Last updated: January 27, 2010 4:47 pm

MBA 2010 Q&A

Q&A: MBA 2010

Concerned about the escalating costs of studying for a full-time MBA programme, together with the shortage of jobs for graduating students, many would-be participants are thinking twice about applying to business school this year. Is an MBA still worth the money? And given the extraordinary economic volatility of the past year, is this the right time to study for an MBA?

On Wednesday January 27 between 14.00 and 15.00 GMT , a panel of experts answered your questions on studying for an MBA. To continue the debate go to FT Business Education forums.

On the panel were:

Della Bradshaw, business education editor of the Financial Times

Sarah Harper, head of recruiting for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Goldman Sachs, the investment bank. Sarah is responsible for the firm’s full-time and internship hiring across the region.

George Daly, one of the most experienced deans in US business schools. He has held the top job at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University since November 2005. Prior to this he was dean at both NYU Stern and the College of Business Administration at the University of Iowa.

Chioma Isiadinso, chief executive of Expartus, the admissions consultancy and personal branding organisation. Ms Isiadinso, who formerly worked in the admissions departments at both Harvard Business School and Carnegie Mellon University, set up Expartus in 2002. She is author of The Best Business Schools’ Admissions Secret. Watch Ms Isiadinso’s video on applying to business school.

Rahul Bajaj, a final year MBA student at the Chicago Booth business school. He is also an MBA diary writer and blog contributor for the Financial Times.

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I have been working as marketing officer for the last 5 years and now I am working in finance (looking after all bank transactions.) Now, I am confused about whether to study for an MBA in marketing or in finance (part-time). Please could you offer any guidance?
Bholenath, Maharashtra

Chioma Isiadinso: It depends on what your long term goal is. Do you plan to remain in finance? In what capacity? Are you considering returning to marketing? Why did you switch to finance in the first place? I would advise you to start with the end goal in mind and then determine what steps, skills, and experiences are necessary to achieve your objectives. If your heart is set on a career in finance, you should consider a part-time program that is strong in this area. The same goes for marketing. If on the other hand, you ultimately want to lead or manage a division or a cross functional team, you may want to consider a MBA with a strong foundation in general management and the flexibility to take courses across all functional areas including finance and marketing.

Sarah Harper: The most important things for you to consider as you make your decision are

a) what you are genuinely most interested in studying (which you will therefore likely be most successful at)

b) where you see your career taking you over the next five years – i.e., will you continue down the finance route or move back into marketing

c) which business schools which you would consider applying to offer the best courses in both subjects. Hopefully thinking all of these things through will help you make your decision.

George Daly: First, most MBA programs are flexible enough to allow you to take a substantial number of courses in each area, i.e. it is not an either/or choice. Second, in career choices I feel that your personal passion for the area is the best and most reliable guide to making a sound choice.

Rahul Bajaj: Even if you are doing your MBA part-time, I would highly recommend that you get good exposure to not just one discipline that you think is important for your immediate career path, but to a plethora of disciplines. Build a toolkit of skills that have a broad application in the world of business. You may choose to specialize in one or two areas, but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you completely ignore disciplines and make your MBA uni-dimensional. Life and careers are uncertain; prepare yourself by being well rounded.

Della Bradshaw: The answer is that it depends where you want to go in the next five to 10 years: marketing or finance? If you don’t know, or you want to continue working in both areas, then why not study for a generalist MBA?

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I plan to study for a full-time MBA in 2011 and I would like to work in consulting in the future. Which are the best EU schools I could look at?
Dario Maglione, Italy, Rome

Chioma Isiadinso: I commend you for starting early to investigate which schools would be the best fit for you. There are a variety of great European Business Schools such as INSEAD, London Business School, Esade, IE, IMD, and Iese, that will prepare you for a career in consulting. I recommend that you look at the Financial Times 2010 rankings of business schools to create a list of possible schools. You will then need to research the schools thoroughly to ascertain which ones are the best fit for you and your career objectives.

Start with the schools’ websites and find out the industries that alumni tend to go into, the companies that recruit at the schools, and where these companies are based. But more importantly, take the time to speak with students and alumni of the schools as well as visit the campus to gauge whether it is a good fit for you.

It is not clear whether you are a career changer looking to enter the consulting industry for the first time. If that is the case, when you visit the schools, you may want to find out the experience of students with a similar background. Research the resources available at each of the MBA programs to make sure you will receive the support you need to achieve your career goal. Consider doing an internship or taking on a consulting project to gain relevant experience that will help you secure employment in your area of interest.

