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The past year has been a bumper one for the MBA business, with a boom in applications and a buoyant job market. Not since the early 1990s have times been so good, resulting in an ever increasing number of universities and private institutions beginning to offer MBA degrees.

A panel of international experts answer your questions about doing an MBA below in a live debate.

On the panel are:

Della Bradshaw, Business Education editor, Financial Times

Linda Meehan, assistant dean and executive director for MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at Columbia Business School

Bill Neuenfeldt, partner and head of global schools recruiting at Bain & Co,

Edward Snyder, dean of the University of Chicago graduate school of business

William McKenzie, first year MBA student at London Business School and FT diary writer

As a US citizen I have always assumed I would study at a US business school for an MBA, but everywhere I turn these days there is talk of London eclipsing New York as a financial centre. Should I look to Europe for my MBA, or looking to the future to Hong Kong , China or India?
Jamie Fulton, New York, US

Ted Snyder: The market for the best MBA graduates is worldwide. So, the real issue is positioning yourself as one of the top MBA graduates. You can do that from the US and you can do that from outside the US.

William McKenzie: Hello Jamie, I asked myself the same questions several years ago. I ended up choosing to come to London as opposed to studying in the US. My reasons were for the reasons you outlined. I wanted to prepare myself for the future not for the present. The US is and probably will also be an important market place. However I realised that other regions of the world are becoming more and more influential. In order to position myself to work in and with these markets, I decided that I needed to be at a school that offered me an international exposure in terms of its teachings, student’s body, and location.

I knew that no American school could be London Business School at that.

Linda Meehan: I think one has to ask yourself several questions about why you are planning to do an MBA, what expectations you have and the type of experience you are looking for? New York in my opinion continues to be the international market place of the world. That is not to say that London does not offer wonderful experiences as well. If you are looking for a US experience along with a truly global experience, Columbia Business School in the City of New York is ideal.

You should look at the placement reports from those schools you are interested in attending and become aware of the where the students decide to locate after their MBA’s. You will note that Columbia Business School has a large alumni concentration in Europe.

I do believe that you need to identify the type of experience you are looking for.

Della Bradshaw: As a general rule I feel there is a lot to be gained by studying overseas for a master level degree - clearly most undergraduates would study locally. First, there is the potential to learn another language and, more important, the different ways of doing business. But what I would add to that is that business schools are ALWAYS better at finding jobs for their graduates in the local area. So, a big consideration should be where you want to work on graduation.

One comment I would make in passing about Indian business schools is that the MBA degree there is largely seen as a pre-experience degree, and therefore equates more the MSc in management degrees seen in Europe. The one notable exception to that is the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

Does the panel think that young professionals appreciate the real value of a business education, particularly in light of comments from people like Anita Roddick being disparaging about the MBA as not being worth the paper it is written on, how can we expect young people to take that option? Who should take up the mantle for encouraging young people to pursue an MBA - government, the private sector or education bodies?
Dan Mutadich, London

Ted Snyder: I like tough questions. Anita Roddick has done a great job with The Body Shop. Michael Dell jokes about learning everything he needed to learn in high school. So, clearly, to succeed an MBA isn’t necessary nor is it sufficient. But one can’t go by anecdotes and individual histories. The data show - just look at Monday’s Financial Times - that the returns to MBA education are extremely high, especially at top schools. Plus MBA programs allow people to change career directions. But they’re not for everybody.

Linda Meehan: I do think young adults are looking favourably at MBA programs given the increase in our applications once again. Columbia experienced an increase last year in applications as well as this year. I would also bring to your attention the success our students are having with their offers from companies.

Della Bradshaw: Dan, I presume you are a Brit because I believe this is a peculiarly British hang-up. In France, for example, anyone who passes the Bacc can go to university to study medicine, say, or law, but to go to a business school such as HEC Paris or Essec they have to sit exams and are selected on a competitive basis. Many don’t get in. In other European countries, and particularly in the US and Asia business and management degrees are treated with the highest regard.

