The MBA: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take It Personally

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Top international business schools meet executive talent through One-to-One meetings in Singapore on April 11th, 2018.

Over the past years the Master of Business Administration (MBA) has become a highly valued degree not only in business-related fields, but in areas as diverse as sports management and aviation. And rightfully so – it can be an asset for professionals who wish to give their managerial career a boost as well as for those who are looking to switch to a different field.

Even with increased opportunities for studying in all corners of the world, competition is not to be disregarded. Top MBA programmes are looking for ambitious and well-prepared candidates to build a diverse student body and strong alumni network. Applicants need to be ready to invest time and effort into the application process from start to finish.

Here is why a personal touch can go a long way.

1. The MBA is a personal commitment

Deciding to do an MBA is a matter for the career, lifestyle, and future development. The personality and approach of a school are important factors for MBA candidates to consider. How different MBA programmes match one’s expectations are easily discernible by speaking with their representatives in person.

2. Business meetings with business schools

Determined MBA applicants take the opportunity to talk business with MBA representatives one-on-one. They find out which business schools will enable them to reach their personal and professional goals. MBA meetings also allow applicants to receive feedback on how competitive it is to get admitted to the school.

3.  20 constructive minutes

Access MBA’s One-to-One event enables professionals to meet the representatives of schools that were carefully selected to correspond to their professional background and expectations. Thus, the school and the MBA candidate are already familiar with one another and each 20-minute meeting is spent discussing the topics that matter the most.

4. Gain an admissions advantage

One-to-One MBA event participants get a sneak preview of their chances for admission by asking the right questions and putting forward their best presentation skills. Among the top-ranked, and thus most competitive, business schools participating in the Access MBA event in Singapore on April11th are IE Business School, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, ESCP Europe, INSEAD, Asia Business School, UBC-Sauder, IESE Business School, Fordham University, CEIBS Executive MBA, HEC Paris and many more.

5. Real-time professional guidance

Getting an MBA degree is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and MBA applicants appreciate expert advice. Before, after and in-between the business school meetings, event visitors can receive free MBA consulting on any aspect of MBA selection, GMAT preparation, funding options, and  MBA application strategies to help guarantee a successful business education investment.

Why consider an MBA?

  • Studying for an MBA can help you not only learn valuable business skills but also network with knowledgeable and successful professionals in the industry.
  • A greater percentage of companies in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the United States plan to hire MBA graduates in 2017 compared to those who did so in 2016. US-based companies plan to offer recent MBA graduates a starting median base salary of USD 110,000 in 2017, up from USD 105,000 in 2016. (GMAC, Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, 2017)
  • Eighty-six percent of surveyed corporate recruiters who work directly with participating graduate business schools plan to hire recent MBA graduates in 2017. (GMAC, Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, 2017)
  • Despite political uncertainty about the status of immigration and work visa programmes, companies in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the US are staying the course with plans to hire international graduate business candidates. (GMAC, Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, 2017)

Meet top business schools’ admissions directors in person

Date: Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Venue: Orchard Hotel, Singapore

Time: 5.00pm to 10.00pm

Registration: Online registration is free of charge on https://www.accessmba.com/link/9t . By registering at least 10 days before the MBA event, event participants will receive a profile evaluation and a personalized consultation to identify the most suitable business schools at the event.

 

Discussing: Scholarship Renewals, College Essays, and the New Common App Prompts

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Beth Heaton returned as host for this episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, incorporating a wide range of timely topics. Covering information about scholarship renewal, the new Common Application essay prompts, and how to begin the essay writing process, this episode is packed full of great information!

Renewing College Scholarships

Did you know that not every scholarship is necessarily good for all four years of college? Cheryl Hunt joined Beth for her inaugural Getting In: A College Coach Conversation show to discuss this tricky subject. Cheryl is a 27-year college finance veteran, including work at both Azusa Pacific and Chapman University in California. In this segment, Cheryl walked listeners through the questions they need to ask now, at the time of the award offer, in order to make great decisions. Spoiler alert: there are many scholarships that might last for just one year, or need to be renewed each year—tune in to learn how to handle these!

Common Application Essay Prompts for 2017-2018

Lauren Randle joined Beth in the show’s second segment to discuss the recently released and updated Common Application essay prompts. Going prompt by prompt, Lauren and Beth highlighted the updates and analyzed the new prompts. Students applying in the 2017-18 application cycle will reap the benefits of these updated (and additional!) prompts, but only if they’re prepared to scrutinize the questions and attack them in the way they were meant to be written. Tune in to hear Beth and Lauren share their expectations for how students might address the old, updated, and new prompts—and to decide which prompt might be best for you!

