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Over the past year the fortunes of business schools have followed the same rollercoaster ride as the global economy. In December and January it looked as if those graduating from MBA programmes would find it difficult to find any kind of appropriate job, let alone a high-paying job on Wall Street or in the City of London. MBA degree programmes were called into question as it became increasingly apparent that many of those who were instrumental in the financial meltdown had graduated from the world’s top business schools.

By the summer, however, it became apparent that most MBA graduates would secure strong job offers and the news this month that applications to business school overall have increased - two-thirds of full-time MBA programmes have had an increase in applications over the past year, according to a recent GMAC survey - is further good news for business schools.

On Wednesday September 30, in the first Financial Times Ask the Experts: Applying to Business School Clinic, three industry experts answered your questions on the topic at http://www.ft.com/businesseducaton/applications-clinic. Are you thinking of applying for an MBA? Is now the right time? What kind of programme should you choose? How do you apply? Is it all worth the time, the pain and the money?

On the panel were:

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.

Dave Wilson, president and chief executive of the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), which administers the GMAT test for business students.

Anika Davis Pratt, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions at NYU Stern school of business.


I would like to study for an MBA from a top UK University. My profile:

- 4.5 years - IT Products

- B.Tech (Electrical Eng) with 1.5 years work experience (own company/ freelance)

Could you recommend any good universities? What are the future job prospects like? Also, how do I obtain funding (loan/scholarships)?
Subhransu, India

Chioma Isiadinso: There are exceptional business schools in the UK. You can start by doing some research on London Business School, Cranfield School of Management, Cambridge Business School and Oxford Business School. There are other MBA programs worth looking at as well and your best bet would be to do some research by looking at the Financial Times Business School Rankings and then spend some time researching the websites of the MBA programmes in the UK to learn more about them.

With regards to future job prospects, it depends on various factors (what industry you are interested in, your prior work experience, which recruiters are hiring from the MBA programme, etc). I recommend taking a close look at the career data of the schools you are interested in. This will provide you with information on the employment outlook for the recent graduates as well as the industries that they have gone into.

With regards to funding, most business schools offer some level of loan options for international students and a limited number of scholarships as well. You will need to contact the respective schools to identify what they offer and assess whether you qualify for their scholarships.

Dave Wilson: You have not indicated your academic performance or GMAT score. These are both critical for admission to a top programme and there are many programmes of exceptional quality in the UK from which to choose. Assuming you have performed well in both your undergraduate studies and GMAT, look for a programme that is the best fit for you. There are three dimensions to consider: faculty; curriculum and your peer group. The first two dimensions can be uncovered through due diligence on school web sites and other electronic channels. The peer group is best assessed by ensuring that all students are, indeed, peers intellectually. An objective measure such as the GMAT is the only reliable metric of the ability of your peers.


I am having a hard time choosing a university with the best business programme in Canada. I was wondering which one you would recommend.
Leon, Canada

Dave Wilson: As a Canadian myself, I can assure you that there are a number of strong MBA programmes in Canada. Again, I refer you to my answer to the question above. Fit is the most critical consideration. If you want to go into retail upon graduation, don’t go to an MBA programme at which the only companies that come to recruit are in heavy manufacturing.

Look too at the fit with your peer group. They will be your extended family for the time you spend in the programme and your first professional network. Be sure those who attend the programme you choose are your peers: same profile of studies, experience, age and GMAT score.


I have worked for over five years with the best fashion retail companies in India. To progress my career, I want to move to a global environment and specialise in luxury brand management. I applied and got accepted to a luxury brand management programme at SDA Bocconi, Italy. The course starts in January 2010 and I have doubts about spending such a huge amount of money. The education loan is at about 12% in India and I will have to forgo my salary during my studies and until my next job. Will this be the right course for me? Is it worth the investment? The tuition fees are 19000 Euros. Is there a possibility of getting sponsorship from a luxury company, EU or some other source?
Ankita, India

Chioma Isiadinso: Congratulations on your admission to a great programme. Your background also sounds really interesting. I commend you for wanting to broaden your career. From a strictly knowledge focus, you will likely get a sound training in luxury brand management at Bocconi. The question of whether it is the right programme for you is one that only you can answer. You have to weigh the opportunity cost of forgoing your salary, shelling out several thousand Euros, with the education foundation you will receive, the life time network you will build to decide whether this investment is worth it for you.

