA programs and can only choose one. As you weigh a host of factors, you might be curious about the decisions of recent students who faced the same set of school choices as you. Using data from students who answered a survey for Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 MBA rankings (about half of all 2014 graduates at ranked schools), we’ve identified MBAs admitted to specific pairs of top programs and tried to make sense of where they ended up. What we can’t glean from this: insight into financial aid packages, location preferences, or any other factors that might drive an applicant’s choice. Still, few things are a purer indicator of which school is truly most desirable than where the most sought-after MBAs—the ones with their pick of highly selective schools—chose to go. Duke (Fuqua) vs. Michigan (Ross): 128 students admitted to both programs Despite Fuqua’s claim to the top spot in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 Full-Time MBA rankings, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, ranked ninth and situated far from sunny North Carolina, claims more than twice as many applicants who get into both schools. Thirty-seven percent of students admitted to Fuqua and Ross select another program altogether. Chicago (Booth) vs. Northwestern (Kellogg): 113 students Hometown rivals Booth and Kellogg have both been No. 1 in Bloomberg Businessweek’s MBA rankings at various points over the years, despite different reputations and strength areas. Booth is known for rigorous focus on quantitative skills, while Kellogg touts its powerhouse marketing faculty. When admitted...

How I Paid Off My $90000 MBA in Less Than 2 Years...

arlier this year, Americans broke $1.2 trillion in student debt. The growing student debt load is causing widespread economic ramifications, delaying home purchases, and influencing spending habits, typically for a decade after finishing college. However, just because most graduates today are living with student debt for a large portion of their lives does not mean that you should. I made my last student loan payment 736 days after my graduation. That’s just a little more than two years. And I did it while earning a salary within $5,000 of the median income level in the United States ($51,371). Here’s how I did it. Start paying during school. The entire estimated cost of attendance for my MBA program at the University of Denver was $90,000– of which $67,000 was for tuition. Even for high earners, that is a lot of money to have on hand to pay for tuition and living expenses–so taking out some student loans was the inevitable choice. People told me that it would be impossible to work full-time and go to school full-time, but I didn’t find that to be true. I kept a full-time job in finance while going to school full-time, and I graduated with a 3.74/4.0 GPA. I had some savings going into school, but not enough to pay for everything as time went on. After I did some budgeting, I found that I could afford to pay around $7,000, roughly half of my tuition, each quarter out-of-pocket and get government-backed student loans for the remainder. By limiting my loans to Stafford loans, I knew I would be getting the best interest rate possible. And by paying what I could afford during school, I kept my total loan burden to less than $100,000…Read...

What the FT Global MBA rankings tell us

Top spot in the 2015 Financial Times Global MBA ranking of the 100 best full-time MBA programmes goes to Harvard Business School, which saw off challenges from London Business School (second) and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (third) to keep its crown. Stanford Graduate School of Business, second last year, slipped to joint fourth with Insead. The ranking is based on surveys of the business schools and their graduates of 2011. MBA programmes are assessed according to the career progression of alumni, the school’s idea generation (see Key to the 2015 rankings) and the diversity of students and faculty. It is the sixth time Harvard has topped the ranking and the third year in a row. Its alumni have the highest average salary three years after graduation, at $179,910 (weighted), nearly doubling their pre-MBA pay. Harvard is among the top schools for career progression and its MBA was the most highly recommended by graduates of other schools. It also comes second for research and its doctoral programme. Harvard alumni cite the impact of the school’s reputation. “Harvard Business School has opened a lot of doors and made people almost irrationally willing to hire me,” wrote one graduate. Graduates can also rely on a large and active network. “Alumni are incredibly generous with their time,” said another graduate. “Everyone will meet you for a coffee to share insights, advice and introductions.” The University of San Diego School of Business Administration is the highest new entrant, at 66th. Nine other schools not in last year’s ranking feature in 2015, including Queen’s School of Business in Ontario, which last reached the top 100 in 2006. China’s Fudan University School of Management and the UK’s Lancaster University Management School recorded...

Why part-time MBAs are undervalued

Three cheers for the part-time MBA! It is not a refrain you are likely to hear every day, I have to admit. But why does the full-time MBA receive all the accolades while part-time programmes are met with a rather embarrassed silence, even though the degree received by graduates is often the same? This might seem an odd thing to write about in a magazine dedicated to the full-time degree, but I think it is worth asking the question. Why has the part-time MBA always been the Cinderella of the MBA market, and can and should that change? It strikes me there is a real case to answer here. For what everyone has learnt in the past decade is that the MBA market has to offer more flexibility to students; it has to make better use of technology; it has to be more affordable; and participants need the security of a job at the end of the process. A further point is that there are too few women on traditional MBA programmes, and there is evidence that part-time programmes might help redress that balance. But the one thing that has convinced me the part-time MBA should be revisited is a comment I heard some years ago from Kim Clark, the former dean of Harvard Business School, whose MBA is ranked number one in the world by the FT this year. He said that students do not turn down a seat at HBS to go to another business school; they do so because they have great opportunities at work. As economies recover around the world, this is clearly going to become a bigger problem, as corporations bid to retain talented staff. They may even be persuaded to sponsor part-time MBA...