I think in the UK there are cultural and historical reasons for our sneering attitude towards business education. When I went to university many moons ago, those students who studied on business degrees (usually sandwich courses) did so because they couldn’t get in to study a “proper” subject. I think this attitude still pervades a lot of our education system. When my son, aged 14, had to choose his GCSE subjects he was told by the economics/business studies teacher that economic was for the “more academic” students, business studies for the “less academic”. What sort of message does that send out?

I think one of the most heartening stories in recent years has been the success of the two business schools at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge - the Judge and Said business schools. Both have come from nowhere a decade ago to be ranked in the top 20 in the FT 2007 MBA rankings. I know at one time - and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was still the case - the most over-subscribed undergraduate programme at Oxford University was in economics and business.

So, I guess my answer is that it is up to the universities and schools to change these attitudes

I am just finishing my undergraduate degree in economics and I am trying to decide whether to go straight on to do an MBA, which I believe is possible in many US business schools, or work for a few years first. What sort of qualifications would I need to be accepted now and would I find it harder to get a job at the end of the programme?
Sarah Heath, US

Ted Snyder: Many US schools are trying to attract younger applicants. Some, like Rochester, are taking significant percentage straight out of college but, your chances for admission to a strong set of schools are enhanced by two years of high quality work experience.

William McKenzie: One of the greatest benefits of doing an MBA is gaining exposure to a many different individuals who bring a wide range of experiences and perspectives. So a MBA program is not so much about what you can give, but also what you can offer. You will be able to give more to you program and classmates if you have some experience.

If you feel you are ready to apply for an MBA, go ahead. However keep in mind that you may not get us much out of it, without prior experience to draw upon.

Linda Meehan: Columbia Business School has admitted students directly out of undergraduate education. What we are looking for in those candidates is similar to what we look for in all of our applicants. The biggest difference is that those applying directly out of their undergraduate schools have not experienced business in the same way.

So, we will first look for outstanding grades and performance, strong leadership potential or demonstration, and exposure to business in some form. Some of these applicants have grown up in family businesses and have actually worked in some capacity throughout their lives, some have started businesses while in school, and some have done internships while students or during their summers.

As I always explain, having focus and knowing their skills and interests is very important in attending business school. I do believe it very important to have realistic goals. In other words we are indeed looking for the “cream of the crop.”

What are some of the key differences between one and two year MBA programs? Will we see a shift to the one year program in the years to come?
Ali Nawab, Toronto, Canada

William McKenzie: There are many obvious differences between a one year or two year program. (for example: time, costs, available courses, internships, and semester exchange opportunities)... Apart from these, I believe the most important factor to consider is WHAT YOU WANT FROM AN MBA PROGRAM.

For instance, if you are not completely sure as to what you want to do, if you are a career changer, relatively young (less than 25), or if you want to start your own business, I would recommend choosing a program that is longer than 12 months.

As a first year student at London Business School, I and many of my classmates fit into one or more of the above categories. Although I am completely confident that we would be able to secure and find gainful employment in a few months, I feel that having two years to complete the MBA will dramatically increase the chances we secure the most suitable career and within the most ideal company.

That is because with two years we have time to learn, internalise, and practice key concepts. We have time to develop lasting relationships and networks with classmates and alumni. Also, we are afforded the opportunity to mature.

Lastly, what is really great about London business school is that you can finish in as quickly as 15 months or as long as 21 months. So if for some reason you feel you may be ready before the 21 month deadline, you are able to finish earlier.

Linda Meehan: As you may be aware Columbia Business School has two entries; the first being the September in-take, and the second being the January in-take. Both programs are a full four semester MBA Program with the same opportunities in terms of classroom choice, same faculty, same students, time in the classroom, experience, clubs organizations, guest speakers, interviewing opportunities.

Both a full, full-time programs with the only difference being the summer internship. Students entering our January MBA Program will experience four consecutive semesters as opposed to two consecutive semesters, an internship and then another two consecutive semesters.