Starting the College Essay

Finally, in the third segment, Mary Sue Youn joined Beth to discuss getting started on your college essays. With such a daunting task, where do you even begin? Beth and Mary Sue shared their “go-to” methods for helping students pick a topic and choose their writing angle. They also shared valuable insights for students who are feeling really stuck—make sure to listen to the full segment to hear all of their tips and tricks.

10 Biggest Changes to the 2017-18 Common Application | Part 2

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What the 2017-2018 Common App Changes Mean for You – Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of our blog that highlights ten of the biggest changes to this year’s Common Application. In Part 1, we revealed tips on who exactly needs to complete the new Courses and Grades section of the application, and the dangers of using Google Drive when transferring your essays from Google Docs into the Common App. But now, let’s turn our attention to six additional Common App changes.
5. Sex/Gender Clarifications

To be more sensitive to those students who do not comfortably fall into the male-female binary, the Common App no longer asks students to indicate their “sex assigned at birth” during the account creation process. Rather, on the Profile page of the application, students will be asked to bubble in either a male or female sex and then immediately be given the opportunity to clarify their gender identity in the space below.

Common App Changes

Insider’s Tip: Students have 100 characters (including spaces) to provide details about their gender identity on this optional question.

6. Two New Activity Headings

There are now 30 different activity types available on the Activities page of the application, thanks to the addition of internship and social justice options on the dropdown menu.

Common App Changes to Activity Headings

Insider’s Tip: Think critically about whether your volunteer efforts would best be categorized as community service or social justice on the dropdown menu. Picking up trash in your local park or spending time with seniors in a nursing home are prime examples of community service. Raising money for new immigrants in your community or serving meals to the homeless illustrate a commitment to human rights and equality.

7. Easier Activity Removal

Staying right here on the Activities page, students will notice a little trash can icon in the bottom right-hand corner of each activities listing. If you need to delete an entire activity, simply click on the trash can. (You might be wondering how this is an improvement on last year’s application because it seems so basic, right? Trying to explain the old method would take far too long, so let’s all just be glad that this process has been streamlined!)

Common App Changes Activity Removal

Insider’s Tip: Once you delete an activity, you cannot get it back. None of the information you previously entered will be saved, so think twice before you remove it.

8. Two New Personal Essay Prompts (and Three Revisions)

We love the two new essay choices available to students on the Common App, especially number six, which reads: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? To learn more about the changes to this year’s essay options, and to determine which one might be the best choice for you, be sure to read our blog and take this quiz.

9. Advisor Account

Students who would like a trusted adult (such as a mentor, college counselor, or teacher) to review a copy of their application now have two options. As in previous years, students can opt to share their Common App username and password with the advisor, or—thanks to a new feature of the Common App this year—students can invite the adult to create an advisor account via the Recommenders and FERPA page of the application. There are pros and cons to both of these options. While some advisors prefer to proofread applications by directly logging into their students accounts, be aware that by giving an advisor your login credentials, you’re essentially granting them full and unrestricted access to the application itself. If they make any changes to your application or mistakenly delete an entry, you’ll need to review and potentially correct those errors yourself. On the other hand, by allowing an advisor to see a read-only version of your application, they won’t be able to conduct a line-by-line review of each Common App page and catch potential omissions.

Common App Changes Advisor Account

Insider’s Tip: Students can invite up to three advisors at a time to review a read-only version of their application, and this invitation can be revoked at any time by clicking on the trash can icon.

10. Word Count Limits

Thank you, Common App, for developing this oh-so-simple tool for showing students the minimum and maximum word counts for all essays. Sometimes colleges neglect to inform applicants of a suggested word limit (leading to frantic questions of “how ‘short’ should a ‘short paragraph’ be?”), and at other times the text box actually provides more room than the essay instructions would imply. Now students can easily see both the high and low end ranges for all text box entries.

Common App Changes to Word Counts

Insider’s Tip: Just because a text box may allow you to exceed the recommended maximum word limit, don’t be tempted to go overboard. “Roughly 250 words” can comfortably mean up to 275 words, but submitting an essay of 300 words may be pushing it.

