Five MBA Trends for 2015

Ever since its inception in the late 19th century, the Masters in Business Administration is the one academic postgraduate qualification that has never stood still. The constantly evolving requirements of employers, the changing demands of students, and the revolutionary changes caused by waves of new technologies have been met by a willingness by the best business schools to change the what, the how, and (increasingly) the where they teach. Alternative funding sources for MBA studies The AMBA 2012 Salary Survey showed that 29 per cent of respondents received some form ofcorporate sponsorship towards their studies; by 2014 the same survey showed a drop to 21 per cent. New funding sources, such as crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending have evolved over the last couple of years, and are likely to increase in popularity – and are certainly going to become a trend in 2015. Crowd funding is where prospective students borrow capital from those interested in supporting MBA studies as an investment. Several are available, such as Prodigy Finance and SoFi. Prodigy now provides loans to MBA students at 18 AMBA-accredited schools, with more in the pipeline. Investors, primarily alumni of these schools, invest in one class of students. Rather than focusing on credit history, Prodigy uses a predictive model that calculates borrowers’ potential future income. Peer-to-peer lender SoFi (Social Finance) only offer tuition loans to employed graduates – so whilst not ideal for all, they are ideal for anyone who wishes to study for an EMBA on a part-time basis. Wider range of specialisations Highly popular about 10 years ago, MBA specialisations are making a comeback. However, those now being offered have changed. Previously, most were still related to established MBA topics – Finance, Marketing, Strategy and Technology –...

MBAs Are Part Of The Problem, Not The Solution...

In my early days as a financial journalist, I worked for the Anglo-French publisher Sir James Goldsmith. Although I can’t say I knew him well, he was a presence around the building, and he went on to provide a fulsome commendation for a book I published in 1995. One of his memorable characteristics was his scorn for MBAs, whom he viewed as at best overeducated windbags. Hardly an ivory tower theoretician, he had never been to university but nonetheless ranked as one of Europe’s wealthiest self-made tycoons. He had thus earned his right to an opinion. Nothing I have learned in the interim (in a career spent mainly in the United States and Japan) has undermined my confidence in his skepticism. Quite the contrary. Perhaps the most telling evidence against the value of a business school education is in the various attempts to rank business schools around the world. There seems to be an inverse law at work: those nations with the most lackluster economies seem to score highest in the business school rankings. Meanwhile nations with outstandingly successful economies are nowhere in the rankings. Take the latest Financial Times list. No fewer than fifty schools in the top 100 are in the United States alone. Meanwhile the United Kingdom boasts thirteen, Canada five, Australia three, and Ireland one. Thus the total for the Anglophone bloc is 72. Not bad for nations boasting less than 7 percent of the world’s population…Read full story:...

Oxford Business Dean: MBA Programs Should Be More Than Driving Schools...

To some degree, MBA programs are advanced driving schools. We teach students how to operate one of the most powerful engines in the world: business. We teach how this engine must be finely engineered (operations), how it needs special fuel (finance), and how the parts need to work together (organization and leadership). We teach how to monitor the gauges carefully (accounting), how to steer our vehicles at high speeds and through rough weather (strategy). Extending the metaphor, we have, in recent years, updated our curricula with modules on “Why do we drive?”—an existential question answered by legal principles such as fiduciary duties, philosophy, social norms, and even faith-based traditions like Catholic social theory. Why drives the recognition that businesses have responsibilities not only to shareholders but also to customers, employees, the communities in which they operate, and future generations. This discussion is healthy and overdue. To torture the metaphor just a bit more, we’re missing one step: Exactly where should our graduates head? Business schools have been largely agnostic on this question. Our failure to address where has subverted the evaluation of business schools and the content of our programs. Salary and salary growth, to a large degree, are key factors determining where MBA programs find themselves on various rankings by publications. Implicitly, this approach dictates where: Send your graduates to the highest-paying jobs… Read full story:...

Overcome Stiff B-School Competition as an International Applicant...

The number of international students applying to MBA programs in the United States has tripled over the last thirty years. Take Harvard Business School for example, the school reports that in 1985 their international bids made up 13% of their application pool. In 2015, the number of international applicants to HBS increased to 34% of the total application to the school. Over the last five to ten years, there has been a notable surge in international applications to MBA programs. This is especially true of candidates from countries such as India, China, and Brazil. India alone has experienced a 24% increase in candidates taking the GMAT in the past five years and Brazil a 37% increase. Since 2010, there has been a 90% increase in the exam being taken in China. We can derive a similar jump was experienced in MBA applications for these countries. MBA programs located in the United States continue to seek top international candidates to bring a truly global mindset to their business schools. However, the competitiveness from this surge has been compounded by a desire from U.S. employers to maintain a significant portion of U.S. citizens and green card holders. This is due to the complications and costs of obtaining visas for foreign students who wish to remain in the U.S. Over the last decade, I have seen and I have personally worked with many international applicants who were successful in the MBA admissions process. In order to achieve the same success, employ some of the following tips. 1. You should differentiate yourself from other applicants from the same region and similar professions. When applying to business school, you are not competing against the entire pool of applicants, instead, you are competing against applicants...

