Articles from CNBC

6 questions to ask yourself before taking the MBA plunge...

Choosing whether to go to business school is a big decision. On one hand, an MBA could propel your career or business. But it comes with a hefty price tag in terms of time, tuition and lost wages. Students, alumni and university staff gave us the lowdown on how to make the big decision of whether to take the MBA plunge. Here are six questions to ask yourself to help you decide. 1. Why do I want to get an MBA? Don’t just get a degree to get a degree, professors and students said. Instead, think about what you want for yourself over the next five to 10 years. “I think it’s important for [prospective applicants] to think about their career goals in a more long-term perspective. Candidates for MBA programs may say, ‘I want to go because I want to start my own business.’ But you know, life changes. Three years from now, their plans and aspirations may change,” said Stefanos Zenios, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’s director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “They may decide that they want to work for a large organization or a high-growth company. So they should take a holistic view of their plans — of what is plan A and what is plan B, and how an MBA will help them achieve those goals,” Zenios said. 2. Can I improve my leadership skills? Getting an MBA is just as much a personal decision as it is a professional one. Kyle Jensen, an entrepreneur himself and the Yale School of Management associate dean and director of entrepreneurship, said one of the most important questions is about leadership. “Do I need to learn to be a better leader? If the answer is...

How to get the most out of an MBA

For Katia Beauchamp, attending business school wasn’t just a “pivotal moment,” it was also where the Birchbox CEO found her co-founder. The pair met while attending the same Harvard Business School class and later launched beauty start-up Birchbox, which has raised $71.9 million in funding to date. Beauchamp describes her time at business school as “monumental.” Her best advice for current and upcoming students? “To really be there,” she said. “It’s a real opportunity to really question what you really want your life to be,” she said. While getting an MBA comes with a steep price tag (lost wages, tuition and housing costs to name a few), the degree can help students transition careers and move up the corporate ladder. So how should students maximize the investment? Come with an open mind It’s crucial for students to stay in their “stretch zone” rather than their comfort zone, said Maura Herson, MIT Sloan School of Management’s MBA program director. This can be a tough mental transition to make, especially for students who are used to being superstars at work and then arrive on campus surrounded by equally driven people. “If you come into it thinking you’re an expert, you’re not going to maximize your learning,” she said. Introduce yourself (on repeat…) “Equally if not more important than the knowledge you’re acquiring” is the network you’re building, Herson said. She cited the example of a student who had tea with someone new each day to get to know more people at Sloan. At the end of the day, what’s the marginal utility of one more problem set versus getting to know a couple more classmates, she added. Fight the FOMO “Everyone seems to be doing something cool or interesting so how...

Is an MBA really worth it? Billionaire Tilman Fertitta has your answer...

If you’re debating whether or not to get a Master of Business Administration, billionaire Tilman Fertitta has some advice for you. “Let me just say this, God gave me a gift of understanding business, but if God didn’t give you that gift and you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to be a business person, go get your MBA,” said Fertitta, CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, which owns Landry’s and the Golden Nugget casinos. Going back to school can be a difficult decision. Getting an MBA can come with a steep price tag. Tuition at top schools can reach north of $60,000 per year in addition to lost wages while away from the workforce. But what if you have an undergraduate degree in business? “[I] don’t even care if you major in business and finance, you just don’t get a grasp of the problems and the experience unless you get your master’s,” he said about undergraduate school. “And that’s just from dealing with people over the years that were young, that had an MBA or didn’t have an MBA that I could personally communicate with.” It’s all about knowing your strengths and weakness , he said. The self-made business titan definitely knows what he’s good at, and what he’s bad at. “I know that I can’t play a musical instrument. I know that I can’t change an oil filter on a car. But you can bring me any kind of business issue or problem, and I will detect it and tell you what the problem is and the solution within a few minutes,” he said. So is business school worth it? If you know you have a knack for business, Fertitta said, “Don’t worry about it.” tilm”I’m for...