Della Bradshaw: That is a very interesting question from someone in Canada as, of course, the Ivey school at the University of Western Ontario - the Harvard of the north - has recently ditched its traditional two-year programme for a one-year MBA. The dean there, Carole Stephenson, recently told me that the programme attracts students who are more focused, who know what they want to do when they graduate. This is the common theme I hear from business schools on both sides of the debate: the two-year programme, because of its summer internship, enables students to experience different types of jobs and different industries before they have to make a decision about their futures. But it comes at a cost - literally.

Will we see a shift to one-year programmes in years to come? I don’t believe many business schools who run two-year programmes will ditch them in favour of the one-year model, though I think some might introduce a one-year programme for older participants - a bit like the Sloan programme st London Business School, MIT Sloan and Stanford. However, in Canada, where two of the market leaders - Ivey and Queen’s - both now run one-year programmes, it will be interesting to see what the other top schools decide to do.

However, the big question is, which model new MBA programmes will adopt. If you were setting up an MBA programme today, would it be a one-year or two-year programme? What is clear from all available industry data is that the growth in MBA programmes is taking place outside the US. In 2006 GMAT, for example, reported that between 1999 and 2006 the number of business schools in the US grew from 846 to 927, but in Europe over the same period the number rose from 181 to 658. Were these 477 new schools offering one-year or two-year MBA programmes? My gut feeling is that they would be one-year programmes, although I have no statistical data to back that up. The big decider, I believe, will be what happens in Asia, particularly in China. It will be really interesting to watch.

I would very much like to move into management consulting on completion of my MBA. What are the qualities they would look for in entry level candidates and new hires?
Mel Franklin, London

Ted Snyder: The set that is usually identified includes analytical skills, teamwork, and high energy level. The other skill that I think is part of the set, but not exclusively stated, is sales ability.

Bill Neuenfeldt: Bain continues to recruit from business schools around the world and we look for people with intelligence, integrity, passion and the ambition to make a difference. Those are the characteristics that are aligned with the needs of a high-energy, results-oriented consulting firm such as Bain.

We also look for strong analytical skills, for people who take ownership of the clients’ need to drive change, and for people who are confident and articulate.

These days we increasingly hear about MBA graduates receiving multiple job offers, particularly in the financial sector and management consultancy. So, what are the qualities that top-tier MBA candidates should look for in a firm like Bain when they are making their decision?
Laura Stanham

Ted Snyder: If you’re blessed with more than one offer, than it really does come down to fit. Try to gauge where you rank among the people their trying to hire. I always recommend going for a good match. Separate advice: don’t wait until the last day to decide.

Bill Neuenfeldt: You should look for firm where you can make a difference early in your career. MBAs decide to join Bain because they can help clients be successful and create breakthrough success stories. They have the opportunity to contribute directly to our firm’s purpose - to make companies more valuable.

In a global economy, you should also look for international mobility. Bain’s culture allows us to operate as a global team working together across geographies, in 33 locations worldwide. In addition, roughly 10-15 per cent of Bain’s consulting staff take advantage of global transfers, which provide more extensive exposure to different clients, co-workers, cases and cultures.

You also want to learn and develop once you accept an offer. MBAs who join Bain enjoy some of the most intensive and accelerated training in the industry. Bain conducts between 25 to 30 global training sessions annually, where consultants meet to participate in training to accelerate their learning.

And finally, general management experience, because it builds a long-term foundation for your career. Bain provides the best general management experience available. Our consultants work across multiple industries for several years, learning the fundamentals of making companies more valuable. This experience prepares them to select an area of expertise, as well as prepares them for senior leadership positions in industry if they choose that path later in their career.

