10/20/14 The financial crisis forced managers back to school, but it has also altered business education – creating closer ties between corporations and MBA providers.
There isn’t a wrong or right time to start your MBA. Instead, there is a less or more appropriate moment in your professional and personal life.
But ever since the financial crisis hit and the turbulence of the uncertain economic environment took over, a different question emerged: do you start an MBA in times of economic stagnation, or do you wait for the storm to pass?
Postponing your MBA for a time when it is clearer the downturn has ended is no rational motive for action. The crisis is indeed persistent and many countries, regions and businesses have been affected. Spain and Italy have been hit hard, Germany and Norway – not as much.
One could select a school in a country that’s better off economically and thus has better options for professional realization. For example, if you live in Greece and have plans for career in finance, perhaps it would be a good idea to apply for an MBA in the UK, Switzerland, the US, Singapore or Hong Kong.
An MBA is also a wise way out of professional spheres in continuous decline. Print media, for example, has experienced constant challenges, even before the crisis. The situation is the same for many production and factory jobs.
With an MBA in your pocket, switching between countries, industries and professions is easier. Undeniably, the crisis has affected graduates’ prospects of employment. However, the statistics confirm that MBAs are well-paid and that the demand for them is strong.
A recent GMAC survey shows the class of 2013 has enjoyed a substantial rise in post-graduation salary levels. For the two-year full-time degree it was 79%, and for the one-year full-time MBA 70%.
So, why is the question “should I wait to get my MBA?” still relevant?
The status quo in the jobs market
When the crisis started, the employment situation was serious and hiring in the investment banking sector in particular plummeted sharply. It was a challenging time, even for some of the top business schools.
They had to take extreme measures. The managing director of MBA career and professional development at Harvard Business School at that time, Jana Kierstead, remembers it well.
“My dean pulled me aside in February [or] March of 2008 and said: ‘I’m a little worried about the market. Could you put together a plan for what you’d do if the bottom fell out?’” she told the Financial Times.
“We grew that program during the crisis – students really needed more individual support because the on-campus job search wasn’t what it was.”
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