Stanford to MBAs: Study now, start-up later

In an environment of billion-dollar valuations for private companies and cloud-based software that makes start-up launches easier than ever, staying focused on academics can be challenging. Should you hit the books, or try to launch the next, great start-up when the idea and capital strike? Over the last few years, as the economy has recovered, Garth Saloner, outgoing dean of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, has watched the number of MBA graduates who launch ventures (in founding roles) rise to 16 percent for the class of 2015, slightly lower than the all-time high of 18 percent of graduates reached two years ago. “We’ve never seen that before. It’s a big number,” Saloner said. A decade ago that figure was in the single digits. Of course, graduates launching start-ups is something to laud and a testament to Stanford’s competitive two-year MBA program that can open a lot of doors in Silicon Valley. U.S. News & World Report ranked Stanford University’s business school No. 1 for 2015, and edged out Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton. On the other hand, more ventures founded out of business school also suggests students are spending a huge bulk of time creating ventures. Aspiring entrepreneurs may not be taking full advantage of lessons from professors and visiting professionals during the business school program. “What gives me pause is when students get so engaged in the start-up itself in the second year that they devote their energy to it at the expense of their second year,” said Saloner in an interview earlier this month. “That’s a lost opportunity.” Read MoreWomen closing the gender gap for entrepreneurship By the way, it’s not like Stanford business school students are dropping out in droves for start-up...

Perfect GMAT won’t help you get into this B school...

It’s not even November and Harvard has already denied students acceptance to its MBA program. While it comes as no surprise that about 89 out of every 100 applicants are turned down for admission to Harvard Business School, the true shock is that many of the first round “dings” made by HBS happen to impressive candidates. According to the business education website, Poets & Quants, around 60 out of those 89 candidates refused admission are highly qualified students who have stellar GMAT scores and extracurricular activities. The site revealed the profiles of candidates who were rejected before the notoriously competitive, first round of admission interviews. Three out of the applicants who submitted their profiles have “nosebleed-territory” GMAT scores of 780, which would put them in the 99th percentile of test takers in the world. They also boast near-perfect GPAs with extensive accomplishments and professional experience. One of the candidates rejected without an interview listed that he is a Stanford University graduate who manages a strategy team for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “This case surprises me because not only are the statistics for this person very high, but he is also a rare case of a candidate in the aerospace industry,” said Sanford Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com and an admissions consultant who specializes in Harvard MBA applications. “Aerospace is a recognized, if not beloved, industry at Harvard Business School.” In this instance, Kreisberg speculated that there are several reasons the student was eliminated from the first round of interviews such as a poor written application or an admissions board mistake. Still, Kreisberg explained that with an admissions rate of about 11 percent, Harvard rejects a lot of candidates with high test scores because HBS is looking to build a class...

Why a Harvard MBA is the fastest route to the corner or Oval office...

As a new crop of Harvard Business School students arrive for class this fall, they can expect to bulk up on mandatory first-year fundamentals such as financial reporting, leadership and organizational behavior. Meanwhile, second-year students are offered a wider range of elective courses that reflect the changing times, with increased emphasis on overseas travel, hands-on workshops and case studies on disruptor startups like Buzzfeed. It is “mission critical” to have first-hand experience in emerging markets, Felix Oberholzer-Gee, HBS senior associate dean, told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” this week. “Students must be globalized and diversified,” Oberholzer-Gee said. “We take them out of the classroom for extended periods of time, teach them competitive strategies beyond our borders. It’s imperative for any future leader to be completely global.” Unlike HBS students of five or 10 years ago, the current MBA class is less likely to end up at marquee firms like Goldman Sachs or Google because the tough post-recession job market has led many business-minded grads to eschew traditional jobs, and strike out on their own. Oberholzer-Gee said he thinks that’s not such a bad thing. “Today’s millennial graduates want to skip middle management and take on greater responsibility earlier on in their careers,” said Oberholzer-Gee. “Unknown micro-businesses with relatively shallow hierarchies have become much more attractive.” In 1908, with a faculty of 15 professors and 80 inaugural students, Harvard was the first school to establish a Master of Business Administration program. The program, which today has 936 full-time students and tuition topping $58,875 per year, is widely considered to be the gold standard for business leadership in Wall Street, Silicon Valley and other major economic sectors. It also is often one of the fastest routes to the corner office—or Oval Office—than any...

MBA Programs Start to Follow Silicon Valley Into the Data Age...