Sarah Harper: There are many great business schools you could consider including London Business School, Judge (Cambridge), Said (Oxford), INSEAD (France), IESE (Spain). It will be important as you understand the differences between the courses they offer and the opportunities in terms of internships and full time employment their students tend to have within consulting.

Rahul Bajaj: I would encourage you to also look at US schools. A big chunk of my class at Chicago Booth is drawn from Europe, and most of them intend to work in Europe post-MBA. So, it doesn’t really matter where you go in terms of geography for your MBA - the best programs put you in a great position to chart a career anywhere in the world. Choose a school based on the strength of its academics, not where it is located. The best schools will put you in a position to go anywhere.

Della Bradshaw: The best European school for you would be the one that fits your lifestyle and career aspirations. Talk to the schools themselves about who their recruiters are, and look at the sort of firms you want to work in - where did their bosses get their MBAs? Although there is a perception that European MBAs are on-year in length, this is simply not true. There are programmes that are 10.5 months long and others last two years. So choose your course length and structure and then choose the country in which you want to work on graduation. That should narrow down the field a bit. The FT business schools map might help you narrow down your choice further.

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I just graduated from a University in Australia. I am currently working with an audit company and thinking about whether to pursue my MBA in Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in Austria.

I am keen to learn a new culture, language etc. However, my friend told me that most of the employers prefer candidates who possess work experience more than a piece of paper. I understand that it’s not easy to find a job nowadays in certain countries during the financial crisis.

Below are my questions:

a) Is it worth studying for an MBA if employers put more emphasis on work experience than academic experience?

b) Is it preferable for an auditor to take professional qualifications rather than an MBA?

c) What criteria do most EU employers look for when they hire Asian candidates especially in big companies?
Kim Koay, Malaysia

Sarah Harper: a) If you feel that an MBA will add to your skill set - both in terms of education as well as some of the ‘softer’ skills such as communication - then it is difficult to see that this would not make you more attractive to an employer. Having said that, work experience is also of course very attractive as you learn and develop relevant skills ‘on the job’. Depending on what field and specific firm/s you want to work in, the importance on one vs the other will differ so it will be important to do your research on potential employers before making your decision.

b) Deciding whether to take professional qualifications vs studying for an MBA will depend on what your end goal is. For example, if you are looking to move into an investment bank it would be advisable to take professional qualifications if you are keen to stay within your field, however if you would like to move into a different sort of role, studying for an MBA will provide you with new skill sets which would equip you well for changing direction.

c) It is difficult to talk on behalf of other firms but we are looking to hire the best and most suitable person for every job, regardless of where they come from and will aim to support them with obtaining a visa if this is what is required.

Rahul Bajaj: a) Many people want to know what the “return on investment” of their MBA is, or how employers will “value” it, etc. Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize winning economist at the University of Chicago has demonstrated that returns to “human capital” are real and significant. I think the proper framework here is to think in terms of increasing your “human capital.” Studying for an MBA is certainly a major way in which you can increase your “human capital,” especially if you want to pursue a career in business. Work experience is important too, but that doesn’t in any way take away from the significant gains you will certainly realize by increasing your “human capital.” I don’t think it is an either/ or choice.

b) That depends on what you want to do for the rest of your life. If you want to be an auditor for the rest of your life, and don’t have ambitions beyond that, then maybe it might make sense for you to gain technical knowledge in the field of auditing. However, if you have ambitions beyond your current specific role, I would say get an MBA and don’t go so narrow.

Della Bradshaw: In my experience employers value both work experience and qualifications - an MBA or MSc degree will make you a more credible candidate regardless of work experience. However, if you want to stick to auditing, I would suggest an auditing qualification would be a more appropriate qualification at this early stage of your career.

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I do have an MBA from a top business school in India and this was right after my graduation. Now, I have close to 13 years experience in Management and IT consulting in a senior leadership position in an US firm. I would like to understand how an EMBA would help me and the potential impact it could have on my career.
Chakradhar Gooty, London

Chioma Isiadinso: The EMBA is designed to help senior managers to strengthen their leadership, broaden their global perspective and shore-up their business skills across multiple business functions like finance, marketing, operations, and human capital development. But it goes way beyond that. It offers a chance for students to build a global network and sharpen their softer skills through team engagement with classmates from around the globe.