The Common App has done it again! Every year they continue to make practical and useful enhancements to their platform that all seek to enrich the user experience. And students can expect to see continued improvements year after year, especially now that there’s another major player competing in the college application market—the Coalition Application. But one million students can’t be wrong. Thanks to the dynamic versatility of the application, the wide range of colleges that accept it, and its easy-to-use interface, the Common Application continues to be our number one choice for students applying to college.

10 Biggest Changes to the 2017-18 Common Application | Part 1

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What the 2017-2018 Common App Changes Mean for You

The Common Application, which is accepted by nearly 730 colleges and universities across the country and around the world, underwent a bit of a makeover this summer. Students who created a Common App account prior to August 1 will notice several enhancements to the application as they navigate their way across the online platform over the next few months. Some of the changes are minor, perhaps better viewed as timesavers or user-experience upgrades than major developments. But some of the modifications are significant and provide students ever greater opportunities for self-expression and reflection. Below are our picks for the 10 biggest changes to the 2017-18 Common Application.

1. Courses & Grades

Chapman University ● New York School of Career and Applied Studies (a division of Touro College) ● Ohio State University ● Purdue University ● The George Washington University ● University of Southern California ● West Virginia University

Students applying to at least one of the seven colleges above will be required to complete a brand new section of the application titled Courses & Grades (C&G). Located just under the Writing section on the application menu, C&G is essentially a self-reported transcript. Students (a) who have access to their high school transcript, (b) whose transcripts provide final grades, and (c) whose school operates on a traditional semester, trimester, quarter, or block schedule will be prompted complete detailed course information for all classes taken in grades 9-11. The first time you enter the C&G module, you’ll be taken through a Course Assistant Wizard. Here you must indicate:

  • the grading scale used by your high school 100-1, A-F, etc.),
  • the frequency which your grades are reported on your transcript (semester, yearly, etc.),
  • the level of the class (standard, honors, AP, etc.),
  • the number of credits you earned in each class (usually 1.0),
  • and, finally, the course titles and grades themselves.

As long as you have a copy of your high school transcript close at hand, completing the C&G section is relatively straightforward. Of course, there are always special circumstances that slightly muddle the process, such as students who attended more than one high school during a single academic year, or students who earned high school credit while still in 8th grade. Not to worry, for the Common App’s Solutions Center has you covered! You can learn more about the nuances of completing the C&G section by watching these YouTube videos or searching for “courses and grades” on the Solution Center’s homepage.

Common App Support Courses and Grades

Insider’s Tip: If you are not applying to any of the seven colleges listed above, do not waste your time filling out the C&G section. Colleges that do not require C&G won’t even be able to see the completed form on your application, so you can’t submit this self-reported information even if you wanted to.

2. Google Drive Integration

Students who utilize Google Docs to write and edit their essays may be pleased to learn there is now a process to transfer the contents of their Google Docs directly into the Common Application. Anywhere you’re asked to respond to an essay question, expect to see the Google Drive icon in the header just above the text box itself. After granting the Common App permission to access your Google Drive account, you’ll be able to transpose the text of your Google Docs into text fields of the application.

Common App Support Google Drive

Insider’s Tip: Please note that any formatting features in your Google Docs that are not supported by a basic text field (such as colors, hyperlinks, charts, etc.) will be removed when the text is transcribed into the Common App. And sometimes, paragraph breaks or spacing issues appear during the transfer process. You will absolutely want to double-check your essay’s appearance in the preview screen of the Common App to ensure that the appropriate formatting has been preserved.

3. Preview Button for Supplements

Nothing helps a student spot application typos more readily than a careful review of the Common App’s preview screen. And up until this year, preview screens were only available on the six main pages of the Common App. Now, however, thanks to feedback from Common App users last year, the application’s developers have included preview buttons on all school-specific questions and writing supplement forms.

Common App Support Preview

Insider’s Tip: The preview screen will only work after students have answered at least one question on a college’s supplement.

4. More Convenient Resend Button for Recommenders

Let’s imagine that you virtually invite a teacher or coach to complete a letter of recommendation on your behalf via the Common App, but they insist they never received the email. Instead of having to search for the original request deep inside the Recommenders and FERPA page of the application, students can now easily access a simple request button right on the main screen of the Recommenders page.

Common App Support Recommendations

Insider’s Tip: Before you click resend, however, be sure to confirm that the email address you initially entered is correct. It’s possible that a mere misspelling (and not a hyperactive spam filter) is the reason for the missing email.a

What Should I Write About in my MBA Personal Statement?