Given your global aspirations, I suspect you would want to work outside of India after the MBA to broaden your international experience. So what would be helpful is identifying some of the firms that you would like to work for and find out if some of them employ graduates of Bocconi (especially in roles that you aspire to). This piece of data should give you some additional perspective to know whether your goals are reasonable. It would also be important to find out what language requirements are expected to work for some of the firms you are interested in.

I am aware of one partial scholarship at Bocconi for students from India. Contact the school directly to find out what, if any, additional scholarships are available.

Dave Wilson: Historically, the graduate management degree has provided a positive rate of return on the investment that a student has made. But that is an historical perspective and represents an average. How well you might do is a function of many variables:

-the economy

-the fashion industry

-you, yourself

You have certainly chosen a very fine school and, as a consequence, improve your probabilities of success. (Full disclosure: SDA Bocconi is a member of the Graduate Management Admission Council).


I am a graduate of 2009 and started working in a commercial bank. I am planning for my future development and MBA is definitely one of the choices. I would like to ask the following questions:

1. How long should I plan before applying for the MBA (including studying for the GMAT)

2. For the reference letter, who should I choose to be my referee? My previous professor? My current employer?
David, unknown

Dave Wilson: Part 1.
The number of years of work experience that is optimal really depends on the programme to which you are applying. You should look at their published criteria. But, in general, two to three years is a good guideline.

As for the GMAT, our research indicates that four to six weeks of prep is best.

Part 2.
The letters are important and so I would draw one from each. Be certain also that you indicate to each referee what you would like the letter to cover. Be sure that both referees really know you. Don’t be ”damned with faint praise.” (This phrase finds its origins in a reference or statement of praise that is tepid or lukewarm, at best. A referee who scarcely knows the applicant will not be able to provide a strong reference. A weak reference is worse than no reference at all).

Chioma Isiadinso: Deciding when to apply to business school is a personal decision. You should apply when you are ready. To make this decision, you will need to consider why you want the MBA in the first place, what type of career you are seeking in the long term and even which schools you are targeting. In general some of the American schools tend to see more applicants with fewer years of work experience than their European counterpart. But having said that, MBA Programmes place a high premium on quality of experience not just quantity. Ideally, I would suggest working at least two years to gain some experience before applying. But again, it depends on your unique circumstances. You may find that you are ready to apply in one year or after seven years.

Preparing for the application requires time. Give yourself a year to prepare for the application so that you can strengthen your portfolio of experiences and address any gaps in your story. Plan to spend two to three months preparing for the GMAT and you should plan to take it sooner than later to get it out of the way. Since the GMAT result is valid for five years, taking the test early enables you to focus your efforts on the other aspects of the application. Regarding reference letters: most business schools require two letters of references and they prefer that one of them is a current or previous supervisor who can provide detailed perspective on your managerial potential and leadership at your firm. However, if you have limited work experience and choose to use a professor, it is important that he/she can provide information about you beyond your academic record.

Anika Davis Pratt: Congratulations on starting early on your MBA journey. Determining when the best time is for you to pursue the MBA and taking time to put together a competitive application are key decisions. The first is a very individual decision based on where you are in your career and your readiness to take time out to attend an MBA programme and to be poised to get the most out of the MBA experience. At NYU Stern, the average length of work experience coming into the programme is about 4 - 5 years, but we have students in the programme with anywhere between 1 and 10 years. Having some professional context in which to ground your experience is very useful.

