More than two thirds of MBA applicants in a recent global survey agreed they would pay higher fees if the business school provided better links with business and industry. The importance of the Careers function within a school and post-MBA job opportunities seem more important than ever as we face continuing economic uncertainty across most of the world.
The survey of 610 prospective MBA students in 91 countries was conducted by higher education marketing specialists CarringtonCrisp, in partnership with the UK's Association of Business Schools (ABS) and the EFMD.
63% of respondents said they'd also place higher value on support in finding employment and 62% said they'd pay more for an MBA if it would give them a better chance to get a more highly paid job on graduation.
Interestingly, more people than before (28%) would consider a Master's degree rather than an MBA - reinforcing a trend in graduate management education towards different types of courses and one-year specialist programmes instead of the traditional flagship 'MBA'.
Commenting on the results of the Tomorrow's MBA survey, now in its third year, Andrew Crisp, founder of CarringtonCrisp and author of the report said: "There is a real uncertainty in the MBA marketplace, students are questioning the return available with costs ever increasing and doubts about jobs in the current economic climate. Add in anecdotal data which suggests that a number of business schools are facing a decline in applications and negative press coverage about MBAs in recent years, and there are doubts about the future of the MBA marketplace."
Other key findings of the survey include:
- Improving career prospects (55.2%) and providing new skills (46.6%) continue to be the two most important requirements when choosing an MBA, followed closely by combines academic theory with real world application (41.9%)
- Strong academic reputation (62.2%), high quality teaching staff (47.9%) and a good record of enhancing career prospects (46.2%) are the most important aspects when choosing a business school
- The three most valuable areas of content when looking for an MBA have consistently been leadership (37.3%), strategic management (36.7%), and managing people and organisations (32.2%) over the last three years; entrepreneurship (20.9%) is down to 8th place in 2012 from 4th last year
Eric Cornuel, Director General & CEO at EFMD, commented “Business schools are indeed facing a difficult period but they are responding to changes in the MBA market with innovative new programmes, curriculum changes, delivery formats and a real reflection on the value & purpose of the MBA degree. Despite some of the negative coverage it is still a highly valued qualification by students and employers around the world”.
Paul Marshall, Chief Executive at ABS, added “The MBA offer in the UK is highly regarded by international students, and the diversity of experience that they bring enhances the programme for all those taking part”.
Data for the study was gathered in October 2011. Respondents were 72% male and 28% female. The majority of the sample (34%) have 2-7 years work experience and a further 23% have more than 7 years experience. 27% of candidates have already made applications to business schools and a further 48% are seriously considering making an application. 63% hope to start their studies in the next 12 months.
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