Alumni take glass half full view despite crisis

Business school graduates living in Europe remain optimistic about their career prospects – despite their fears for the economic outlook, writes Michael Jacobs.

Among the 720 MBA and masters in management alumni from European schools who responded to an FT online survey in October, 57 per cent expected the economy of the country in which they were living to worsen in the next 12 months. Alumni in Italy were the most pessimistic even before last month’s crisis, with two-thirds expecting the economic situation to deteriorate over the next year.

By contrast, alumni were more bullish about their own prospects. More than half (52 per cent) expected their careers to improve over the same period, and only 18 per cent thought their personal circumstances would worsen.

Some 81 per cent said their qualifications had sheltered them from the effects of the recent downturn. In addition, a third of respondents said their school had assisted them after graduation, through careers advice, networking events and access to job postings. Nonetheless, 30 per cent said the economic situation had a negative effect on their career.

Nearly a third of respondents indicated they were seriously considering moving to a different country. Graduates in Spain were the most likely to be thinking about moving (49 per cent), followed by those in Italy (48 per cent) and the UK (43 per cent). The US was the most popular destination for would-be migrants, followed by Switzerland and the UK.

Spreading the word

English is becoming more dominant as the language of business education in Europe. At Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in Belgium, where only 20 per cent of programmes were delivered in English before 2001, the figure is now 100 per cent. Spain’s IE Business School taught 15 per cent of courses in English 10 years ago. The figure is now more than half. Iese, also in Spain, teaches 70 per cent of courses in English, up from 30 per cent in 2001 – and SDA Bocconi, in Milan, has moved from 30 per cent 10 years ago to 45 per cent now.

Woman executive in a boardroom

Bid to boost the number of women on boards

European business schools are coming together to help drive up the number of women on company boards, writes Charlotte Clarke.

In a manifesto launched December 5, institutions including Judge Business School in Cambridge, England, Edhec in France and the University of St Gallen in Switzerland join forces with Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, to help tackle the issue.

Women account for about 12 per cent of board members in top European companies and Olivier Oger, dean of Edhec, argues business schools have a role to play. “We have a responsibility to prepare women and make the business world aware of the glass ceiling,” he says.

The “Call to action to shatter the glass ceiling” manifesto includes the development of a pipeline of executives suitable for board roles, by identifying and training candidates and working with headhunters. It also calls for a rise in the number of female students. Schools aim to hire more female faculty (on average women make up 29 per cent of faculty in the European business school ranking).

For further details see the Women at Business School page.

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