In terms of preparing a competitive application to top tier MBA programmes, I would suggest 9 - 12 months. The process, you will find, takes you down a very introspective road. Taking time to craft your essays, clearly define your life goals, prepare for the GMAT, ask your recommenders to write on your behalf among others things takes time.

At NYU Stern, we require two professional recommendations. We feel we have adequate information about your academic profile from your prior academic record (s), your test scores, and your professional background. A professional recommendation is most valuable to the admissions committee when it comes from a supervisor or recent supervisor and your current employer or a recent employer. We seek information on your talents, contributions, and potential as future business leaders.

Best of luck to you!


What can deans do to attract the best young talent to pursue the MBA degree at leading business schools worldwide?
Viktor O. Ledenyov, Ukraine

Dave Wilson: Quality always wins. Deans can first of all find the best way to communicate that quality by reaching potential students in places where potential students go - which means the papers they read, the websites they go to and search engines where interested and qualified candidates are found. For example, anyone who has taken the GMAT exam can put their names in a searchable database such as GMASS at http://www.mba.com

Deans should build and protect their school’s brand, make no decision that would diminish the quality of the education for their potential students or the value or the degree held by alums.

Above all recruit the best qualified and motivated students.

Anika Davis Pratt: Our Dean at NYU Stern, Thomas F. Cooley, asserts that now is a good time to invest in your human capital and believes that business is the greatest engine for social change. NYU Stern's mission is to teach students how to think critically, analytically, ethically and historically so that they will be prepared for a career that may span 30 or more years. By studying at a research-oriented institution like ours, students learn a body of knowledge that will help them navigate through multiple business cycles and prepare them for a world that will be very different from what it is today. He shares his vision with applicants when he accompanies our Admissions Team around the world at events for prospective students.


I want to know which degree would be good – the MBA or Masters in management? Since I’ve completed my Bachelors degree, I have been working in the IT field for 7 years. It seems that my career has been frozen and I want to change it. I spoke to an MBA Counsellor and to my surprise, she mentioned getting a place in the top 30 MBA schools. This would be difficult as I lack managerial experience on my resume which is true to an extent.

She advised me to target the M.Sc or Masters in general management or a Masters in international business management from the top 20 schools.

Is it really difficult to get into the top 30 MBA schools? Your input will be highly appreciated.
Satish, unknown

Chioma Isiadinso: The first question I have is what are your long term goals? If it is to stay within the Information Technology industry but to gain more responsibility, you can make a reasonable case for why you need a graduate degree to build up your management skill set. You may find the Masters in Management programmes to be a good option since you can focus your study in building up your management experience. If you are looking for a programme that is regional, you may find that a part-time MBA programme would be effective in giving you the management foundation courses that you need to transition into a role with more managerial responsibility. If your target is the top MBA Programmes, you have to take into account the fact that many of them would like to see some managerial background given that you have been working for a while. For example, experience managing technology projects will help increase your attractiveness as a candidate. You may want to consider volunteering for opportunities outside of your immediate responsibility to broaden your exposure beyond the current role you have.

Dave Wilson: My reaction is that you should go for one of the best MBA programmes. Get the GMAT under your belt and put together a great application; that means really thinking about what you have done in the last 7 years and ensuring that you show it is relevant to the school where you are applying. Often you have done more than you think you have. Bear in mind that on many MSc programmes your fellow students will have had little or no work experience. Go where you can maximise your learning.

Anika Davis Pratt: Thank you for your questions. It sounds like this is essentially a two part question: first, is an MBA a good way to change careers? Second, do I need management experience prior to the MBA?

A Full-time MBA programme is an excellent way to make a career change in industry or function. In fact, about 50% of our students come to NYU Stern looking to make a significant career change. First, our Office of Career Development, with its over 20 counsellors, delivers an extensive two year Career Development programme that begins from Pre-term orientation on. The school’s professional student-run clubs (we have clubs that focus on finance careers, marketing and luxury/retail, consulting, social enterprise, technology and new media, entertainment, health care and many more) play a critical role in exposing students to successful alumni in those fields, current industry focused events and professional networking. Beyond that we have a programme at NYU Stern called IMI (Industry Mentoring Initiative) that is specifically designed for career switchers and pairs students with senior alumni and mentors at top firms in their target industries and companies.