Boost to earnings from MBAs falls

The MBA degree, once seen as the quickest route to a fat salary, no longer delivers quite the financial fillip it once did. In spite of a return to economic growth, the financial returns from completing a full-time MBA have fallen over the past three years and while a graduate can still expect to nearly double their salary, the average boost to earnings is down by almost a third from the qualification’s heyday. This is particularly true in the US, home to 50 of the world’s top 100 business schools, where there is growing disaffection with the qualification on the part of both employers and potential students. Since the financial crash of 2008, many would-be MBAs have been reluctant to give up a secure job in order to go to business school, which frequently costs well over a hundred thousand dollars in terms of fees, living costs and lost salary. Many believe the returns no longer justify the investment. The result has been that while the top few business schools go from strength to strength — Stanford Graduate School of Business in California, for example, admits just 6.5 per cent of applicants — those lower down the rankings, with fewer resources, are floundering. “Students say that if they can get into a top school they will go. If not, they won’t,” says Garth Saloner, dean of Stanford, ranked fourth in the world this year, behind Harvard Business School, London Business School and the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania. The past year has already seen several second-tier schools close down their full-time programmes as application numbers dwindle. More are expected to follow, says Alison Davis-Blake, dean of Michigan Ross business school, as programmes become economically unviable. “The segment...

Why A Harvard MBA Doesn’t Make Everyone A Leader...

If you’re thinking of assuming a leadership position in a large organization, a Harvard MBA is perhaps the best academic credential to have—provided that you are admitted to the program, you can afford the bill, and you complete the program successfully. But the Harvard MBA won’t warranty you a leadership position—a position in which you receive direct reports, are responsible for profit and loss, or are part of senior management. That’s the finding of a recent survey of HBS graduates conducted by Robin J. Fly and Colleen Ammerman and published in the December issue of Harvard Business Review. Among HBS graduates working full-time, 81% of men and 71% of women had direct reports; 58% of men and 45% had profit and loss responsibility; and 57% and 41% had positions in senior management. An obvious problem is the balancing of family and career, which becomes more evident among female graduates. “These results indicate that Harvard MBAs aimed for and continue to value fulfilling professional and personal lives,” write Fly and Ammerman. “Yet their ability to realize them has played differently according to gender. Given the gender gap in career outcomes, gaps in career satisfaction and in successfully combining work and family are unsurprising.” A less obvious aspect of the problem is the role individual personalities play in achieving and maintaining a leadership status. As discussed in The Ten Golden Rules Of Leadership, leadership requires an uncommon composite of skill, experience, and ripened personal perspectives—personal values, priorities, and a life code that determine the quality and substance of life…Read full story:...

Prepare Now for 2015 Round 1: Six Steps to Achieve Your Strongest MBA application...

Many business school candidates make the decision to apply to business school years in advance, while others decide that business school is the route to achieve their professional goals only a few months before applications are due. No matter when an applicant determines that business school is right for them, the most common question I receive is, “When should I start preparing?” My answer is always: now. As the founder and CEO of Stratus Prep, I’ve helped thousands of MBA applicants maximize their chances of admission to top business schools. Over the last ten years, I have found that while there are official deadlines and barometers for progress, the secret to reaching admission to one’s target MBA program is developing and executing a strategically sound long-term strategy. In short: for many of the most competitive candidates, building a strong profile and completing your application is a marathon, not a sprint. For applicants planning on applying in Round 1 of 2015, now is the time to develop and strengthen your candidacy by identifying weaknesses and taking action to close gaps in your profile. Here are six practicable steps you can begin today. 670px-Students_in_a_Harvard_Business_School_classroom1. Community Service/Extracurricular Leadership – Due to the time and energy poured into careers, I see many applicants with insufficient community service or extracurricular leadership. If you start to work now to obtain leadership roles then you will be in them for almost one year before Round 1. Assuming a leadership role in an organization that you care about demonstrates the authenticity of your interest as compared to someone getting involved in these roles a couple months before applying. When choosing the appropriate community service/extracurricular leadership activities, make sure you choose an activity that connects with your background...

Dartmouth’s New B-School Dean: It’s Time to Disrupt the MBA...

