MBA Special – Life-changing decision.

Probably the world’s best known and most widely recognised post-graduate degree, the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) has been regarded as the creme de la creme of professional degrees for those wanting to pursue a career in business management consulting and banking.

However, the very best MBAs provide a flexible tool for those wanting to, as we say at London Business School, ‘transform their future’. An MBA is a serious grounding in management and gives people the ability to pursue careers in every conceivable industry, including internet and start-ups.

What’s more, the very best MBAs can gives them a new view on the world.

Whether they are old or new economy, today’s top companies demand a new type of manager. Gone are the days when people reached the Board by progressing steadily through a series of technical or functional departments. Globalisation and the increasing sophistication of business now demands managers and business leaders who are confident in a wide range of functions, who can think ‘outside the box’, who can operate cross-culturally, and above all, who know how to get things done fast.

Top MBAs develop these skills. For example, the London Business School MBA develops this sort of multi-skilled professional through four streams of learning: becoming a disciplined thinker; making things happen; becoming a leader; becoming truly international.

An MBA is a serious investment in your career and your future and top MBAs can literally change people’s lives. For example, at London Business School, our programme helps people to develop across three perspectives.

We develop their intellectual capital by exploring current management issues and giving people the framework and skills to evaluate them.

We also help people develop their social capital – the trust and friendships established with a wide and diverse network of colleagues that last a lifetime. And finally we help people develop their emotional capital – the personal courage, self insight and determination to put knowledge in to practice.

The year 2000 is take-off year for e-commerce in Europe and everyone is transfixed by technology.

However, easy as it is to make a million off the back of a good idea and a stock market flotation, the hard fact is that without a good business plan and management training, very few start-ups will survive to see their second and third years of business.

Now, more than ever, young entrepreneurs need to look to international business schools to help them acquire the necessary skills needed to run their own businesses. In addition, an MBA can give aspiring entrepreneurs the necessary credibility to attract substantial investment for their start-up.

Some leading business schools, have recognised the need to develop specialist courses. For those students certain that they want to pursue a career in finance, our unique Masters in Finance (MiF), provides a strong foundation in the principles and practice of finance and a substantial base of new concepts and knowledge, practical and career-oriented. Other schools offer different specialist options.

Concerns among potential students about the length of time spent away from the ‘world of work’ to pursue an MBA can sometimes make people query whether the investment is justified.

You need to choose your school carefully – it’s usually wise to get a feel for the school’s intellectual capacity, its research output, faculty reputation and above all the feel of the campus and student life.

Make no mistake, doing an MBA is a huge investment, financially and emotionally and requires enormous commitment and hard work.

But the rewards can be life-changing.

Indeed most leading schools predict that you can expect to earn up to three times your pre-programme salary with an MBA within the first three years – an impressive and justifiable return on investment. The question therefore is not should you do an MBA, but more, can you afford not to do one?


The Scots and the Irish ICA have pulled out of the project to create a new international business qualification in partnership with institutes in the USA and Canada, writes Gavin Hinks.

They believe it would cost too much and would not gain the prestige they believe is needed for a new qualification.

Tentatively known as Cognitor, and intended as a direct competitor to the MBA, the new qualification was dropped just days after the institutes went public with their hopes for it.

A statement from Grenville Johnston, president of ICAS, said: ‘Education and professional qualifications are a fast moving part of our competitive world. We have concluded that the proposed Cognitor initiative is not the way forward for our profession.’

This week Johnston explains the reasons behind the ICAS decision to pull out.

The massive costs, it seems, were intimidating, there were doubts about the qualifications’ worth and above all else it seems UK firms balked at the idea.

Meanwhile Julia Tyler of the London Business School explains why the MBA is the right choice.

Whatever happens it seems competition between MBA providers and accountancy qualifications is likely to continue. [HH] Cognitor too easy.

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