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What should I write for my personal Statement?

One of the biggest questions that gets asked about MBA personal statements is what the author should include when it comes to main content points and what can be left out. A common misconception is that every piece of content in an essay of this sort has to focus on nothing but business accomplishments. That’s simply not true. An essay that is single-minded in that way will not flow well, nor will it make an impression on the reader; in fact, it could make a negative impression, making you come across as cocky or self-absorbed. You’re much better off telling some stories.
Many of the most effective and compelling MBA essays are created when the author builds the piece around anecdotes, stories about things that have happened to you in the past. MBA essay prompts are ideal in this regard, as they often specifically ask you to describe a situation from your past. As you respond to prompts of this sort, remember that it’s equally important to connect the story to you and explain why the story is important, telling, and applicable to your overall plans/goals. Don’t just tell a story for storytelling’s sake. Your story still needs to connect to your overall motivations and plans.

If you want some expert advice, focused and specified on your particular essay and story, make sure to visit TopAdmit today!

Tell a Compelling Story in your MBA Statement

In addition to telling a story, avoid getting bogged down by trying to mention every single thing you think is important from your past. You’ve certainly done a lot already, and there’s simply no way you can cram it all in to your set of essays. The sooner you accept that, the easier time you’ll have with the writing process. Rather than trying to fit everything in, spend some time listing what you consider the most important elements from your professional career to this point and ranking them as best you can.

Also consider whether any of those elements will be covered anywhere else in your application and whether they can be left out of the essays, or simply mentioned in passing. Once you’ve done this, you can build your essays around the most important items on your list.

As you brainstorm and ultimately write, keep the overall purpose of these essays in mind. And what is that purpose? Simple: to give the reader a better, more personal understanding of who you are as a person, businessperson, and applicant.

Be Personal and Honest

And lastly, remember to be personal and honest. You’re a unique individual with a unique set of experiences and plans; don’t try to fit in or somehow make yourself into a candidate that you think the admissions committee will approve of. Your individuality is your greatest strength as an applicant and if anything, you should be playing it up, not hiding it.

Along those same lines, don’t lie or stretch the truth. You’ll probably be caught, and there’s no faster way to torpedo your candidacy than to be discovered as a fraud. Besides, you’re interesting enough without embellishment!

An MBA: Will it earn you more money?

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MBA degrees enjoy great prestige in Asia, with the lure of bigger salaries and a passport to a new, high-flying career – but is a postgrad degree just the new normal?

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) brand is steeped in tradition and prestige. It’s a brand that has been built over 107 years, since eight people received the world’s first MBA degree from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1910.

Today the MBA is among the world’s most popular and respected postgraduate degrees and people are enrolling in ever-increasing numbers at the thousands of business schools across the globe.

Last year, Harvard’s MBA program enrolled 1859 new students from 9543 applicants. At a cost of more than US$200,000 over two years for tuition, room, fees, board and other associated costs at the Boston campus, Harvard is one of the most expensive places to get an MBA.

Add to that the lost income from taking a two-year hiatus from your job while you study full-time and, unless you can land a scholarship, that Harvard MBA could cost you in excess of US$300,000.

However, for many people, the significant time and financial investment is well worth it for the boost up the corporate ladder and higher earning power an MBA delivers.

At least, that’s the perception.

How much of that higher earning power can be attributed to having the three letters behind your name, and how much is due to the drive and dedication of the person willing to pursue an MBA is difficult to measure.

A growing market

What is known is that the MBA is a huge global business. It’s a market that is rapidly evolving and there’s no sign the growth is slowing.

In Australia, the MBA market is worth A$500 million, according to MBA News Australia, with 20,000 students currently studying at more than 30 Australian schools. The average MBA program in Australia costs about A$47,500.

In 1991, there were only nine MBA programs in China; now there are 236. The China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai is the top-ranked business school in Asia on the Financial Times (FT) ranking system.

Five Chinese schools are listed in the FT top 50, as well as two in Singapore, three in India and one, Sydney’s Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM), in Australia.

Two other Australian schools make the Top 100 – University of New South Wales Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), ranked at 54, and Melbourne Business School, ranked at 76.

Globally, FT ranks INSEAD, which has campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, as the world’s best.

Salary surge for graduates

Like many of the ranking systems, the 2017 FT list is based on surveys of the business schools and their 2013 graduates. Career progression and salary growth are among the criteria, and the ranking system suggests the school you choose can bring significant advantages.