Greg Pass, the former chief technology officer of Twitter, put the matter succinctly. The M.B.A., he observed, is “a challenged brand.” That’s because the degree suggests a person steeped in finance and corporate strategy rather than in the digital-age arts of speed and constant experimentation — and in skills like A/B testing, rapid prototyping and data-driven decision making, the bread and butter of Silicon Valley. Those skills are not just for high-tech start-ups. They are required now in every industry. And leading business schools are struggling to keep pace. Mr. Pass is on the faculty at Cornell Tech in New York, where an innovative new program brings M.B.A. candidates and graduate students in computer science together. Meanwhile, across the country, colleges are adding new courses in statistics, data science and A/B testing, which often involves testing different web page designs to see which attracts more traffic. Business plan competitions have become common. Students’ ideas usually have a digital component — websites, smartphone apps or sensor data — and prizes are up to $100,000 or more. Innovation and entrepreneurship centers have proliferated. Dual-degree programs, with a science or engineering degree added to an M.B.A., are increasing. Graduate business schools have picked up the digital ethos of experimentation and new ventures. At the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 150 elective courses are offered; 28 percent of those did not exist last year. “We’re responding to the best practices we see in the outside world like A/B testing and working with massive data sets,” said Garth Saloner, dean of the Stanford business school. “We’re adapting.”..Read full story:...

Getting an MBA may be cheaper than you think

Are you thinking about a business degree? Are you worried about the cost? Relax. A number of top business schools are now doling out substantial quantities of financial aid. So says a new survey of business school financial aid offers by the business education website Poets & Quants, which found that the top 25 business schools are awarding an estimated $232.7 million in grants in the current school year. At Rice University, about 94 percent of students are receiving some financial aid, for example. And Harvard Business School is giving away about $31.5 million, spread among 65 percent of its 1,868 students, according Poets & Quants. “Every one of [these schools] is discounting, and some of them are discounting fairly aggressively,” said John Byrne, editor in chief of Poets & Quants, adding that “the scholarship game has really heated up” over the past five years. UCLA’s Anderson School of Management more than doubled its funding from $5.8 million to $12.1 million in the last five years, for example, and the average grant awarded by Washington University’s Olin Business School rose from $26,200 to $31,328. But the financial aid largesse is not limited to the top schools. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, 96 percent of full-time, two-year MBA programs offered financial aid in the 2013-2014 year. (Those awards may help offset some of the increase in business school tuition: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business reports that tuition rose an average of 23.2 percent for North American business schools between the 2007-08 and 2011-12 academic years.)…Read full story:...

Highest paid graduating MBA ever? $1.8 million...

Talk about a return on investment. A graduate of the MBA program at the Sloan school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will earn $1.8 million in total compensation in the first year out of school, according to a post on the business education website Poets & Quants, which pulled the number from Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s annual B-school rankings. A spokesman for Sloan told the website that the figure could be accurate, but would not fully confirm it. “It’s $1,825,000, about 11 times the highest reported $165,000 base salary at Sloan last year,” said Poets & Quants. “And it’s not even at a hedge fund or private equity firm, these days the organizations that offer the most lucrative MBA jobs in the market. It is for an unnamed real estate company. If the self-reported number is true, it would in all likelihood be the highest first-year comp for an MBA graduate ever. The number was supplied by a graduating MBA who completed the (Bloomberg BusinessWeek) magazine’s ranking survey.”Read full story:...

How you’ll earn an MBA degree in the future...

In a quarter of a century, most business students will never enter a classroom. The faculty lectures, the MBA student discussions and the homework assignments will occur instead over the Internet, where each part of the educational experience can be played as many times as it takes to fully absorb or satisfy, as if it were a Seinfeld rerun. The world’s most famous professors will more likely be compelling teachers—rather than journal-published researchers—and many of them will be free agents, unattached to a single university. Technology will allow for free-agent faculty, able to teach directly to students, with the university being what it will increasingly be viewed as: just another middleman taking a profit. Professors won’t need an affiliation with a university, because technology will allow them to create their own brands. The costs of academic learning will plummet. And much of education will be modular in nature. Students will pick and choose from the best professors and the best colleges and universities worldwide to construct a degree of choice. There will be little need to go to one school for several years and sit in classrooms with other students. The greatest asset universities now hold—the ability to grant a degree—will have so greatly diminished in value that it will become little more than a quant notion for the...