The fact that you have achieved a senior leadership role in Management and IT consulting sounds like the earlier MBA has been useful. The question for you is “why do you feel it is necessary to pursue another MBA degree?” The EMBA requires significant time commitment and financial investment so you have to decide whether it is necessary and worth it. I would take a step back and pinpoint what you feel is missing in your current skill set that an EMBA would give you. Perhaps, you may find that instead of an EMBA, executive education programs, given the fact that they are short term, less expensive, and focus on specific skill areas, may meet your objective. Ultimately, this is a personal decision that you will need to make based on where you are in your career and what you wish to achieve.

George Daly: I think that EMBA programs tend to rely more on the students themselves as a rich source of educational experience. This is not surprising since the typical student will have considerably more and higher level job experience than the typical student in and MBA program. In fact, it is not uncommon for students in EMBA programs to start businesses together. I especially like EMBA programs, such as our Georgetown-ESADE program, that draw a very diverse set of international executives and are delivered across the globe.

Della Bradshaw: It would certainly give you the latest management thinking and lots of friends. Although an MBA (from the right school) has kudos in almost every country, they are particularly valued in US companies.

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My question is not whether MBA studies should be abolished but what direction should they take?
Jack Aschkenazi, USA

Rahul Bajaj: I am glad that you don’t think MBA studies should be abolished! They are wonderful value generators for the whole global economy as a whole; so even from a public policy standpoint, abolishing MBA studies would be a value destroying activity. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the MBA programs even in the current economic environment - or at least with the program I’m in (Chicago Booth). If you came to get the MBA to increase your “human capital,” then you won’t be disappointed (provided you are in a fairly rigorous program where you are learning hard skills). The skills taught in a good MBA program are fundamental to being effective in business administration. If you approach the MBA as just an “option” to switch careers or get a high paying job, then the current economic climate might leave you disappointed. The bottom line is that if you want to learn and become a better manager, the MBA is the way to go.

Della Bradshaw: The issue is how do you match the aspirations of students (to get a great job) with those of faculty (to do research and disseminate that information as widely as possible) and those of society in general (to create wealth). It’s never been an easy task but I think there is a growing emphasis on the third of the three elements, through social enterprise initiatives, for example. My co-panelist Rahul Bajaj wrote a fantastic piece on what he thinks has been the value of his MBA at Chicago - “Chicago calling”.

Well worth a read!

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I am considering getting an MBA online. I am now living in Japan and have 5 years of experience. I am a native English speaker so an online program would be the best fit. Are the online programs ranked the same as the regular MBA programs associated with each b-school or do they have a different ranking?
H Lowry, Japan

Sarah Harper: Yes, the online MBA courses are ranked separately and in fact the traditional MBA schools do not tend to offer an online option. As you research which course to do, it might be worth trying to speak to a couple of people who have completed them to understand what they found worthwhile and what some of the challenges were with distance learning before you commit.

Rahul Bajaj: A lot of the learning that goes on in MBA programs takes the form of learning from peers in a classroom setting. Professors often bring their most cutting-edge research into the classroom and have the best and the brightest students take their theories apart. That creates a wonderful learning experience unlike any other. I am not sure how closely that is approximated in an online MBA program. If you can, I would highly recommend you enrol on a regular program.

Della Bradshaw: The FT doesn’t rank online programmes, although we do a listing every March listing the top programmes. You will find this here:

FT Online MBA listing

So, when we rank a school in the MBA rankings, the online programmes would not be included in the survey. (Schools such IE Business School, in Spain, or Manchester Business School, in the UK, are two schools where we rank the full-time MBA programme in our MBA rankings, but separately list the online degree in the March listing.)

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I did my Bachelors in Accounting and Finance. I do not have much work experience and I am an average student. There is a lot of competition here, therefore what can I do to stand out and be admitted to a good MBA school?
Adeel Musaddiq, Pakistan

Chioma Isiadinso: You are right, admission to a good business school is very competitive with many schools accepting only 10-20% of the applicants. The good news, however, is that schools do not automatically eliminate candidates if they are not star academic performers. The admission board evaluates applicants on multiple levels including the combination of their GMAT performance and their academic transcript, leadership potential and impact both at work and outside of work, as well as other variables such as maturity, self awareness, and cross cultural astuteness.

