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Conservatives best placed to improve the economy say UK’s CEOs-in-waiting

But only half the UK's MBAs want to stay in the country

Mon Apr 26 2010

BusinessBecause has published the results of the only pre-election survey of students at Britain’s top business schools.

The students, who are all studying for an MBA degree – a requisite to enter the top management tier in many businesses - gave their views on topics including the outlook for the UK economy, British technology icons, and whether bankers should face pay cuts.

Of the 504 students surveyed, exactly half said they planned to stay in the UK after their degree, with 38% citing job opportunities as the main reason, followed by quality of life (27%).

The Conservatives got the most support as the party to improve the health of the British economy, with 41% saying they would be best placed. 21% said the Labour party would be best and 12% named the Liberal democrats. A quarter of MBAs said they didn’t know which party would be best.

More than half the students, 51%, said that the government should invest in the technology sector to boost economic growth over the next five years, followed a long way behind by the energy sector (22%).

However students struggled to name even one UK technology company, with 8% offering vacuum manufacturer Dyson and 6% offering telecom firm BT as examples. Other responses included IBM, Sony and Intel, none of which are UK companies.

MBAs would rather downgrade footballers than bankers when it comes to pay: 54% of students thought bankers’ pay should stay the same and a minority, 44%, said they should be paid less. By contrast 76% said that footballers should be paid less.

When asked what they would do if made Chancellor for the day, students talked about privatizing hospitals, cutting income and corporation tax and providing incentives for small businesses. Other responses ranged from “Worry” to “Cry” to “Shoot myself”. Another student talked about holding a lecture on “how society doesn’t owe people anything”.

The poll was conducted between 15 March and 21 April. A total of 504 full-time, part-time and executive MBA students participated. The students were from top UK business schools including Cass Business School, Cranfield School of Management, Lancaster University Management School, Aston Business School and London Business School.

UK nationals made up 52% of respondents. The UK is a popular study destination internationally, with overseas students accounting for 80 to 90% of full-time MBA classes at many business schools.

The survey was supported by AMBA, the Association of MBAs, one of the three main accreditation bodies for graduate-level business programs around the world.