Stanford Graduate School of Business alumni report an average salary of about US$195,000 three years after graduation compared to those from Incae Business School in Costa Rica, whose average salary is the lowest on the Top 100 table at about US$90,000.

However, it pays to look deeper into the statistics before making a decision on which school is right for you. Those at Incae may earn less on a dollar figure, but it represents a 142 per cent salary increase compared to what they were earning before their MBA. That ranks the Costa Rican school at number five in terms of value for money compared to Stanford’s 74th place with a 95 per cent salary increase. Stanford is the number one school for career progression but Incae still fares well in seventh place.

Asia setting MBA benchmarks

MBA News Australia founder and editor Ben Ready says Asia is driving a lot of the growth in MBAs through heavy investment in its business schools. That investment, he says, has lured excellent students and achieved great results.

“Asia is setting the benchmarks for what a great MBA should be,” says Ready. “Within a decade or so it could well be challenging some of the old global favourites and elites that have held the crown for so many years.”

Ready warns it can be easy to get bogged down by the status of a business school and suggests looking for the school that best fits in with your life and offers prime value for what you can afford.

The INSEAD campus at Fontainebleau in France offers the world’s highest ranked MBA.
The INSEAD campus at Fontainebleau in France offers the world’s highest ranked MBA.

“Ultimately, the prestige of the school you got your MBA at will only be one part of the decision to hire you,” says Ready. “Sometimes people put a little too much credence on the school; [more] than is warranted. An MBA shows you have the enthusiasm and desire to further yourself in your career and demonstrates you can commit to the work involved to achieve your MBA.

“It is a clear statement of your intent to your current or future employer that you are ready to take your career to the next level.”

The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) offers one of the cheapest accredited MBA degrees in Australia. Its Agile MBA is all provided online at a cost of about A$26,000, compared with the more than A$80,000 you would pay at any of the three FT-ranked Australian universities. It’s also the largest MBA school in Australia, with more than 4300 current students and in excess of 4500 global alumni.

AIB’s joint CEO Joel Abraham says while there are no guarantees, evidence does show an MBA increases your chances of success.

“It’s a table stake,” says Abraham. “It’s showing how seriously you are taking your profession and your career.” The MBA, he says, is a marathon that requires hard work over a substantial period of time and “only those with the true belief to achieve their desire will see it through”.

He says people will determine prestige on many different factors – is it the highest fees, or the one with most PhD holders on staff, or the one with the best research reputation? Abraham suggests outcomes are what matters most.

Attempting the triple jump

Some people choose to study their MBA because they believe it will help them in the global career market. Others hope to change industry or improve their salary through career progression. A smaller number want to make the triple jump – changing sector, salary and geography all in one bold move.

The MBA is considered a generalist business degree for those with a specialist trade – whether you’re an accountant, a lawyer or a hospital administrator.

“As you develop you get more skills and, as you become middle or senior management, you use less technical knowledge and the skill set required for those roles changes,” explains Ready.

“As a lawyer you might need to learn more about the finances, if you are in finance you may need to know more about the law, and if you are in human resources you may need more business strategy. An MBA takes you into all those areas.”

A survey of AIB’s alumni in 2017 found 40 per cent of alumni have changed job function since starting their MBA; 22 per cent have changed industries; 47 per cent received a pre-tax annual income increase within 12 months of graduation and an average annual income growth of 11 per cent after graduation.

In addition, statistics from the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2016 Year-End Poll of Employers Report found nearly eight in 10 employers plan to hire MBA graduates and 71 per cent of employers found recruiting graduates with a business masters program was a priority in their hiring plans.

Where MBAs don’t rate so highly

However, for Hudson’s accounting and finance recruitment specialist, Barry Hodson, the MBA is rarely part of his key selection criteria.

He says jobs in the finance sector are hotly contested and employers are looking for professionals with relevant industry experience as well as soft skills such as adaptability, critical thinking, the ability to influence, and communication skills.

Hodson says while there are many CFOs without an MBA, very few would be without a CPA designation or equivalent. An MBA, says Hodson, is for those who want to extend out of their area of expertise and move into broader roles in the business world.

“Ultimately, the prestige of the school you got your MBA at will only be one part of the decision to hire you.” Ben Ready, MBA News Australia

Higher education researcher and policy analyst at the University of Melbourne, Dr Gwilym Croucher, says almost 40 per cent of people aged 25 to 34 now have a bachelor degree, compared to 25 per cent of the total working population. In the 1970s that bachelor degree percentage was about 3 per cent.