Getting on for 60,000 people in the UK have MBAs. Can you please tellme what the benefits have been for the economy bearing in mind of course that our trade deficit and personal debt levels are at record levles, house prices have gone through the roof, manufacturing has all but collapsed and investment in high growth start ups continues to be muted.
Dick Winchester, Scotland

Ted Snyder: I think the UK economy is doing well but I wouldn’t draw too tight a causal link between MBA education and overall economic success. The difficulties you site are common, of course, to developed countries with and without large numbers of MBAs. I also don’t blame all of US foreign policy on the Harvard Business School.

Della Bradshaw: Well I did read in a very informative article in the FT this morning from Cercle d’outre-Manche, the French London-based think-tank, that with 2.5m fewer inhabitants than France, the UK generates E76bn more annual gross domestic product - the equivalent of E2,400 per head. So, things can’t be all bad.

Would you recommend going for an MBA degree to someone who is an economist with an MA in international economics and politics obtained in 1977 from the School of Advanced International Studies/Johns Hopkins? I have held a managerial position at the UN and I have lived in US, Canada, Europe and Asia for extended periods-longer than 2 years in each location both for my job and my husband’s international assignments.I would like to start abusiness in retail and marketing; export and import. I am in my early fifties. Would I be able to work together with a much younger student body and professors? Are there any MBA programs you would recommend for someone in my situation?
Gul Tanghe, Belgium

Della Bradshaw: Well, you’ve certainly got a great CV! The question would be - why?

William McKenzie: The Full Time MBA program is usually composed of junior professionals around the age of 28 or so. Based upon your experience, I recommend looking into some other programs that London Business School offers. The Executive MBA’s are 20 month programs for senior managers. You can remain employed while completing these degrees. Also, there is a Fulltime Sloan Fellowship. It is a 10 month masters in management program for senior/experienced managers.

There are significant stats available to differentiate the business schools and with an emphasis focusing on the gap between top and lesser schools (New Dawn of the MBA - Della Bradshaw). Taking this into account what are the key performance or ability/behavioural traits that differentiate a student qualifying from a top school to that deem slightly lesser?
Sean Charlton, London

Ted Snyder: Good question. At Chicago, our approach is to look at the whole person. We certainly look at GMAT, GPA, and career progression. But we also endeavour to assess the person’s leadership potential and character. So, for better or for worse, there’s not a formula. The implication for you - and others- is strengthen yourself and prepare yourself for not only business school but for your career and your life’s work.

Della Bradshaw: I guess at the heart of your question is, what would I need to do to get into a top business school. Certainly you would need to have a good academic background. Increasingly, though, I think business schools are looking for a diversity in experience and someone with a good story to tell. ............................................................................................................................................

I have a young family and am a management consultant so time is limited as it is. I have been looking into an MBA for a couple of years now and have been talking specifically with a UK Top five business school and will apply this year. My dilemma is; because of time and availability a long distance MBA is the most suitable. My first choice would be an Executive MBA but it will not fit in with current role/ family commitments. How credible is a Long Distance MBA and where does it land in the market place?
Chris Harwood

Linda Meehan: Chris, let me suggest you take a look at our 16 month program at Columbia Business School. If you are not planning on changing careers it might be a wonderful experience for your entire family.

Della Bradshaw: I assume when you say a “Long Distance MBA” you mean one that is completed online or by some other form of distance learning. This is still a relatively new market and many of the providers have no real reputation in the full-time or EMBA market. So if you take this option I would suggest looking at whether the programme is accredited by the international accreditation bodies, AACSB in the US, Amba in the UK or Equis in Europe. Some distance learning degrees award the same degree as for the full-time or executive MBA - Warwick, in the UK, for example.

Perhaps one route would be to talk to the personnel department in your company and ask how they value distance learning degrees - they might even pay your fees, if you are lucky!

The Financial Times will publish a listing, NOT a ranking, of online and distance learning MBAs on March 19, 2007. I hope that will help.