MBA Degrees Are Best Route To Coveted Senior Banking Ranks...

A business school education is still one of the best routes to senior roles in the financial services industry, according to a new analysis of London-based bankers. An MBA improves bankers’ chances of reaching the top, with 21% of banks’ managing directors – typically the top rank at banks apart from Goldman Sachs – having obtained the degree. The figures were compiled based on analysis of data from 1,650 finance employees in front office positions at London banks by Emolument.com, a salary benchmarking website. “MBAs are a hot topic in tough economic times,” said Thomas Drewry, CEO at Emolument. It will be welcome news for business students, who have entered the financial sector in fewer numbers as banks have faced reputational challenges, and increased regulation since the crisis. At London Business School in 2007, 46% of MBA students got jobs in finance, but in 2013 only 28% did. At Chicago’s Booth School of Business, the number of students landing jobs in investment banking fell from 30% in 2007 to just 16% last year…Read full story:...

Be a Standout U.S. Applicant for European MBA Programs...

Prospective MBA students who want to get their degrees quickly can apply to one-year, domestic MBA programs, which are a growing offering in the U.S. But if they want the same quick experience, while also getting a global perspective, an MBA overseas may be a better option. European schools typically offer full-time programs that are shorter than two years, experts say. And applicants who choose one of these programs may not have to worry about being the lone North American transplant in class. In 2014, 35 percent of full-time, one-year European MBA schools saw an increase in foreign applicants, according to a report from the Graduate Management Admission Council. The hardships that come with getting into top-ranked U.S. business schools may be encouraging some applicants to look abroad, says Kaneisha Grayson, who runs The Art of Applying, an admissions consulting company. “Students are getting weary of the sheer competitiveness,” says Grayson, who graduated from Harvard Business School. While MBA programs in Europe can certainly be tough to get into, she says, some U.S. students might be able to sell themselves better with international schools…Read full story: U.S. News & World...

Five things to know about working abroad after an MBA...

Many young professionals choose an international MBA for one very specific reason: they want to expand their horizons by working in a culture much different than their own. Those who come from countries with emerging economies boost their chances of finding work this way, because developing nations are offering up an abundance of opportunities these days. Why? Developing nations now make up more than half of the world’s GDP. That’s big news. But it takes more than just skills and brains to be successful in a cultural environment that is not your own. This is why cross-cultural competency is one of the top skills employers demand. Without instruction or exposure to working with various cultures, MBAs can fall into cultural traps that can derail their attempts to become employed in a “new” country. Here are my top five recommendations for avoiding cultural missteps when beginning your quest to work abroad. 1) Be open-minded (and be aware!) about the international markets that are currently full of promise, and the skills they require. Some markets simply have more demand and availability for international managers than others. Right now, we see a lot of demand from employers for managerial talent in places like Panama (which is being very open-minded about immigration these days), China, India, Poland, Russia, the UAE (Dubai) and much of Latin America. But know this: not all markets are created equal. Some have stringent visa requirements, and for many, fluency in multiple languages, especially the native language, is a must (this is particularly true in China). Do yourself a favor and study local market conditions and visa requirements before you spend a lot of time applying for jobs in a particular area. 2) Don’t change too much about yourself...

The ROI Of B-School – Reach, Opportunities And Income...

There is no shortage of predictions about the grim future of business education. Disruptive technology, escalating costs, staffing issues, and market competition are high on the list of challenges faced by business schools, big and small. But ask alumni about the value of their business degree and you get an overwhelming endorsement. Indeed a new survey shows that business school alumni earn more, rise fast, and expand their opportunities. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) surveyed more than 12,000 graduate business school alumni from more than 230 graduate business programs at 71 universities in 16 locations across the globe. The results of their 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report offer a global snapshot of employment and career progression for alumni representing the classes of 1959 through 2014. Ninety percent of business school alumni say graduate management education boosted their earning power, with many climbing to the executive ranks, and reporting high levels of job satisfaction. Graduates gave overall high marks to the value of their education in driving their professional success, as well as positive reviews to their business school’s alumni association, with a majority saying their engagement with these associations has contributed to their success. “Graduate management degree-holders consistently tell GMAC their education is a solid investment and a spur to personal, professional and financial achievement, even in up-and-down economies,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC. “A graduate management education isn’t just a degree, it’s a career catalyst.” With many business schools reporting the strongest MBA job market for years, and an employer survey that shows nine out of ten employers intending to hire b-school graduates in 2015, this comes as more welcome news for the industry. The GMAC survey shows that an MBA or other graduate...