For the first time in 20 years, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has a new dean. Matthew Slaughter, Tuck’s associate dean for faculty, will take on the elite school’s top job on July 1. After a tenure spanning two decades, Dean Paul Danos will be stepping down at the end of this academic year, a move announced last March. Slaughter, 45, wants to shake up the traditional M.B.A. model, because students want flexible alternatives to two-year, full-time programs, he said in an interview. Among his aims: building a digital platform for Tuck courses akin to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School offerings on Coursera or Harvard Business School’s HBX digital platform, which offers online access to course materials. “We imagine a future where we might have a broader way that students access the Tuck M.B.A. degree,” he said. Slaughter also plans to expand Tuck’s non-M.B.A. offerings—which currently comprise an executive master of business administration program, a non-degree “bridge” program for incoming M.B.A. students, a Master of Health Care Delivery Science offered jointly with the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and select undergraduate courses at Dartmouth and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine—and may add shorter masters programs geared toward younger graduate students. Slaughter said it is also high time to attract more women to the Hanover, N.H., campus; women make up just under a third of Tuck’s current enrollment. He pointed to a new partnership program with the all-women’s Smith College in Northampton, Mass., set to debut this spring, which is aimed at preparing graduating students there for entrance into M.B.A. programs, as a step in the right direction. And he said plans to have more conversations with Tuck alumnae and participants of the student-run...

MBA Students: Choose Your First Marketing Job Wisely...

If I may, I’d like to provide you with some thoughts about this opportunity. I’m going to give you some perspective on how these early decisions will impact your entire life – thoughts you may not have had. These are considerations I didn’t make when I accepted my internship offer at Procter & Gamble in the 80s. I got lucky and had the right mentor, Chris Puto, who pushed me in the right direction. He convinced me to turn down exciting offers (I turned down two internship opportunities to work at Ogilvy & Mather on Microsoft – the Google of the late 80s – and Mattel – the fun brand at the time) to take a “corporate” and less exciting job at Procter & Gamble, where I spent all summer working on Dash, the world’s smallest and most insignificant laundry detergent brand. On day one, my boss (Rick Thompson – a great coach and mentor) asked me what laundry detergent I used and I said “I don’t know.” That’s how excited I was to work on laundry detergent. But here is some perspective: 1. Your work “brand” is enduring. Procter & Gamble was and still is considered a top-tier general management/marketing company. Just like Harvard and Darden are “ranked” higher than many other schools and have greater prestige, companies are also ranked. However, while your educational “brand” influences early job opportunities, your work “brand” will dominate over the course of your career. It endures. When I talk to executive recruiters who place C-level executives in different roles, they care about the “training” and “experience” a job candidate has had, particularly in the formative part of their career. Working at a great company (I mean businesses that are successful, that...

The MBA alternative report from the class of 2011...

Studying for an MBA is all about getting a better job, but there is nothing wrong with having a good time along the way. In the second FT alternative MBA survey, we asked alumni from the MBA class of 2011 to tell us how they rated categories such as food, accommodation and the social life of their business schools. More than 1,860 respondents worldwide took part. Social life and local amenities The good news is that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of alumni were impressed by the social life they enjoyed during their studies. US schools, such as NYU Stern School of Business and Wisconsin School of Business, were the front runners in this category. Insead, in France and Singapore, lived up to its reputation as the party school. As one graduate from the school put it: “You can never expect a more interesting party outside of Insead.” When it came to the best on-campus clubs, there were big hits on both sides of the pond. The poll shows that Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business in the US and the University of Strathclyde Business School in the UK won top marks in this category. For those who appreciate a more cultured social life, some 60 per cent of respondents highly commended nearby art galleries, museums, bookshops and concerts. Top of the pile here is Imperial College Business Schooll and others in the major cities of London and New York. For MBA students who like to travel, University of Hong Kong and George Washington University in the US are among several schools to be ideal for overseas trips. Food and accommodation For those looking for a square meal after an evening of clubbing or the all-night study of an...

Start-up costs for MBA graduates pay off

The fear that starting a business will inevitably mean an enforced period of belt tightening and dining on nothing but baked bean suppers has dissuaded many high flying executives from quitting their jobs to become entrepreneurs. Salary data from 20- and 30-something MBA graduates, however, shows the reverse is in fact true. Far from earning less, those that quit corporate careers to create a start-up quickly make up any shortfall and are in fact earning more on average than their salaried peers just three years after completing their business school studies. In a sample of 7,800 MBA graduates from the world’s top 100 business schools that responded to the FT’s 2015 rankings research, 22 per cent had launched a start-up while studying for the qualification or shortly after completing their course. Three years after graduation, the average annual income among these fledgling entrepreneurs was $134,000, compared with $132,000 across the entire sample. Just 5 per cent of those who founded companies reported an annual salary of zero three years after graduation. However, even this may be an overstatement of the financial risk facing founders since this percentage includes those who chose not to reveal their income level in their survey response…Read full story: Financial...