What should you do to stand out? First, when you say you are an average student, what do you mean? How rigorous was your curriculum? What is the reputation of your school? What were the circumstances surrounding your academic performance? It’s easier to overcome an average transcript if the person was working extensively to pay for school or had personal family obligations that took time away from the studies. To make yourself more competitive you need to have very strong GMAT performance to mitigate the weak academic transcript. Give yourself enough time to prepare for the GMAT by taking a class or through self study.

Regarding your limited work experience, you should consider not just the quantity but also the quality of your experience. What types of projects have you worked on? Have you had the opportunity to manage a part of a project or have you been given additional responsibility that is unusual at your level? If the work has been mundane, then you may want to postpone your MBA and strengthen your work experience prior to applying.

Given the value placed on leadership and managerial potential, you should seek out leadership roles within your firm to develop a track record in this area. Also, identify something you are passionate about that you can volunteer for in your community. This will enable you to strengthen your leadership and provide you with meaningful material you can write about in your application essays to stand apart from your competition.

Finally, strong applications are backed up by recommenders so invest in building strong relationships with individuals who will write your reference letters to ensure that they understand your brand, achievements, and goals. The best reference letters are those written by supervisors who have concrete examples that illustrate the impact and contributions you have had on your group and organization.

George Daly: I would suggest that you get as much meaningful job experience as you can before applying and that you work on your business knowledge, particularly reading publications such as the FT and their analyses of issues, especially those provided by their columnists. By doing these things you will improve your attractiveness as an interviewee, essay writer and overall applicant.

Rahul Bajaj: The competition is stiff, and getting more so. Try to do really well on the GMAT. Not sure what else you can change in the short-run. The MBA admissions process takes a pretty long-run view of your record, so there isn’t much you can do in the short-run to change the fundamentals of your application. Having said that, presenting yourself in the best possible light can and will increase your chances of getting in. Use all the resources you can get access to and good luck!

Della Bradshaw: I think you need to persuade your chosen school that theirs is the one school that can meet your needs, and articulate clearly what they are. For example, what do you want to do when you graduate? Choose a school that really specialises in that.

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I am applying for an MBA for 2010/11 and have 2 questions.

a) Should I get into a 1 year or a 2 year program in the UK?

b) What are the chances of getting a job in the UK after I graduate?

I have 5 years of experience, and work at a multinational corporation in the IT sector.
Pedro, Brazil

Sarah Harper: a) Many large organisations who tend to hire from MBA programmes actually hire people for an internship programme first. This is an excellent way for the individual to determine whether this firm and industry is right for them and similarly it is a great way for the firm to assess the candidates. In order to be considered for an internship you would ideally be in your first year of a two year course – your internship would then be in the summer between. So on this basis, a two year programme would be ideal.

b) If you manage to secure an internship in your first year then there is every chance that you could receive a full time offer.

Chioma Isiadinso: The decision to pursue a one year versus a two year program is often tied to multiple factors including your financial situation, whether you want an accelerated experience in a short timeframe, and also how much flexibility you need to explore your career options. Most UK top business schools such as Cambridge, Oxford, Cass offer one year programs . London Business School provides a flexible option in terms of duration of the program allowing students to choose to graduate in 15, 18 or 21 months. If you are looking to make a drastic career change, you may find that a longer MBA program may offer more flexibility for you to gain exposure to the new career/industry that you are interested in. It also depends on whether you have a clear sense of what you wish to study. With a one year MBA, given the accelerated pace of the program, you have to go in having a really good sense of what you wish to study and the experiences that will help augment your skills.

Regarding the job prospect in the UK, while things are looking slightly better than they were a year ago, you should research the placement statistics and career profile of graduates of the programs you are interested in as well as career support services for students.

Della Bradshaw: One of the problems about trying to get a UK work visa is that the rules seem to change all the time - therefore I am loathe to advise you on this today. It is incredibly hard to predict whether you will be able to get a visa or not. Here is the best place to find out:

UK Border Agency - Working in the UK

A two-year degree would certainly enable you to do an internship - often the fastest route to a good job, but a lot of shorter programmes also build in internships these days.

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I am an experienced professional, with almost 10 years work experience and I have done an MBA. I want to boost my career and get more exposure and responsibility. Please let me know whether an MBA degree from any top 15 ranked schools can help me achieve my aims.
Manoj Rastogi, India

Sarah Harper: MBA programmes are very much geared towards people who are looking to move their career onwards and upwards and it sounds as though this is exactly what you are looking for - whether through a career change or within your current industry. Business Schools, particularly those ranked at the top, are great recruiting grounds for a number of large organisations so it will be a great way for you to meet potential future employers and build a network. Given you have already done an MBA though you will want to ensure that from a learning and development perspective you will still get maximum benefit from the course, which is something you will be able to discuss with the schools themselves.