As for prior management experience, you certainly don’t have to come to business school having “supervisor” in your title or having a specific number of direct reports. At NYU Stern, we seek students with strong future potential to make a positive impact in the business world. We value different styles of leadership and understand that people have taken leadership roles in their professional lives in many creative ways. So, talk about the ways you have sold through an idea or influenced a team or led projects that don’t necessarily have you as the team lead.

Another avenue to highlight your leadership ability is to cite examples outside of work. Perhaps you have been a leader in your community, at your undergraduate college, in sports or social activities, volunteer efforts or other such activities.


I am B.Tech Graduate in Apparel Manufacturing and Merchandising, with 2 years work experience as Assistant Buyer for children’s wear at one of India’s leading retail organization. I wish to study for a higher degree in 2010 to gain international exposure and gain better knowledge about international fashion business management. Considering my education background and my work experience, which option would be a wise choice - studying for a Masters or an MBA?
Nithya, India

Anika Davis Pratt: Thank you for your questions - you certainly have a relevant background for pursuing a career in global luxury retail. I am not sure what type of Masters degree you are considering, so it is difficult to comment on that portion of the question. What I can say is that MA degrees are often very specialized and focused, giving great depth of expertise in a limited area of scope.

An MBA, on the other hand, provides a broad business and management knowledge base. At the same time an MBA allows you to devote a reasonable amount of your study on specific topics. For most people who wish to have a range of business career options over the course of their career, find the MBA particularly helpful. At NYU Stern we have a great programme in both marketing as well as luxury/retail. For example, we have a student-run club that focuses exclusively on Luxury/Retail - they host many events and an annual industry conference. We also have a short term study abroad programme (called Doing Business In or DBI) that goes to Milan and focuses on the fashion industry.

To learn more about our marketing/luxury retail experience feel free to read our online chat with students on our website

Dave Wilson: If you really want to concentrate on retail and fashion management look first for programmes that have this speciality. The letters in the degree are irrelevant, it is the educational experience. You are really lucky, many MSc programmes take people with as much as 2 years work experience, and many MBA programmes take people with as little as 2 years experience. The choice is yours. The GMAT is your route to both.


I am a resident national of Iran. I got my B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering and have five years work experience with a Japanese Trading Firm, in Railway and Oil and Gas fields. I would like to pursue my education in Finance. I have applied to different universities in the UK e.g. LSE, Durham. However, it’s still very difficult for me to decide what exactly I should do. I really appreciate if anyone could answer my following questions.

1. Will it be worth it if I leave my job and study for my Masters in Finance considering my background and the world’s economic situation?

2. Are UK universities like LSE and Durham good for studying the Masters in Finance compared to US Universities?

3. Is the Masters in Finance and Investment a good programme, especially when it comes to diminishing job opportunities in this field? I appreciate your guidance in advance. Thank you.

Ali, Iran


Dave Wilson: Follow your passion. Recessions come and go. The fundamental skills are with you forever. There are good universities in the UK and US, choose one that will suit your background and aspirations best. To make sure it will serve you well check that it is a quality school. Look to see that it is accredited and requires the GMAT, and look at the placement history of its graduates - are they connected where you want to be connected. Then go for it!

Chioma Isiadinso: With the global economic downturn and the large job cuts in the financial services industry worldwide, transitioning into fields where you didn’t have prior experience is harder than it has been in the past. The reason for this is that many firms are playing it safe and choosing to hire individuals with proven experience in the industry. That’s not to say that you can’t make the transition into finance. It is important that you connect the dots of your experience to show the value you can offer an employer. For example, you can make a compelling case for a finance role in a global Oil and Gas company given your prior experience and a Masters in Finance degree.

