Frank Mattern
Frank Mattern: MiMs offer a valuable add-on to a bachelors degree

In a difficult job market, masters in management (MiM) degrees have proved a popular alternative to MBAs among students who lack experience and want to make themselves more employable.

MiM programmes are indeed popular with employers, who are eager for young, bright recruits they can shape and develop. So says Frank Mattern, managing partner of consulting firm McKinsey’s German office, which will recruit around 240 new consultants this year.

“These programmes offer a very valuable add-on to a bachelors degree,” adds Mattern. “They provide management knowhow for students with strong analytical skills. The combination of a previous degree in engineering or physical science with a MiM can be very attractive.”

Along with Axel Springer, Bosch, Deutsche Post, Eon and Siemens, McKinsey is one of the recruiters that have promised internships of up to six months for students enrolling on a 22-month, €25,000 MiM at ESMT in Berlin that will begin in September 2014. Students will spend at least four months abroad, two months on a team-based field project and have the option to spend another four months working on applied research with supporting companies.

MiMs have typically been more classroom-based than MBAs, but schools and employers are keen that the contact time with companies is increased.

“The link between theory and practical experience obtained in a leading international firm is very useful,” says Mattern.

Consulting firms are big recruiters of MiM graduates. At London Business School, 40 per cent of last year’s 144 MiM graduates have taken up roles in consulting. A third went into finance, while 28 per cent are working for other corporates, with media and entertainment the most popular destinations. The best-paid graduate from the one-year, £25,700 MiM earned £69,000. The average salary was £33,000, 74 per cent higher than the typical UK graduate.

For now, employers tend to treat the MiM and MBA talent pools as distinct markets. MiM graduates have a strong reputation with companies that run graduate training programmes, or banks and consultancies looking for analyst-level recruits. Hiring of MBA graduates tends to be more individual, with recruiters seeking to fill a specific job.

HEC Paris recently welcomed the French arm of McKinsey to its campus. “They have hired full-time MBAs, part-time MBAs, masters in finance and MiM graduates because they have different needs at any given moment in time,” says Eloïc Peyrache, associate dean of HEC’s two-year, €24,000 MiM, who says half of his graduates go into finance and consulting. The programme includes 30 weeks of internships and nine months of specialisation from a range of 30 disciplines.

Peyrache says recruiters like MiM graduates because they are young, likely to be more internationally mobile and more able to work hard, learn fast and take risks.

Eric Waarts is dean of education at Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, which offers an 18-month MSc in International Management with the Cems global network of 28 business schools (fees for all pre-experience MSc programmes are €1,835 per year). He also sees a growing demand for MiM programmes to deliver depth as well as breadth. “Our MiM graduates are good analysts, managers, project leaders and, thanks to the Cems network, can work with different cultures and diversities. But we also hear students say they would like to have a specialisation to show managers they have a profile in finance, marketing or strategy.”

Many employers are willing to trade off MiM graduates’ lack of experience for their youthful enthusiasm, says Simon Evenett, who teaches on both MiM and MBA programmes at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland. “The companies who like MiMs are those who want employees who are really motivated and keen on business but young enough to be moulded by them and embrace their corporate values,” he says. “But because they are investing more upfront in these young, inexperienced MiM graduates, employers may expect them to stick around for longer.”

The St Gallen Masters in Strategy and International Management is an 18-month programme that includes a mandatory international internship and costs SFr6,378 ($6,827). According to Prof Evenett, graduates receive three job offers on average. “The academic rigour of our course appeals to employers who realise that, in general, young people’s attention spans are becoming shorter and their ability to concentrate and absorb multiple-step arguments is not what it was,” he says. “But employers still need graduates who are numerate, literate and able to solve problems.”

Andrea Castronovo
Pedal to the metal: BMW’s Andrea Castronovo was one of the first Cems graduates in 1990
Fast track: from MiM to BMW

Andrea Castronovo, Cems alumnus and president of carmaker BMW for central and eastern Europe, was one of the first graduates of the Cems global alliance of business schools in 1990, studying at Bocconi and HEC Paris during his MiM. Having studied international economics, he chose the Cems MiM to add a business perspective.

“It was also a unique offer in Europe at that time: a degree recognised in all European countries, fully operational in three languages and also offering an internship,” he says. “It offered a unique curriculum and also business experience – there was no opportunity to get internships in Italy in the same way.”

One of the most important things he gained was “intercultural awareness” and the ability to work with people from different backgrounds. “There are lots of international programmes now, but in 1990 this was new and exciting, coming out of a vision of a stronger Europe,” he adds.

When recruiting graduates to work in a division spanning 12 countries from Poland to Malta, he looks for “agility” and the ability to adapt to unfamiliar contexts. “The markets that we manage are totally diverse and you have to be able to acknowledge the difference, go straight to the point, respect the culture and tradition… and then try to figure out the BMW way of doing business there. We are immersed in a multicultural environment.”

Well balanced: Mannheim’s reputation and range of courses appealed to Maria Tzika

Opening doors: widening your options

Maria Tzika has just completed the second semester of the MiM at the University of Mannheim Business School in Germany, having graduated with a bachelors degree in business administration at the same institution.

Tzika chose Mannheim because of its strong reputation and a course catalogue that offers more than 150 different modules. She also has the opportunity to spend a semester abroad at Essec in Paris and take part in a double degree programme.

“I hope it will open doors to a variety of industries and career opportunities without me having to commit to just one specialised field,” says Tzika. She believes the programme will help her develop practical skills useful for her career, while giving her the opportunity for further personal development, “which I think is essential before choosing and pursuing a professional career”.

The variety of courses gave her the chance to specialise in strategy, organisational development and financial control.

“I’m currently completing an internship at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, where I work in the strategic project management department,” she says. “It has been very enlightening to see, on the one hand, how project management work is structured on a day-to-day basis and, on the other, to gain a view into how a bank develops its business model strategically.”

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