Is an MBA worth it ? After Covid-19, absolutely not.


For my parents’ generation, the default option for career development was getting an MBA. At one point in the late 2010s, I considered the degree, too. But as much as the brand glittered, a price tag of $200,000 plus two years of lost wages just didn’t seem worth it. And now?

Is an MBA worth it in 2020? It’s becoming more and more clear that an MBA degree is not just a questionable investment—it’s a risk that’s simply not worth it.

Let’s step back: The value of business school has been diminishing for a while. (Just ask Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, or Mark Cuban for their opinion of the MBA or take a look at the declining application rates, even at the top schools.) The model of taking students out of the workforce to study decades-old cases was designed for a different era, when technology didn’t shift entire industries at such a breakneck speed.

Covid-19 has shone a glaring spotlight on just how archaic this type of education is. Almost overnight, business plans have been torn up, the rules we’ve played by scrapped. Executives can’t lean on the tactics they learned from outdated case studies—all of us are learning about our new world in real time.

Continue reading… “Is an MBA worth it ? After Covid-19, absolutely not.”


Why no one wants to be an MBA anymore



 A recent Wall Street Journal article focused on the steep decline in elite MBA program applications. In an era of an increasing divide between the economic haves and have nots, you’d think that the vaunted Masters in Business Administration degree would be valued more than ever. After all, with the recent boom in the stock market coinciding with a steep reduction in corporate taxes, big corporations are awash in profits to reward their highest achievers. Though there has been only slight progress in wage increases for rank and file employees, the top brass is enjoying greater compensation than ever. And a quick look at the CEOs of the companies with highest market caps reveal at least one thing in common: both leaders obtained MBAs from prestigious institutions. Apple’s Tim Cook graduated from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, while Satya Nadella of Microsoft received his MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Yet MBA applications are down sharply, even at the most celebrated institutions. The Journal article has highlighted declines between 5-20% in applications to the top U.S. MBA programs. What gives?

Continue reading… “Why no one wants to be an MBA anymore”


Admission Trends at European Business Schools

7 European Business Schools 565

The desire to become an entrepreneur, is up 25% from the previous year

From rising numbers of applicants to more students eyeing entrepreneurship and social responsibility, here are the key trends shaping Europe’s MBA programs
Javier Muñoz, admissions director at IESE in Barcelona, is looking to expand the school’s class size by adding a fourth stream to its full-time MBA. “Applications have been very strong this year,” Muñoz says.
The increase IESE is seeing in demand for MBA degrees is happening worldwide—and particularly benefiting European business schools. The QS World MBA Tour reported an overall 5% increase in attendance numbers in 2009 over the previous year, while most European B-schools have reported increases of 10% or more in their number of applications.
Peter Rafferty, MBA director at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in Belgium, has been able to double his class size in the past 12 months on the back of a 100% jump in applications. St. Gallen in Switzerland has seen a 100% growth in its part-time executive MBA program, alongside strong growth in its full-time MBA program—with applications coming from across Europe. And in the U.K., Philippa Hain of the London Business School’s admissions team also reports strong application numbers, while the lesser-known Westminster Business School has had to wait-list applicants for the first time for its full-time MBA, according to its admissions manager, Agata Mazurkiewicz.
What’s behind this resounding growth in demand for MBA studies at European schools?
The financial crisis has certainly shaken out professionals in financial services, encouraging them to change career paths. Santiago Iniguez, dean of IE Business School, argues that “the MBA remains a transformational experience, a hub where participants can retrain.” Among 2009 attendees of the QS World MBA Tour in Europe, 18% came with a finance background, compared with 14% in 2008. The one-year duration of most European MBAs, combined with the fact that the schools tend to cater to a slightly older cohort of candidates than their U.S. counterparts, have made them quite attractive to people seeking new careers.
Career insecurity also has encouraged young professionals from a broad range of industries to seek an MBA as a safe haven, using the recession as a period to “reskill” and prepare for opportunities in the future. Usually MBA applications start to slacken at the beginning of an economic recovery. But in 2010 many young professionals have decided that to be equipped for a new business era, an MBA degree may be a prerequisite for success. As a result, applicant demand is more robust than at the same stage in previous business cycles. “Business remains the hottest ticket in higher education, with the widest career opportunities,” says IE’s Iniguez.
One trend in the past 12 months is especially noteworthy: A growing number of people appear to be rejecting traditional corporate career paths in favor of entrepreneurial pursuits. An MBA is an obvious way to jump-start that process. Asked their reasons for attending business school, 30% of attendees of the QS World MBA Tour identified a desire to become an entrepreneur, up from 25% the previous year. Many European B-schools have established strong reputations for fostering entrepreneurs or entrepreneurially-minded managers, including Cranfield, EM Lyon, IE, IESE, Imperial, Insead, LBS, Manchester, and RSM.
Socially responsible careers are another objective that’s increasing in popularity, to the benefit of European schools that have built CSR into their curricula. Some 11% of QS World MBA Tour attendees expressed an interest in socially responsible careers, compared with just 6% a year ago. “A significant number of IE alumni are exploring business opportunities in fields such as biotechnology, renewable energies, or ‘green’ industries,” says the school’s Iniguez. “Today we live in a new business environment where business schools are challenged to prepare not just good financial engineers or management technicians, but primarily entrepreneurs who are at the same time good citizens.”
Another big change has been the proportion of international students at business schools who are actively looking to return home or develop careers in emerging markets. A few years ago, an international MBA was a route to a new life overseas—most commonly in the U.S. or Britain, which were the two most popular career destinations. Now, with tightening work permit requirements in the U.S., international MBAs are instead looking to return home to take advantage of burgeoning opportunities there.
Professor Mauro Guillen at the Wharton School in Philadelphia notes that “a higher percentage [of graduates], perhaps as many as two out of every three, are returning to work in their home countries, or in emerging markets, rather than staying in the U.S.” European business schools are capitalizing on easier visa requirements in their countries to attract international MBAs determined to stay and work abroad in their country of study.
At the same time, European business schools are appealing to “return-homers.” They are emphasizing their highly international student mix (at many, more than 90% of the students are international) and their ability to teach international business practices while providing an internationally dispersed alumni network. All of these factors can provide powerful career advantages for those seeking to exploit the rapid growth of China, South East Asia, Latin America, and other emerging economies.
Via BusinessWeek

From a rising number of applicants to more students eyeing entrepreneurship and social responsibility, here are the key trends shaping Europe’s MBA programs.

Continue reading… “Admission Trends at European Business Schools”