London School of Economics has a strong reputation especially in the area of Finance and it offers the added advantage of being in one of the financial centres of the world. The UK offers many choices as far as Finance Masters degrees (London Business School, Cranfield, Said) and they are comparable to the American Masters in Finance programmes. However, you have to look at why you want the masters degree. If your heart is set on a career in Finance, then pursuing the degree is truly an investment in yourself in the long run. But do keep a realistic picture: having a game plan on how you will conduct your job search will help you hit the ground running if you decide to pursue the Finance degree.


I'm a corporate senior cost accountant, with hands-on exposure to manufacturing operations and financial systems (ERP) implementations. I'm looking to move my career to a different level. Which MBA will be best for this type of experience?
Michael, Miami, FL

Dave Wilson: Are you a career switcher or accelerator? Do you want to work in a different country or a different industry (switcher) or do you want to turbo charge your current career (accelerator)?

Once you can answer these questions you will have narrowed down the kinds of programmes that will suit your needs. To select the very best one for you go to reputable search sites, for example http://www.mba.com allows you to find out about hundreds of degree programmes which use the GMAT.

Chioma Isiadinso: There are many options available. Depending on where you are in your career, you may find that the Executive MBA may be the best training to broaden your skills and prepare you to advance your career to the next level. Many of the Executive MBA programs have flexibility which will enable you to attend while continuing to work. A few examples include London Business School/Columbia programme, Kellogg/Hong Kong UST Business Program, Insead, and Wharton.

If you wish to pursue the programme on a full time basis, you may find that with an accelerated MBA programme you can complete in one year to 18 months and may be the best option for you. You will find more accelerated top MBA degrees in Europe, although there are some American programmes as well (Columbia and Kellogg, for example). You may want to look at the rankings done by the Financial Times to learn more about the different programmes available.

Anika Davis Pratt: While it is difficult to answer this question with limited information on your background, I am happy to speak about the differences between the three primary types of MBA degrees available at NYU Stern; Full-time MBA, Part-time MBA and Executive MBA.

The Full-time MBA is typically best suited for young professionals seeking to make a career change in terms of either industry or functional specialty. The Part-time MBA is a good fit for working professionals looking to advance within their current industry or function, and the EMBA is best suited for more experienced professionals seeking the crucial business skills, resources, and professional network to take a career to the next level.

In our programmes, the students in both our FT MBA and PT MBA have an average age of about 27 and average about 4-5 years of work experience. Our EMBA students have an average age of 38 with about 14 years work experience.

The programmes also differ in length and in delivery. The FT MBA is a two year programme, the PT MBA can be completed in 2-6 years, and the EMBA programme is 22 months. The FT MBA programme classes are delivered primarily during the day, the PT MBA classes are in the evenings and/or weekends, and the EMBA classes are typically every other week on Fridays/Saturdays. These schedules are thoughtfully designed around the needs of our students.

Due to the different professional backgrounds and career objectives of students, the career services provided also differ. FT MBA students follow a rigorous two year career development programme which includes on-campus recruiting for both summer internships and full-time post-MBA positions. Students in our PT and EMBA programmes receive their career services through NYU Stern’s Career Center for Working Professionals.

Click here to view a helpful comparison table on the different MBA programmes.


Most of the top business schools in the US offer scholarships and loans to MBA students. In your opinion, are these sufficient to pay for the tuition and cost of living or would I need to save a substantial amount before I even consider taking an MBA? How likely is it that I will be able to find a job in the USA after I earn my MBA at a top US business school? I have read that several of the major banks were forbidden to hire foreign employees before they pay back the government aid. Has this changed? My goal is to go to a business school in the US, eventually work there upon graduation and later come back to London. Which school would serve this objective well? I.e. which American school has the strongest alumni community in finance in Europe? I reckon that one learns more in a 2 year programme than in a 1 year intensive programme. But does this extra knowledge outweigh the cost of an extra year studying?
Pedro, London

Dave Wilson: Most top business schools do in fact offer scholarships to top qualified students and some have loan programmes for international students. Be sure you understand what the schools of your choice have to offer you. This information will then inform your decision about whether or not you will need to build up substantial savings before you go.