I have been pondering whether it will be useful to pursue a MBA given my age and the real post-graduation career possibilities, considering that I’m a middle level manager and will be a decade older than the rest of the class (I’m 40 years against an average of 28 years at most MBA programs). Wouldn’t an MBA be a waste of money if employers and recruiters are interested in younger people?
Claudio Gutierrez, Latin America

Linda Meehan: Columbia Business School does not have a work requirement and will indeed consider your application seriously. If you feel, that after one year you are ready to begin our program, and that you are able to express how your work experience will lend itself to what is you might want to do after business school; you may indeed be a strong applicant to our program. Remember that we look at the entire application in our evaluations.

Della Bradshaw: Have you considered studying on an executive MBA programme? The average age of participants on these programmes is usually in the late thirties and you wouldn’t have to give up your job to do it.

I am a US resident working in London, UK, for an investment bank. In order for me to enhance my working experience I consider it critical to remain at my current position for two more years and apply to an American school at the age of 31-32 to pursue an MBA. Could this circumstance or delay be detrimental to my application (I would be above the average age at entry) or is the age acceptable in accordance with top 20 schools’ expectations? Upon graduation, would the hiring companies be dissuaded from hiring an MBA graduate at a hypothetical age of 33-34?
David, London

Della Bradshaw: David, have you though about doing an EMBA at all - basically, have you got the time to do that? If you are insistent on studying at a US school then in London you would have the choice of the University of Chicago or the global programme run jointly by Columbia and London Business School, as well as a raft of local programmes.

Linda Meehan: I always feel that the individual who is looking at doing an MBA take a very good look first at why he or she is interested in doing this. Depending on the reasons that one comes up with, one makes the decision to apply to the appropriate MBA Program.

You should take a very good look at the programs you are interested in attending; take a very good look at who hires and in what numbers from those programs, take a good look at what positions the MBA’s are hired into and make your decision as to whether or not it is what you are looking for with regards to your career. Someone with your experience might seriously look at the EMBA Programs which may indeed serve you far better.

I would strongly suggest you look at the EMBA Global Program which is offered by Columbia Business School and London Business School. It is a very exciting opportunity!

For Mrs Meehan: I am 25 years old, already hold an MA in European politics and have work experience in a different field than most MBA students. How realistic is it for someone with such a background to be admitted and successfully follow courses in a top school like Columbia? Would you recommend the 16-month program or the full two year program? Should I wait a couple more years or apply sooner rather than later?
Elli Tsiligianni, Brussels

Linda Meehan: Your background in politics sounds interesting. I think you need to answer some questions about what it is you might like to do after attending Columbia Business School and how your background will assist you in accomplishing your goals? As far a whether to apply to our January or our September Program, it will depend on on several factors.

If your background and your network will allow you to get a job after business school without an internship, then January may be a great program for you. If you are looking to change careers then an internship will be important as you make this transition. It is important to understand that our January program is identical to our September program but the January program does not include an internship.

For Mr Neuenfeldt: How much do companies in Europe recruit from US schools and vice-versa?
Elli Tsiligianni, Brussels

Bill Neuenfeldt: As the economy and our clients have globalised, so has the search for talent. Companies across all regions face incredible challenges in filling their management and leadership pipelines. It is quite typical for companies in Europe to recruit in the US and vice-versa. Within Bain, our European offices recruit extensively at US schools and our NA offices hire from European schools as well. We value that diversity a great deal.

What are the factors on which I should decide whether to go for a one-year MBA course or a two-year course. Personally I believe that I’ll benefit more by joining a two-year MBA course, but on the other hand a one-year MBA course will save time.
Amar, India

Linda Meehan: I think the major difference between most one year programs and two year programs is; the amount of time one spends in the classroom, the amount of time one has to experience the many opportunities within a program, as well as developing the relationships available to the student.

Having recently got my MBA from a leading business school I want to know what is the best way to use your MBA in looking for jobs? In particular where should it go on your CV if at all? Any specific websites we should be looking at?
Satinderpal Jandu, London, UK

Ted Snyder: I’m always in favour of truthful resumes. I would put it under education alongside whatever other educational achievements you’ve earned. The most important thing is to explain what you got out of the MBA and how it will help you accomplish relevant objectives in the jobs you want to obtain.