Just as there has been phenomenal growth in the number of tertiary-qualified people in the workforce, the number of postgraduates has also ballooned.

“International evidence shows having a bachelor degree is extremely beneficial over the course of a working life,” says Croucher. “The 2011 [Australian] Census confirmed that having a degree increases your income by A$1 million to A$1.5 million, or more, over the course of your lifetime, compared to if you just completed Year 12. Postgraduates get more than that again, but not at the same rate.”

Croucher says the increasing proportion of workers with university qualifications means saturation point is approaching, but it will take many years before that filters through to the labour market.

The MBA’s golden age

If an MBA is no longer rare, does it still hold value? Has the exploding number of schools offering an MBA meant a decline in teaching standards?

According to an article in the Financial Times (FT) this year, salaries commanded by MBA graduates after three years back in the workplace increased by the largest amount in a decade.

It reported the highest paying sector for MBA graduates from schools on the FT Top 100 list was financial services, followed by e-commerce, and says the past three years have been “a golden age” for MBA jobs, as sectors not traditionally associated with hiring from business schools now seek out candidates with business qualifications.

However, an article in The Economist in June 2016 says the number of MBAs awarded by business schools in the US has increased seven-fold since 1970, and the employment market is struggling to keep up. It suggests other Masters-level degrees may serve some people better in their search for an executive-level job.

Taking the alternative route

Networking, global study opportunities and broadening of perspectives are among the sought-after MBA offerings. However, as technology brings the world closer together, these opportunities are readily available through non-MBA routes, including online networks and forums, as well as workshops and conferences.

While there is some evidence the brand of an MBA school can propel you further, it’s not the only consideration. An MBA can be valuable for developing skills such as negotiation, diplomacy and personal branding. Most MBA graduates surveyed by FT report a high level of satisfaction, regardless of the school they attended.

“There’s no golden ticket for going to a prestigious university,” says Croucher.

What’s important when selecting a school, he says, is ensuring it links to your area of specialty and that the course content draws on research, knowledge and understands contemporary practice.

Ready rates subject matter, teacher quality, sharp content and access to networks as among the features to look out for.

He says one of the real values of an MBA is the strong friendships forged under pressure.

“The strategy or finance theory might be outdated 10 years on, but you’ll always have those relationships,” he says.

Ready believes the MBA’s future remains strong. The last four years have indicated a trend towards the emergence of specialization, but Ready claims much of it is driven by marketing from business schools trying to differentiate themselves.

“There was a bit of a lull after the GFC [global financial crisis] because a lot of people get a company to fund their MBA, and a lot of companies had tightened their belts,” says Ready.

“So there was a little smell around the MBA at that time, but it has taken the mantle again as the postgraduate business degree to have.”

Does an MBA still help you climb the corporate ladder and give you higher earning power?

“Those three letters are so telling about the quality and the pedigree of the individual.”

The Best One-Year MBA Programs Outside The US

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An MBA is a hefty investment at a top business school with tuition and two years of foregone salary averaging more than $300,000 at Harvard, Stanford and Wharton before financial aid. But in Europe where one-year programs are more popular, the payback on these MBAs is much quicker thanks to only one year out of the workforce (tuition is lower also).

FORBES surveyed 17,500 MBA graduates around the world this year from the class of 2012 to gauge the return on investment they received by attending business school versus hypothetically not getting a graduate degree. The top 10 one-year international programs produced an average “5-year MBA gain” of $126,000. The leading two-year programs outside the U.S. had a gain of $74,300, while the best U.S. MBA programs had a five-year gain of $73,400 with Wharton School ranked first at $97,100.

The IMD campus in Lausanne

IMD ranks first this year among the one-year MBA programs, up one spot from 2015 in our biennial business school ranking. The school based in Lausanne, Switzerland had a five-year gain of $194,700. IMD caps its annual enrollment at 90 students, allowing for a very individual approach regarding career services. The school works with as many as 70 companies annually to recruit IMD grads.
Students arrive on campus with an average of seven years of work experience. The longer time in the workforce means higher forgone salaries ($81,000 for the Class of 2012). IMD also has the highest cost for a one-year program ($88,000 for the current class) thanks to mandatory fees outside tuition that cover two trips abroad, daily lunch on campus, teaching materials and more.