Chioma Isiadinso: One of the major hurdles you will face in the application process is justifying why you need another MBA. Schools vary in terms of their view of second time MBA seekers and they make their decision on a case by case basis. I recommend that you contact the schools you are interested in and find out what their policy is on this subject.

A top 15 MBA program can help students gain credibility, broaden their network, and most importantly, develop valuable skills to take on more responsibility in their career. But having said that, the impact of the MBA fundamentally comes down to what the student is working with in the first place, that is, what his/her prior experience, skill and work achievements have been. It’s important to have a realistic expectation of the MBA and what it can do for you.

Della Bradshaw: As you are from India, I suspect your MBA degree is a pre-experience degree, studied straight after your undergraduate programme. So should you go on to do a post-experience MBA programme? My answer is yes, but that poses a second question: should it be an MBA or an EMBA? I presume you are in your thirties now, so I would recommend investigating the latter.

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I just want to know what is the scope for an MBA after getting a place through GMAT?

Are there any good colleges who offer a general MBA rather than a specialized one?

Can one get any scholarships with the GMAT scorecard?
Abhishek Bindal, India

Chioma Isiadinso: Admission decisions are based on multiple factors of which the GMAT is one. However, decisions are never made on just one single variable. Having a strong GMAT performance is great and if the rest of the application is strong, the candidate stands a good chance to be admitted if he or she is a good fit for the program. Many schools reject applicants with near-perfect GMAT scores and there are applicants who have average to low GMATs who are admitted. Admission decisions are based on how strong a candidate is across all the application criteria (academic ability/intellectual aptitude shown by GMAT score and GPA, leadership in college, career, and through community service, and finally other factors that can differentiate you such as a global mindset/exposure, excellent interpersonal/team perspective, self awareness, maturity and innovative/entrepreneurial disposition, etc.)

Many top business schools offer a general management MBA enabling students to gain a firm foundation across all functional areas of business. Students who want to then develop further expertise in particular areas such as finance can take elective courses or specialize in the area of interest. To learn more about MBA programs you can read some of the articles on FT.com as well as MBA.com which is the official website for the GMAT.

Business schools take into account candidates overall strength and the GMAT score is one of the variables that is considered when awarding scholarships.

George Daly: The MBA is a general degree in which one must take a wide variety of courses and are not permitted to focus too much in one area. As for being admitted solely on the basis of GMAT score, the answer is, in general, no. Instead top schools would need to know your job experience, recommendations and, in most cases, require a personal interview. That said, an especially high GMAT obviously helps.

Della Bradshaw: Most top programmes are general degrees which enable you to specialise if you want to do so. I think GMAT scores are one criterion that business schools use for selecting scholarship candidates but not the only one.

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Our daughter seems inclined to study an undergraduate in business studies. I have two questions:

1. What are the pros and cons of doing a business studies course at the undergraduate level?

2. Where can we look for in schools which offer good business studies courses at the undergraduate level?
Viswanath, Doha, Qatar

George Daly: One of the pros of an undergraduate degree in business is that such students receive more and better (as measured by salaries) job opportunities upon graduation. The con is that the student receives less training in the liberal arts. As for choosing a school, I’d suggest that your daughter look for a school with strong students, real strength in both business and non-business areas, and one whose general atmosphere and location she likes. There are many excellent undergraduate institutions but the key thing is the ”fit” for the student and only the applicant can really judge that.

Della Bradshaw: If your daughter is convinced that business is for her - if she wants to work in a family business for example - then it’s a great choice. Many top business schools offer undergraduate degrees: Wharton and Georgetown in the US, for example, Oxford or Warwick in the UK.

Chioma Isiadinso: First, good for your daughter to be self-aware enough to have an interest in an area of study and confident enough to share her interest with you. I’ve worked with so many young students who are a bit lost about their interests so clearly the benefit for your daughter is that she can go into college having a clear sense of what her interests are and can work closely with her academic advisor to design a business curriculum that will challenge her. What she will need to watch out for, however, is that she doesn’t get too rigid and miss out on the many opportunities that college offers. So while pursuing her business requirements, she should make sure that she takes elective courses in areas where she genuinely has an interest, whether it is a philosophy course or a minor in Latin American Literature, or a study abroad in a region of the world that interests her.