I have completed my studied of ACCA (Association of Chartered certified Accountant ) two years back and have one and half year of experience in KPMG financial advisory department and after that six month experience in PwC financial advisory department. I want do executive MBA from top ten schools. Please advise me that am I eligible to do this, is this the right move for me and what school should I choose.
Syed Ali, UAE - Abu Dhabi

Della Bradshaw: My question is, why do you want to do an MBA? If it is to move into a different sector then great, go ahead, but I think you need to quantify the gains you would expect before embarking on an EMBA. Top schools? The Financial Times publishes a ranking of global EMBA programmes every October, which is available here on FT.com.

Why aren’t more European students going to leading schools in developing markets like ISB in Hyderabad? Is there any point doing one of the lower end MBAs at some of the less recognised schools or are these just for the middle ground managers who need to feel good?
Nigel Jacklin, Kensington, London

Della Bradshaw: Nigel, to answer the second question first. I’m one of those people that believes all education has value, so I am sure your middle ground managers would do more than just feel good at the end of the programme.

On your first question, I think one of the real issues is that most people still want to go to a school with a recognised brand in order to get a great job at the end of the programme. And just as india and China are developing markets, their business schools are relatively new as well. Although a school like ISB may be well-know in India, it may not be known by the average European personnel manager.

William, I was wondering what influenced your decision to study at LBS and whether you are full-time or Executive MBA student? What are your thoughts on other London institutions such as Cass and Tanaka?
Hawa Kamara Brealey, London

William McKenzie: I am a full time student. I guess what influenced me most was wanting to make sure I got the quality of education I would expect from a top US School – but also the international perspective I may not have been exposed to by staying in the US. London Business School seemed like an excellent fit, because not only is it a top ranked institution –but it also has a global perspective I found difficult to come across elsewhere. For instance my work group of seven students is composed of three Europeans, an Asian, an Indian a Mexican and I. Working with this diverse group has taught me so much about ho business is done in an international setting….US schools just do not offer this.

Also was the program’s flexibility and large selection of electives. It offers the ability to finish in as quickly as 15 months. I think that the other schools offer good programs. However, it will be much more difficult to get your foot into the top companies, access to the top teachers, and interact with the top students/alumnus at those programs. London Business School competes with the top US programs. At the moment, I don’t believe those other programs can.

Hello, I am a PHD student at VA Tech studying science and technology studies, with focus on innovation. Will my PHD help or hurt me getting into a top MBA program? In terms of work experience, I have worked for two years before I entered the program.
Amir Bakhshaie, Virginia

Linda Meehan: Advanced degrees are looked at as part of the applicants background. When we evaluate applications we look at all aspects of the candidate; undergraduate degree, graduate degrees, leadership, work experience, academic performance, outside interests and focus. When we evaluate work experience and education we focus on how it relates to what it is you would want to do leaving the MBA program.

I graduated from Economics two years ago and have also worked in microfinance and at a large multinational. I have been working as a management consultant for a year, where I am happy. I am looking for an MBA which approaches business education without leaving any educational gaps. Which MBAs both in Europe and the US would you recommend?
Manuel Bueno, Spain

Della Bradshaw: The core courses of any reputable business school should provide you with a comprehensive overview of what you need.

Which universities providing MBAs, globally, do you think investment banks in London prefer if you were to pick the top five?
David Carr, London

Della Bradshaw: I don’t think I dare answer that...... But honestly, I do think that this has become such a global market that investment banks in London will recruit at the same schools as those on Wall Street. My only caveat to this is that many investment banks in London now take a good propotion of their new hires from top notch undergraduate or specialist masters programmes rather than MBAs.

What in your opinion is the most significant advantage or benefit a company can gain by supporting its middle/senior managers through an MBA?
Sam Shah, London

Della Bradshaw: I would have thought that the executive MBA model - studying while you work - would be more appropriate to companies that want to train up their managers. Almost all EMBA programmes incorporate projects for participants to carry out in their companies and these are frequently very successful.