It is more and more difficult for non-US citizens who lack a green card to gain employment in the United States. But not impossible if you have the right skills, knowledge and attitude.

You are starting well by doing this research but you will need to do a lot more to be able to assess the opportunities realistically. You yourself will be able to research the answers to the questions you raise about the strength of the alumni communities and the relative appeal of the one or two year programmes to recruiters. That said recruiters will look at the quality of the individual they are hiring. If you feel that you will learn more and be a stronger candidate on a two year programme then take that extra year. This is an investment for life. Economies fluctuate, and so does legislation on green cards. Be realistic but bold!

Chioma Isiadinso: Scholarship/Loans: All students enrolling in business school s regardless of whether they are international students or US citizens are expected to make some contribution from their savings towards the cost of their MBA. So, yes, putting aside as much money as possible is a practical step towards planning for your MBA. The majority of the top US MBA programmes offer scholarships and loans to both their international and U.S. students.

Finding a job after Business School is the top question on the minds of most applicants. The news coming from the top school is actually looking up. Many of the top schools have been able to place more than 2/3 of their 2009 graduates. With regards to banks that accepted TARP loans, many have paid them back and are now in a position to hire international students. International students are also eligible to secure a one-year practical training visa which an employer can then extend by applying for an H1-B work visa. So pursuing an MBA in the US is still a viable option.

Many of the top US MBA programmes have excellent finance alumni network in Europe. Some examples include Harvard, Columbia, Wharton and Stanford. With regards to a one year versus two year programme, it depends on your prior experience. If you already have finance experience but want to deepen your knowledge in the subject, a one year MBA programme (in Europe or America) may be the best fit. On the other hand, if you do not have a finance background, it is probably best if you take a two year MBA so that you can use the summer internship to gain entry into a finance position.

Anika Davis Pratt: The financial aid landscape for international students has definitely changed in the past year and it is wise to investigate the different loan programmes offered by schools carefully. Before making any significant investment, such as business school, it is always prudent to evaluate your finances and the costs associated with the investment. Keep in mind, however, that investing in education and in yourself is never a bad bet. Business school is an investment that will continue to give back over the course of your lifetime in many ways.

At NYU Stern we have always been committed to helping finance the education of all our MBA students. All applicants to our Full-time MBA programme are evaluated and considered for merit based scholarships. These scholarships range from $10,000 for one year up to the full cost of tuition for two years. Currently, our international students can borrow up to $40,000 each year towards tuition without a US co-signer and can borrow up to the full cost of attendance with a US co-signer. Beyond loans and scholarships, our students can also work as Graduate and Teaching Assistants and receive up to $21,500 in funding.

At Stern about a third of our students are international and many of these students want to work in the US. Our Office of Career Development has deep ties with the corporate community and has a group of specialists on staff who focus primarily on our international student population. While it is slightly harder for international students to get positions in the US right now, we have had great success in this area. It is true that there were a couple US banks that were not allowed to hire international students due to TARP funding last year, but the vast majority of US banks had no such restrictions.

Our global alumni network at NYU Stern is one of the largest of any top MBA programme with early 80,000 alumni in over 100 countries including over 500 CEOs. As an example, our regional alumni base in London is particularly strong. At our annual admissions presentation in London, we typically see 30-40 alumni in attendance. You will always find Stern students and alumni approachable, collaborative and eager to help each other succeed.


