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Round-Up Of 2013's Biggest MBA Trends!

What were the biggest MBA stories of 2013? We take a look back through the year, reporting on the rise of female MBAs, Asian b-schools, entrepreneurship for good and a certain canine MBA student!

Tue Jan 14 2014

January is a time for reflection. We’ve taken the opportunity to look back over the year that was 2013 and highlight some of our favourite stories. Enjoy!

Female MBAs

There are many reasons that being alive in 2013 felt like living in the future. But every time new, depressing statistics are published on the gender gap in the business leader community, it indicates how there are ways in which we’re still living in the middle ages.

81 per cent of FTSE 100 board members are men, we reported in November. It was heartening to see the cultural conversation this summer dominated by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Shortlisted for the FT’s Business Book of the Year award, Sandberg has been admirably proactive in using her prominence in the tech industry to advance equality. 

This year we were moved by Michelle Millar, a first-generation Harvard MBA, who told us about the importance of education to her career, and who is now acquiring the business skills to improve the availability of a quality education across America. 

In the UK, we reported from a Forté Foundation event promoting women at business school. Read the story here.

Here is a round-up of our top female MBA stories:

Women MBA Applicants Keen To Start Their Own Businesses And “Take Control”

Females Up In FTSE 100, But MBA Gender Diversity Remains A Long Way Off

First Generation Harvard MBA is Living the American Dream

Asian MBAs

A reocurring theme this year was the benefits MBA students get from studying in Asia. We heard from students who successfully used schools like Nanyang and CEIBS as a stepping-stone to a career in the region.

We looked at the competitive advantage offered by having direct experience with Eastern and Western markets. In December BusinessBecause hosted representatives from top Asian business schools for a Q+A, where attendees grilled successful financier David Gelber about the practicalities of getting a job in Asia. 

David's answers are essential reading for anyone considering studying overseas.

Our top picks for Asia-MBA stories:

Why You Should Start A Career In Shanghai Now!

Can Asia Give Your Career A Competitive Advantage?

Business Schools: Why An MBA In Asia Will Boost Your Career

David Gelber, Former ICAP COO Shares Key MBA Business Lessons For Asia

In Pictures: How Asia Will Give Your Career A Competitive Advantage

Business Leadership And The World

Business is inseparable from the economy, as the economy is inseparable from politics, as politics is inseparable from the quality of life for human beings everywhere. 

As the post-mortem of the financial crisis continues, we covered stories about how the next generation of business leaders, MBAs, are using their powers for good, rather than capitalism. 

In a challenge set by Bill Clinton, students from business schools around the world competed to create a scalable business model that generates sustainable profits to feed the world. 

We spoke to an MBA working to transform the education system in India, where literacy is still only at 74 per cent and primary school competence at 58 per cent. 

We profiled Husameldin Elnasri, a Lancaster MBA and the Independent’s MBA Student of the Year who has returned to his war-torn country to work on its’ future stability.

Meanwhile, in the world of politics, the Great US Government Shutdown of 2013 was difficult to ignore - we spoke to American MBAs about how this might affect the recovery of their economy. 

And back in London, more than 300 business leaders gathered to discuss ‘The Future of Leadership’. Executives spoke about the need for companies to increase the positive impact they have on society, not just their bottom line. 

We’ll see what results this new approach of embracing responsibility brings in 2014!

Our top 2013 leadership picks:

MBAs Compete To Solve Global Food Crisis (And Win $1 Million Dollars!)

EMLYON MBA Out to Reform India's Flagging Education System

From Civil War to Business Management: First Sudanese MBA Wants His Homeland to Prosper

The US Budget Crisis: How Does It Affect MBAs?

Business Leaders Get Honest At LBS Global Leadership Summit

(and in tweets)

Nelson Mandela

Finally, we remembered one of the great leaders of not just our time, but history: Nelson Mandela. Here are our reflections on his legacy, and what he has to teach the leaders of today.

What MBAs Can Learn From Nelson Mandela: Principled Yet Forgiving Leadership

Funny And Uncategorized

We’d be guilty of some serious hyperbole if we said that dogs applying to MBA programs was a ‘trend’ in 2013. So here are some of our favourite stories of note, both serious and otherwise, that resist categorisation but are relevant for MBAs and MBA candidates.

MBA Recruiter Critiques “Mundane, Ambitious” MBAs!

“Mundane, boring and ambitious”. No, not you. Actually, wait - maybe. In March, BusinessBecause co-founder Maria met an anonymous telecoms recruiter who aired some frustrations with MBAs as a collective. 

While some of these criticisms are unfair (albeit unsurprisingly harsh coming from a man who finds himself locked in a room with job candidates 10 hours a day for three days straight), I’m sure we’re all familiar with the particular subset of students that he’s talking about. 

If you’re an MBA student, ward off hubris with this great, straight-talking interview.

Philippe Dubost's Amazon-Style CV Wins Him 150 Job Offers!

Are you the sort of person who can spend an afternoon locked in front of a word-processor twiddling the kerning on your CV? Then you probably don’t want to read our interview with Philippe Dubost, who’s awesome Amazon-style CV went ‘viral’ in February. 

Just resist that little voice inside whispering: “I’m not trying hard enough”.

Online MBAs and MOOCs: A Threat To B-Schools?

Online education boomed this year, although the debate about its validity continues. Massively-Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, got a big boost when Wharton put a big chunk of their first-year syllabus online for free.

But will these courses be able to recreate the full MBA experience, or just the textbook-led areas of it?

Dog Earns MBA For $7K - Does That Devalue Your B-School Degree?

Speaking of MOOCs… this is a story to sink your canines into. This Newsnight investigation shepherd-ed in a wave of scrutiny on the business school community. 

While these shifty schools might exist, employers still know how to spot a genuine MBA from the pack. In case you’re wondering, the dog is named Chester and is a pug. We’re reminded of this classic New Yorker cartoon.

Best Age For MBA: Don't Wait To Apply To A Top B-school!

Applying to business school is a gauntlet of terrifying numbers. There’s the GMAT score. There’s even a whole quantitative section of the GMAT dedicated to throwing terrifying numbers at you. 

And oh God, the tuition fees. And those acceptance rates. But you’re probably not worrying nearly enough about the most terrifying number of all; your age. Apply now! Before it’s too late!

Thanks for reading and have a prosperous 2014!