In terms of the full-time MBA, I know a lot companies such as management consultancies paid for their managers to study on an MBA in the 2002-2004 period, when business was bad. In this case it was a mechanism to enable them to retain the best staff when there was no meaningful work to do back in the office.

I am a senior executive with 23 years of professional experience. Recently I have gone private and have my own consultancy activity. Being out of the loop of a corporate environment I realise that it is very difficult to keep abreast of important issues. I have been contemplating an EMBA but I have been advised that at my stage the experience is more relevant than the academic references. Please provide me with your feedback. I am also keen on knowing whether it is possible to receive financial aid for an EMBA. My area of expertise is project finance mainly in energy, water and transportation.
Mona, Egypt

Della Bradshaw: I think the big question for you is whether you have enough time to study on an EMBA at the same time as trying to build your company. I would have no doubt that the academic experience would be a benefit if you did - not least because you could tap into the experience of all the other participants on the programme.

Many in the US business school community discount the FT’s rankings of business schools because it’s European, and because its survey seems to lack depth. Business Week gains credibility due to the sheer depth of its survey, accompanied with countless articles and write ups. What, if anything, is FT doing to increase its survey’s credibility versus its peers?
Nigel Frankson, CFA, Citigroup Investment Research

Della Bradshaw: Well, this is a question I have to answer.

At the risk of stating the obvious, all business schools are going to prefer the rankings in which they do well. BusinessWeek publishes a ranking of US only schools and a separate ranking on non-US school. Therefore, most US schools will be ranked higher in the BusinessWeek rankings that in the FT global rankings because the BusinessWeek ranking contains fewer schools.

Second, you say the FT rankings are European - I am not too sure what that means. In the 2007 ranking of the top 100 schools, 60 were US schools and eight out of the top 10 schools were from the US.

Rather than lacking depth, I think the FT rankings are the most comprehensive. The table we published on Monday - and every year - contains 2,600 pieces of statistical data.

And I do believe that in the paper and online we publish as many, if not more, features than anyone else. Our survey on Monday, for example, was accompanied by 25 articles, and on an annual basis we publish some 150 articles related to business education.

At the age of 34, I am a senior manager having worked in two of the big four consulting/accountancy firms with four years international experience. I am looking to make a move into investment banking and am unsure as to whether I should go for an MBA, and EMBA or a Global. What would you advise?
Manz Awan, Madrid, Spain

Della Bradshaw: My guess is that all three would do the job.

How would you rate (or consider for employment) an individual who has not completed his/her first degree but has, nevertheless and on the basis of age and experience, been able to enrol into an MBA distance learning programme with a fully accredited university of good reputation?
Guido Losi, the Hague, Holland

Della Bradshaw: I think one of the great things about distance learning MBAs at places like the Open University in the UK - and I suspect from what you say that this is where your wife is studying - is that thy enable those who have missed out on tertiaty education when they were younger to get back into the education system. Most of the top business schools select really bright students and place them with high-paying companies. What these distance learning degrees do is enrol students from all backgrounds and develop them as managers. So, yes, I think its a great idea.

Are most Bain employees MBA graduates with similar academic and professional backgrounds or does Bain increasingly hire staff from undergraduate programmes?
Erika Jensen, Brussels?

Bill Neuenfeldt: Bain believes diversity breeds creativity and we’re thus committed to seeking the best talent available to solve complex business problems and industry issues. Different points of view give us more insight into our clients’ businesses. Therefore we also recruit individuals with academic credentials that complement the traditional MBA background, such as those with PhDs, JDs, MDs and other post-graduate degrees.

We also recruit individuals with extensive industry experience. But at the end of the day, an MBA provides a great foundation for success at Bain. MBAs provide the strong generalist background and business fundamentals that our consultants need to implement strategies across industries and yield the best results for our clients.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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