The payoff is worth it despite the high opportunity cost. The class of 2012 had a median salary of $215,000 five years of out of school, $26,000 more than any other non-U.S. school. IMD grads earned back their investment (forgone salary, tuition) in just 2.3 years on average.

MBA Entrepreneurs: China’s MBAs Are Launching Disruptive Technology Startups

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MBA ENTREPRENEURS

Beijing’s Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business provides a platform for MBAs looking to take the leap into entrepreneurship

China is a huge market for tech-savvy entrepreneurs. But breaking into business in China is tough. Knowing the language, the culture, and having a close network of contacts is key.

Before business school, Felicia Guo found running her own art gallery a challenge. She was on her own, managing employees and travelling frequently between China and her native Indonesia.

She decided to pursue the 14-month, full-time MBA program at Beijing’s Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB). There, she met her two current business partners, launched a new contemporary Chinese art gallery in Beijing, and co-founded an online platform for art collectors and investors.

“CKGSB was crucial for me in expanding to Beijing,” she says. “Running an art gallery, you need to know about more than art itself. Now, when I go to meetings with people from other industries, I know what they’re talking about—the MBA broadened my knowledge and gave me a different perspective.”

CKGSB has a history of supporting successful tech entrepreneurs—the school lists Alibaba founder Jack Ma among its elite alumni.

In August this year, CKGSB’s most successful MBA entrepreneur today, Cindy Mi, raised $200 million at a $1.5 billion valuation for her disruptive educational technology—edtech—company VIPKID, which matches Chinese students with North American tutors.

VIPKID has attracted investment from Tencent Holdings, Kobe Bryant’s Bryant & Stibel, and Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital. Cindy has signed up more than 20,000 teachers and 200,000 students to her platform to date.

After completing her MBA, she developed her startup in CKGSB’s Chuang Community, an incubator founded by CKGSB associate dean Liu Jing and a group of CKGSB alumni in 2015.

It was the power of CKGSB’s 10,000-strong alumni network—the school’s CEO and chairman-level alumni collectively lead one fifth of China’s most valuable brands—which drew UK entrepreneur Rory Bate-Williams to an MBA in China.

A serial entrepreneur, Rory’s startup exploits include e-commerce platforms, messaging apps, and mobile payment solutions. His latest London-based tech venture is a money-saving, energy-focused platform which auto-switches its users to the best fixed electricity and gas tariffs in the market.

Although Rory returned to the UK after his MBA, his close links to China remain.

“CKGSB opens doors for you,” he says. “Whenever I need help in China, I reach out to the school and I’m connected to relevant alumni almost immediately.”

Serbian entrepreneur Boris Nikolic came up with the idea for his clean technology—cleantech—startup during his MBA at CKGSB. Through an international MBA exchange at Michigan Ross in the US, he got the opportunity to develop the business out of Harvard’s Innovation Lab.

His startup—RENW—provides software connecting energy providers and consumers, to help providers stay ahead of consumer needs, and help consumers keep costs low.

“I chose China for my MBA because, 20 years from now, when I look back, I know I will be in a better position to understand world affairs,” Boris explains.

“The CKGSB MBA helped me discover the dream that I wanted to pursue,” he continues. “If it was not for the program’s entrepreneurial edge, I would not have founded my startup as it is.”

Credit: Businessbecause

Here’s how you can score a tuition-free MBA

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The average MBA tuition costs between $55,000 and $68,000 a year, according to U.S. News. The average debt for new grads at some of the top business schools can range from $59,000 to over $120,000. But at University of the People, you can score a tuition-free MBA with little to no debt, says founder Shai Reshef.

“Higher education can be affordable, and accessible and high quality,” he tells CNBC Make It.

In 2009, Reshef officially launched University of the People, the first tuition-free, accredited online university. Immediately after launching, Reshef says he was swarmed with top educators who wanted to partake in his business.

The concept is simple. The university is completely run by volunteers, from the professors all the way up to the provost, who volunteers from Columbia University, says Reshef. The school also boasts volunteer professors and advisers from notable colleges like Oxford, Harvard, Duke University and UC Berkeley. Currently, the university has more than 6,000 volunteer professors, Reshef says.

Meanwhile, the number of interested students has risen each year. When the online university first launched, the school had 500 students. In three years, the number of students jumped to 10,000 and Reshef believes that it will double by the end of this year.