As far as what to look for in schools, you should consider the opportunities that exist for students to combine theory with practice (project assignments, summer internships in business settings, etc). Who are the business faculty and are they primarily research focused or do they have practical experience? In addition, what type of instruction will your daughter receive (combination of lectures and group projects). It is also important to find out how accessible the professors are to their students.

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I am considering studying for masters in International Management in the UK. Right now, I am confused about which university to pick and what to look for. I’ve done my research already and I’ve picked Strathclyde, Bradford, Aston, Leeds, LSE and Birmingham. What do you think of these choices and what do you recommend?
Omosebi Oyindamola, Nigeria

Chioma Isiadinso: The decision of which particular school one should attend is a personal one. Everyone has different factors that they consider when applying to schools. The question you have to look at is where you want to work for the majority of your career and based on your answer then consider which schools on your list will prepare you for your career. If you intend to return to Nigeria to work, for example, you may want to consider the strength of the network of the schools you have on your list in that region. But more than that, it is important to go beyond the geographic network and consider the real skills you will gain from the programs: talk to students and alumni from the schools and find out how they feel the program has prepared them for a career in international management. Also look closely at the actual courses being offered and make sure they will provide you with the foundation you need for your career goals.

Della Bradshaw: You may want to check out our Master in Management rankings as there are a few more schools than in your list:

Financial Times Masters in Management ranking

What I would check out are the various courses on offer. At LSE, for example, there are three Masters degrees in management, one of which is for those with a degree in, say, French or philosophy (2 years) and the other two for those with economics, business or analytical degrees.

Sarah Harper: All of these universities will give you a great experience, but to help you decide which is the right one for you, you may want to think about the specifics of each course and which elements may be more or less interesting to you. Also, thinking slightly further ahead, it will be worthwhile considering which university will provide you with the best opportunities to meet potential employers - so researching which firms and industries students tend to secure full time positions in, after completing the course, will be good to compare across the different universities.

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Why is the MBA highly valued in the US than some other countries?

Della Bradshaw: The MBA was invented in the US, more than 100 years ago, and it is therefore the standard degree there. In Europe, and to some degree in Asia, the MBA is only one kind of business degree - Masters in Management degrees are particularly popular in Europe, for example. Also the idea of a post-graduate professional degree - in law or business - is much more established.

Chioma Isiadinso: Business education has been around in the US for a very long time. In fact, many of the top business schools in America, like Tuck, Harvard, Wharton have been around for about a century whereas the business schools in Europe and Asia, for example, are relatively younger in their existence. I do think that other countries are beginning to place a high value on the MBA degree and the evidence of that can be seen in the robust recruitment at many of the business schools in Europe and Asia.

Sarah Harding: The MBA programme began in the US and has therefore had longer to embed into the American culture, however, there are now a number of very good business schools outside of the US, with London Business School being an example in the UK and many employers see the value that MBA students can bring into their organisation. Outside the US, we hire MBA students into our London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Dubai, Moscow and Hong Kong offices.

George Daly: There is a fair degree of discussion about this apparent result (which applies to higher education in general, not just MBA), much of it concerned with the role of factors such as class structure, mobility, culture etc. As far as the MBA degree alone is concerned, I believe the dominant view is that in the U.S. managers increasingly migrate among firms rather than remaining with a firm over their entire career. As a result, both they and their employers seek independent credentials that signal useful capabilities. For example, graduating from an MBA program sends an important and independently signal about an individual: technical knowledge, tenacity, intellect, willingness to take risk, even location preferences. Such signals are especially important in an environment in which top talent is highly mobile among employers.

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What MBA topics will be sought after to deal with the demands of the jobs market in this decade?

Della Bradshaw: I’m not sure if these are topics or skills, but my top three would be: how to make great decisions; how to analyse and use the extraordinary amounts of data now available; and how to be culturally sensitive.

Chioma Isiadinso: A few topics that are garnering some attention include:

1. social entrepreneurship and how to find innovative ways to address many of the business challenges facing the emerging markets

2. climate change and sustainable and renewable energy and the business opportunities for innovation

3. health care in terms of management of health care systems, new technologies in the medical device space, etc.

George Daly: As a general degree, the MBA prepares a student for a wide variety of sectors. Those that seem especially attractive to us at Georgetown in the coming decade include global business, entrepreneurship and innovation, social enterprise and management in the non-profit or NGO sectors.

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