I am considering applying to the top US business schools specialising in Finance (e.g., NYS is definitely the priority) and wondered what could make my profile (5 years of experience in Big 4 audit and financial advisory) more attractive? Although, considering the current downturn in the financial industry, what are the future job prospects for non-US? Thank you!
Svitlana, Ukraine

Anika Davis Pratt: Your professional experience definitely sounds in line with our admitted student profile here at NYU Stern. Our most recent class had an average of 4-5 years of work experience prior to the MBA and had an average age of 27. Certainly strong finance experience at a well known and respected company is a great asset considering your short term career goals. Also, be sure you have a clearly defined and well articulated short term goal (what exactly do you want to do in finance and why?) as well as a long term career plan. We look for students who have really taken the time to learn who they are, know what they want, and understand how best to get there.

Another way to demonstrate your professional talents and abilities is by carefully choosing and briefing your recommenders. We ask for two professional recommendations, including one from your current, direct supervisor. If you would like some tips on how to best to prepare recommenders and receive advice on other aspects of putting together a competitive application to Stern, we invite you to listen to the admissions podcasts on our website.

Your academic profile is another important way for us to evaluate your readiness for the MBA - this includes your undergraduate performance (our 80% GPA range this past year was 3.1-3.8) and the GMAT (our 80% range was 680-760). For more information on our class profile, visit our website.

I think we all agree that the future of the finance industry is not certain or predictable at this time. However, it is the case that finance companies are still coming in great numbers to our campus to recruit and hire Stern talent. We continue to be a core school for the major banks. While the numbers of positions these banks are hiring for has declined slightly, the opportunities are still there. If you’d like to hear more about the current hiring landscape, you can listen first hand to a podcast from our Assistant Dean, Office of Career Development.


I am looking to become an Equity Analyst. I work for a large investment house but in a non-investment advisory role. I am also taking the CFA Level 3 exam next June, I was wondering:

1. If an MBA along with my CFA would be useful for the area that I am looking to get into?

2. If studying for an MBA should always be a full-time affair, or if possible could it be studied part-time and does it lose some of its value this way?
Sam, London

Chioma Isiadinso: Yes, the MBA combined with your CFA will be helpful for your career change into becoming an Equity Analyst. The issue of part-time versus full-time depends on a few variables. If you wish to make the change and stay at your current firm, you may be able to pursue a part-time MBA. But before making that call, I recommend that you find out if such functional role changes have been done in the past. If you are in New York for example, NYU has an excellent part-time MBA programme that gives you thorough preparation in Finance. If you on the other hand wish to join another firm, your safer bet may be to do the two-year programme so you can capitalize on the internship to “ease your way” into the industry.

Dave Wilson: Your MBA, when combined with your background and CFA will make a very attractive portfolio. Obviously your grades and GMAT scores and your interview are critical also.

The issue on the part time programme really depends on your objectives, your learning style and your economic state. Part time programmes can bring great value. Often though, recruiters will focus on the full time programmes. And so, if you want to change employers upon graduation, you will have to be assertive in getting before the recruiters. Some due diligence with the programme director at the schools you are consideration should give you solid intel on this consideration.

Anika Davis Pratt: The MBA is a general management programme that enables you to gain a broad management perspective while specializing in areas of interest - we offer several specializations in finance.

The answer to your question depends on your short-and long-term career goals. If you aspire to lead teams and play a senior management role in a division or firm, the management perspective that an MBA can offer, in addition to relationships you can build with your classmates and through an alumni network, might be extremely valuable. NYU Stern has a strong reputation in finance - top faculty teach in our programme and the majority of financial services firms recruit our students for their unique blend of skills and emotional intelligence.

At NYU Stern, we offer the MBA degree, but there are different ways to pursue it. If you choose to go full-time, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue a summer internship. We offer a number of flexible options if you choose to go part-time - you can take classes on weeknights, weekends or at our location in Westchester. You can complete the degree in as few as 2 years, or up to 6, and you can ramp up or slow down while in the program. Whether you go full-time or part-time at NYU Stern, you earn the same Stern MBA degree. So the choice is up to you. Good luck!


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