Защо да изберете MBA програма?

Категории: Блог, ЕДУ Тук-Там | Публикувано на 3 април 2013

Публикуваме материал на тема защо да изберете MBA програма, който е написан от Илия Марков – студент втора година в MBA в Stephen М. Ross School of Business, the University of Michigan. Може да се свържете с него на ilia.markov@gmail.com. Между другото Илия е един от хората, които ни помагат за тазгодишното издание на Кариера в България. Защо не?.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is still not well known in Bulgaria, probably because it entails a serious finance investment which makes most Bulgarians completing an MBA degree to stay and work abroad. In its home country and more so in Europe, this major brings prestige and many good opportunities for career development.

The point in these programs is to train personnel for the big international companies, which hire every year tens and even hundreds of new employees. These work places are distributed among multiple industries, including consultancy services, investment banking and finance, FMCG, information technology, etc. Students completing an MBA degree create an opportunity to clear up their way to the peaks of the world’s largest corporations, as well as to tangibly increase their financial remuneration. The average annual salary increase of graduates in the most prestigious programs is in the order of 100%.

Hundreds (maybe even thousands) colleges throughout the world offer education in business administration. For this reason, the annual MBA program rankings drawn up by the most eminent business publications such as The Economist, Financial Times, Business Weekly, US News & World Report, among others, are very important. Every one of them uses a different methodology and the results vary widely but the Top 5, 10 schools are usually the same with little variations, so these rankings you can help you find out where a certain business school is at.

If you are in a position to choose a school, it is also important to know which industry most graduates aim at or, in other words, which is the strongest focus of a given university – some are considered “financial” (for example Chicago, New York, Harvard), while others are more orientated towards consultancy (Michigan).

A growing number of schools concentrate not only on producing business managers, but also leaders. Therefore, almost anywhere you will see leadership development programs, whether it be through internships in real-world companies, public speaking programs or something else.

Programs also vary by the choice they offer to students. Harvard is on the one extreme where the entire range of courses and disciplines is pre-approved and students have no freedom to choose, yet there are colleges which permit their students to draw up their curriculum. However, most colleges have a fixed number of “basic” subjects like Financial Accounting, Strategic, Operational, Marketing Management, etc. which are usually studied during the first half of the program and then the students could choose among a wide range of specialized subjects in the fields they are interested in.

The big difference between the European and American MBA programs is their duration. Almost all the programs in the USA last 2 years (some colleges allow a 18-month option which takes place during the summer, in between two academic years). In Europe, 2 years is rather an exception than a rule, the majority offering one-year programs, yet some of the best European programs (like IESE in Barcelona) Iast exactly two years.

Education financing is also an important issue. Due to the great career potential which MBA programs open, most programs cost about $100,000 for the entire education, regardless whether they last 1 or 2 years. Along with the expenses for rent, food, etc., the total cost of the Master’s degree reaches $150,000. Almost all colleges offerscholarships which partly cover expenses for the education , but if and how much they will offer to an applicant depends on many factors, including performance at exams, how many other schools have admitted him/her, etc. Some universities also offer financial loans to international students, however in recent years several such programs have been discontinued.

There are several things to consider before you decide to apply:

1. See what the admission requirements of the school you want to study at are. If there is no minimum, see the statistics of the current class (all schools publish such); they will serve as a good benchmark.

2. The average work experience, which students enrolled in top programs have, is five years after their Bachelor’s degree. This average does not mean you should not apply if you have less than 5 years of experience, yet if you have worked for 2-3 years only, you should think what other strengths you can bring forth to compensate for your smaller experience.

3. You will need to pass GMAT (standardized post-graduate test which measures analytical skills and capacity for critical reasoning related to written information) and TOEFL, if English is not your native language or you have not lived / studied at an English-speaking country.

4. The essays are at least as important as experience, recommendations and test scores. This is your chance to show your human side, but also an opportunity to demonstrate that you have clearly outlined goals and a plan how to achieve them. Universities are interested in this because their students represent their business card to the world, and their success is advertising for them.

Applying to a business school is a specialized process, so if you want to increase your chances to enter the top program, you should look out for someone who has been through this process. Refer to the website of the University. Most of them have the so-called “ambassadors”, current students who serve as representatives of the school. From them you can find out what exactly the program  is about and what qualities and skills an applicant must have.

Finally, I would like to tell you a little about my own experience. Before coming to Michigan, I have never thought that one day I would be an MBA student. My Bachelor’s degree is in International Relations and Political Science, but after five years working in the private sector and a brief survey of MBA programs in Europe and the U.S., I realized that I could get all that I was looking for – a formal education in business and development of leadership potential. The program in Ann Arbor was among the first I studied in detail, but the more other schools I reviewed, the more I realized that this was where I wanted to finish my MBA. Another advantage of Michigan, which unfortunately no longer exists, was that the school offered a loan to finance international students.

I spent six weeks in preparation for the GMAT. The best way to do it, I think, is to buy one of the ready-made “courses” – there are different types – like the textbook Kaplan or entire systems such as Manhattan GMAT. Bear in mind that a month and a half is not at all the optimal time for preparation. Then I spent countless hours writing essays, connecting with people for recommendations and filling out forms. This time largely depends on the number of schools you apply at, but generally you should clear your schedule.

“Ross” as we endearingly called our school (named after a New York businessman, a graduate of Michigan, who in 2004 donated $ 100 million to build a new building) is very focused on building ethical business leaders who have not only theoretical, but also practical skills to lead successful businesses. The “icing” of the program is the so-called Multidisciplinary Action Project or MAP, which completes the first year of all MBA students. Divided into teams of between 4 and 7 people, all are consultants on projects submitted by dozens of companies from different industries. Among them are Facebook, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Chrysler.

My project was in Boston, where together with my teammates we consulted a startup, which was looking for ways to commercialize an innovative technology, created by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (better known as MIT), Oxford, Boston University, and other scientific centers, which was capable of analyzing and recognizing one’s emotional status based on linguistic data.

I chose this project, as well as several of the courses at Ross in hopes that they would help me one day to start a technology company of my own. Until then, I hope to continue developing my skills and to gain experience in a more traditional corporate environment in the hi-tech sector. In contrast to many other Bulgarians who are looking for self-fulfillment in the USA or in Western Europe, my desire is to return to Bulgaria since I consider that my country has a unique mix of good factors which make it a „hot“ destination for investments in IT and many other sectors which are now ripe to be stirred up  through the business opportunities which Internet opens.

By Iliya Markov. Source: http://accessyourmba.com/why-mba/

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