Students feel benefits of an online MBA – even before graduation...

For ambitious executives looking to make the next step in their career, an additional qualification can seem like a good move. And with an ever-growing number of courses available via distance learning, their goal is now closer than ever. Most business schools offer a range of courses online, from the classic MBA to more specialised masters’ programmes in fields including marketing, finance and HR. While some involve the option of a face-to-face segment of the course, many can be completed without the need to physically attend the university at all. But for those considering this option there are several key questions. What does distance learning involve? How do the courses differ from those taken face-to-face? Can it fit in with a busy, and sometimes unpredictable, working life? And, crucially, is it worth it? For Travis Callaway, the answer to that last question is unequivocally yes. Callaway, who graduated last year, took the global MBA at Durham University while working in sports advertising in his native Canada. And already he has seen the effects. “I’ve been given more responsibility and a pay bump, and had I not taken the course there’s no way that would have happened,” he says. And he is not alone. Research from the Forte Foundation published last year suggests that MBA students can expect an average pay increase of 35-45 per cent on graduation, rising to 55-65 per cent five years later. Callaway, 29, has been working in sports advertising since completing his first degree at 21. But although he had been promoted several times, he thought an MBA would give his career the boost he was looking for. “Career progression was the main factor for me, and it’s always good to get new skills,” he...

Business school education a solid investment: Survey...

Business school (B-School) alumni say management courses help them earn more compensation, exercise enhanced purchasing power and rise to executive ranks, according to the findings of a Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey of about 12,000 B-School alumni. The results of the 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report offer a global snapshot of employment and career progression for graduate business school alumni representing batches 1959 through 2014. Of those surveyed, most said their engagement with their respective business school alumni associations contributed to their success. “Graduate management degree-holders consistently tell GMAC their education is a solid investment and a spur to personal, professional and financial achievement, even in up-and-down economies,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and chief executive of GMAC. Conducted in October-November 2014, the survey covered the alumni of about 230 graduate business programmes at 71 universities, in 16 locations across the globe. Of those surveyed, 95 per cent rated their graduate management education as ‘good to outstanding’; 93 per cent said they would recommend their graduate business programme to others. Further, 90 per cent credited graduate management education with increasing their earning power. In developed, as well as developing, economies, graduate management alumni exercise enhanced purchasing power. A global analysis of their salaries by work location in relation to gross domestic product (GDP) and purchasing-power-parity per capita shows the purchasing power of business school alumni is 1.6-6.8 times that of an average resident of the country concerned.Read full story: Business...

MBA In Marijuana? Six Colleges Now Offer Courses...

Are you trying to make a decision about which major to choose and wish you could get an MBA in marijuana management? If so, your day has arrived. As the marijuana business becomes legal, colleges offering courses in the industry are following. In particular, six colleges have added classes in marijuana business management or law to their course offerings — and they promise that it is a better business decision than changing your name to Taylor Spliff like Diplo. The latest addition to this type of marijuana college education is Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. ABC News was the first to post about the decision the college made to offer a marijuana business class and interviewed the professor teaching the course. Shad Ewart stated that he felt “like we were doing a disservice to our students by not having a class like this.” Students currently attending Ewart’s class called “Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Emerging Markets: Marijuana Legalization,” will be educated on dealing with the finer points of sales and helping states to legalize marijuana. CBS News also covered the story about Anne Arundel Community College and said the marijuana business course offers information on the history of marijuana, tax and economic impact of legalization, and the regulatory issues surrounding marijuana…Read full story: The...

Do entrepreneurs need an MBA?

Before explaining why I think business school is wrong for today’s entrepreneurs, I must start with a confession: I almost went to business school. It was 1997 and I had left a job in strategy consulting because I wanted to start my own business. I knew I needed more experience and would benefit from meeting mentors, potential business partners and like-minded peers. But the world was changing fast and the internet was taking off. In the event, I decided I did not have the time and opted instead for intensive on-the-job learning. Within 10 months, I was ready to co-found my first internet business, the travel booking website lastminute.com. If I had studied for an MBA, I would have had to spend two years in the classroom while I felt an urgency to get started. With hindsight, the naivety, optimism and ignorance about the challenges ahead may have served me well. Traditional business school education teaches students how to manage big companies not how to found start-ups. Some programmes do now try to teach entrepreneurial skills but most are struggling to adapt fast enough to meet changing circumstances and demand. Even devising an academic programme to produce entrepreneurs would be virtually impossible. Some of the most important qualities in an entrepreneur are tenacity, determination and an ability to embrace uncertainty and risk. Business schools can’t teach that. Then there is the time and expense. Two years is a long time to spend in full-time education when you are young, full of ideas and already have a degree. Entrepreneurs must have an appetite for risk, but debt-laden students may understandably find theirs is diminished. Many will be inclined to seek corporate jobs where their ability to repay debt is more...