The school first began offering tuition-free associate and bachelor’s degrees in business administration and computer science. “We started with both of the most in-demand degrees that are most likely to help students find a job,” says Reshef.

The university later introduced a health science track and then a graduate business degree in 2016. “The MBA is our fastest growing program,” Reshef says. That’s not surprising. According to U.S. News, a new MBA grad can earn up to $164,000.

Reshef says he founded University of the People because there are over a million people a year who are qualified for higher education but can’t attend due to factors like cost.

In his 2014 TED Talk titled an “Ultra-low-cost college degree,” he says that he wants to democratize higher education “from being a privilege for the few to a basic right, affordable and accessible for all.” His speech has since amassed over 4 million views.

“We provide an opportunity for people who have no other opportunity,” Reshef tells CNBC Make It. The university’s founder believes that with time, we will see not only more online universities, but also cheaper or free education.

“In online, there are no limits,” he says. “Every single university is now offering online courses so movement is on its way.”

Reshef does note that students who are accepted to the school must pay $100 for each exam that is required. However, he says the total cost is significantly lower than the “quarter of a million for standard colleges.”

As online universities become a more popular option for students, they will also affect the price of tuition at brick and mortar institutions, says Reshef. Costs like campus maintenance and technological fees will no longer be relevant and “prices will go down because there will be less demand,” he explains.

“[Colleges] will have to justify the costs if they don’t keep up,” Reshef says. “There will be price pressure on every university.”

Reshef admits that online universities are not yet the top choice for a majority of people. However, he points to the fact that his graduates have landed jobs at in-demand companies like Google, Amazon and IBM as a testament to the quality of education they receive.

“People who are educated are more likely to find better jobs,” says Reshef. “We train people to be entrepreneurs and to be creative.”

He adds, “They are people likely to be a force behind new entrepreneurship and to create businesses in their communities.”

Credit: CNBC

Tippie College of Business Abandons Its Full-Time MBA

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The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business is scrapping its full-time MBA program to focus on part-time and shorter, specialized courses, highlighting how some business schools are struggling to attract time-poor and cash-strapped managers.
The school announced on Tuesday that the full-time MBA program will be phased out by 2019, as it shifts to shorter programs. Tippie said it planned to introduce several specialized master’s programs over the next three years while also increasing investment in part-time and executive MBA programs for working professionals.

“Adapting to the market is key for growth in any organization, and we’re seeing clear shifts in what students and businesses need,” said Sarah Gardial, school’s dean.

“Both are expressing preferences for non-career-disrupting options for the MBA, while others are increasingly drawn to the focused education provided by master’s programs in specific subjects.”

‘There’s a shrinking market for the full-time MBA,’ says Tippie dean

He told the Wall Street Journal: “We’ve finally gotten to a tipping point where we can no longer deny there’s a shrinking market for the full-time program.”

Tippie is the latest in a line of business schools to shutter their full-time, two-year MBA courses. Wake Forest University’s business school said it would abandon its program in 2014, while the Virginia Polytechnic Institute said it would discontinue enrolling people in its MBA in 2013.

The moves come as many young professionals are questioning both the time and monetary cost of attending a traditional, campus-based MBA program. Not only must they pay tuition for a course of two years, but forgo lost earnings otherwise made during that period. Arizona’s W.P. Carey School of Business reflected this trend when it scrapped tuition fees for its MBA and began offering it scot free.

Tippie’s announcement also comes as the market for the full-time MBA begins to shrink, although it remains valuable in terms of improving career progression. In the US, 53% of business schools running full-time, two-year MBA courses reported a decline in application numbers in 2016, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council. At Tippie, annual enrolment fell from 140 to 100 students in the full-time program between 2010 and last year.

Specialized master’s programs are on the rise

Conversely, applications to shorter, specialized masters programs are on the rise. According to the latest GMAC data, the percentage of candidates considering specialized master’s degrees – such as the Master in Management – has increased from 15% in 2009 to 23% in 2016.

Tippie introduced a Master of Science in Business Analytics degree in 2014, and graduate enrollment has grown 517% in less than three years, due to growing demand for data science expertise in management. The school will also introduce a master’s program in finance in 2018.
Many business schools have launched specialist master’s degrees in recent years to capitalize on this demand. This month, Harvard Business School announced plans for an online business analytics program for MBAs. Others have preferred to offer specializations within their existing MBA programs. INSEAD recently revamped its MBA program, adding tracks in digital transformation and fintech.

Credit: topmba