The MBA is widely known and respected as the premier postgraduate business qualification. What must be remembered is that it is a post-experience degree, as well as just a postgraduate one, and all reputable schools will require significant work experience before admission. This is usually between 3 – 5 years and the average age of MBA cohorts tend to be in the 28 – 31 range. So, this is not a qualification for new graduates. An important dimension is that students learn from each other as well as from the formal teaching, and the more experience you have to contribute, the more you will get out of the programme. The MBA is a broadly based degree and, although you will find more tightly focused programme with titles such a ‘Global Banking and Finance’, ‘Strategy and Procurement Management’ and ‘Corporate Governance and Responsibility’, they will still have the essential MBA core of business disciplines.

Another important factor when thinking about MBA study is the reputation of the schools you apply to, as employers tend to attach importance to the school the degree was gained from and value it accordingly. This is particularly the case if you are thinking about an international career, as top schools will be known and valued accordingly around the world. Guidance can be gained from a range of ‘rankings’ of which the two most widely respected outside the US are those of the Financial Times and the Economist Intelligence Unit – usually the number of leading UK schools featuring in these Global Top 100s is under 20. It is also important to check schools out thoroughly; perhaps by visiting a number if you can get to the UK, or talking to people who have been to study in the UK. There are many schools where you can take an MBA and they have different ‘personalities’ and ‘angles’. Take time to find the one that is right for you – which may not be the most highly ranked. Remember: A happy student is a good student.

A question increasingly asked these days is ‘Is it worth doing an MBA in these days of recession as I might not get a return on my investment?’ The answer is emphatically ‘Yes’ and in fact demand for MBAs tends to be countercyclical. In difficult times, people seek to upgrade their skills and give themselves a competitive edge in the job market. And, of course, recessions come to an end, when the MBA graduate will be well placed to take advantage of the expanding number of top job opportunities.

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