As 2011 approaches its end we asked MBAs from some of the world's best business schools two questions: Where was the best country they had visited this year and what do they think the hot new trend among MBAs will be next year?
Eva Antal - MBA Student at Grenoble Ecole de Management
"Hungary, my home country. The best thing I did this year was to visit my own country, see family and friends and tell them how important they are in my life. A place is good for the people in it."
"TED is a great source of inspiration and a tool for following global trends. New MBA students need to think outside of the box of conventional western economics and look out for opportunities to make an impact."
Randhir Kumar - MBA Student at ESMT, Germany
"This year I got the opportunity to visit Germany, India and the States. I might be biased in my view here, but I found India is the best country I visited this year. As a testimony, I visited Bangalore for a day during my visit which was my work place for 5 years before joining MBA at ESMT. To my surprise I found the city drastically changed just in an year time horizon. Previously it took me an hour and a half from airport to my home and now it was only half an hour journey. Such a substantial improvement did not only come from massive investment in infrastructure projects but mostly it came from the innovative solutions and use of IT to improve quality of life. I know I am comparing two ends of spectrum here but probably Germany and the States went through this phase of evolution half a decade back and I would have answered this question differently if asked before."
"Consulting will top the chart of attracting MBA grads followed by finance and industry. Nevertheless, a focus on enterprenuership in many of the MBA curriculum opens this door but I think in near future MBA students will not deviate from historically established trends."
Wei Fang Ng - MBA at Nanyang Business School
"This year I traveled only around the Asia region and I enjoyed visiting Sydney, Australia most. The night view of the Sydney harbor was mesmerizing. There is also the unforgettable tasty Deep Fried Mud Crab with Salt and Pepper from Golden Century Seafood Restaurant. It is a must try!"
"I think the hot new trend is how to drive sustainability in businesses rather than just doing CSR activities for CSR but embed CSR into the core business so that it is align to the long term strategic goals of the organisation."
Vittoria Luciano - MBA at MIP Politecnico Di Milano
"Best country I would say Japan: a fantastic mix between culture, ancient tradition, fantastic landscapes and nature and modern cities, lights, crowded places and exciting nightlife."
"Hot new trend, although not very new I think that while the economic crisis is giving us lots of trouble and companies will have a conservative approach in terms of new hiring and careers perspective, we should try to consolidate pur knowledge and keep on building our CV: my suggestion is to learn Chinese! Actually is my personal objective, to start Chinese language and culture lessons."
Olivier Petit - MBA at EMLYON
"China during my exchange (cultural difference, experience, business insights ...)"
"Stronger career services to counter the debt crisis effect."
Nicholas Miles - MBA alumni from Lancaster University Management School
"The USA. I emigrated here in January with my family. After nearly a year working in Manhattan for Christie’s Inc. I can report that it’s still the ‘best’ country in the world."
"Harvard is moving its MBA towards experiential/ action based learning after the European MBA model of schools such as Lancaster University Management School. It’s important for MBA’s to move out of the class room and regain credibility as valuable and valued organizational leaders."
Paul Gray - AGSM MBA Alumni
"Unfortunately I’ve only been to one country outside Australia this year which was the USA. So that’s the only and therefore best place I visited."
"Next year and beyond it’s going to be more about ‘creating’ your own job than ‘finding’ a job. High paid I-banking and exhausting consulting gigs are becoming less and less common paths. Why not take the plunge and create something new?"
Diana Nagy - MBA at Grenoble Ecole de Management
"Sweden. Although not a touristic visit, it was a great chance to work with and get to know a small company with great potential and extraordinary people."
"I had quite a few persons asking me if it is worth investing in such a program and what to expect in terms of career advancement afterwards. From what I understood, even though many people consider doing an MBA, the tendency is to postpone this step for at least 1-2 more years. I think the current economic situation is making everyone risk adverse and even the most courageous are not hoping their investment will pay off before 2 years. I have the feeling that the financial constraints push people to chose a compromise and enroll in a part-time MBA program - which, from my point of view, is a pity: you lose more than 70% of the programs value...
On the other hand, I do believe that an MBA will become a must-have experience for present and future managers. Most and foremost because of the networking opportunities and the people skills it develops. This is why, on the mid-long term, I think the tendency for companies will be to encourage as many employees as possible to do such a course."
Louis Lamarre - MBA at EMLYON
"Germany, because that's where I finally succeed to find a job!"
"I'm not sure if it's really specific to MBA students but personally, I think that one of the hot topics of 2012 will be whether Facebook take over the world when they will go public next Spring or people will get fed up with social networks?"
Matthew Barnett - AGSM MBA Alumni
"The best country I’ve visited this year, well I’ve actually just stayed in Australia studying and also setting up a business, so it would have to be hereJ That said I spend a lot of my free time exploring, and have travelled all over Australia; the fact its bigger than Europe and pretty much the same size as the USA, you don’t need to go overseas to experience a wealth of alternative landscapes and climates. The north is tropical and deadly, where crocodiles, snakes and spiders run rife, but beautiful and wild too, from the rainforests to the barrier reef. The west is classic red desert Australia with the big red kangaroos, Wedge tailed eagles, 50,000 year old aboriginal heritage and rolling deserts. The south hosts Melbourne and Adelaide, the more cultural cities, with temperate climates, home to some of the best surf spots in Australia, and the arts capitals of the country."
"The trend for MBA’s next year? Honestly I have no idea, I’m sure it differs from school to school. AGSM is a big feeder to consultancies, sadly not the most entrepreneurial which is the path I follow. However regarding business in Australia, as you may be aware, the economy is thriving comparative to the rest of the world here, wages are higher and the standard of living is unrivalled. I expect to see more people moving to Australia for business, and less for tourism – it is expensive, therefore you need to work here to reap the benefits."
Clarie Kwa - MBA at Nanyang
"Next year, MBA students are going to be more interested to have a piece of the emerging markets in their resume via student exchange, international internships, research etc. Although we've been seeing the start of this trend in recent times, we expect to see a significant shift of attitude towards emerging markets from being "good to know" to "must know". MBA students will expect to spend some years of their career life in this market, especially if they are to graduate in the next few years."