The Value of MBAs from a Corporate Perspective

The business world is changing at a rate that would have been unimaginable in the past. Rapid advancements in technology, changes in customer behaviour, higher expectations from financial investors and a general sense of impatience are placing tremendous and often paradoxical demands on the top management of corporations. Dealing with such change is requiring them to modify the way they organise themselves.

In today's world, trained resources have become increasingly important. MBA graduates have traditionally been looked at as one such trained resource: trained in the art of analytical thinking, trained in dealing with complex issues in a structured manner, and trained to think like leaders. The first firms to think along these lines were the consulting firms, followed by those in the financial services world. This trend has now caught up with other industries - to the level that even small start-up firms recruit some MBAs to add a bit of new thinking to their operations. The results have been mixed, ranging from excellent performances to the downright mediocre. Why is that? Are MBAs not living up to their expectations in some areas, or is it that some environments aren't suitable for MBAs? In fact, the truth lies somewhere in between these two explanations.

Firms that indicate their happiness with the whole MBA recruitment plan have many things in common. All of them, without doubt, offer extremely challenging yet relatively risk-free environments to their new recruits, providing a culture that fosters creativity and acknowledges individual initiative. Most have a clear idea of the growth path planned for the recruits, have ambitious growth plans themselves, and value new ideas that they see as a constant source of innovation. Firms that express dissatisfaction with their MBA recruitment programme, on the other hand, do at times have working environments that are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Such firms have extremely hierarchical organisation structures, with set ways of conducting business. MBAs find themselves wasted in such environments, and either choose to leave for better pastures or stay and perform in an uninspired manner. MBAs, too, should be blamed for some of the concerns expressed with regard to their suitability. Many come into their working environments with extremely rigid ideas about what a good career looks like, about the kind of responsibilities that they should be handling, and about the kind of learning that they should get along the way. Many exhibit poor man-management skills at the beginning, and at times show a distinct dislike for anything that deals with the emotional angle of effective decision-making.

So where then does the solution lie? In a two-pronged approach, which starts by creating an environment that nurtures creativity and team spirit, as well as training MBAs on their emotional intellect to ensure that the chances of an MBA misfire are minimised. Care must be taken to ensure the individual fits with the organisation, and firms that take care to ensure this fit end up as winners with the right team. For example, consulting firms prefer recruits with a certain profile, a profile which could be totally irrelevant in a merchant banking environment or a manufacturing industry. However, MBAs themselves have to start articulating which environments give wings to their potential too, and then go ahead to choose careers in those environments.

The real question that should be asked by companies is 'How best do I attract and utilise MBAs to fit in with our culture?' At the same time, MBAs should be asking themselves questions about which environment will be best suited to the development of their full potential. For both employers and recruits, asking these questions would ensure that there is a meeting of like minds. Issues related to changes in mindset or retaining talent then seem irrelevant. The best way to deal with a problem is to first avoid its creation in the first place - prevention is better and less painful than cure!

AUTHOR: Carmen Bouverat, Business School Recruitment Executive, KPMG Consulting


Related Articles

  • Why do an MBA, Diverse Opportunities, Demand for Training
  • Why do an MBA? - Diverse Opportunities. Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the UK and international MBA market. The increasing demand for training in what is now routinely accepted as the graduate management degree is in part due to the MBA's growing reputation with senior executives in the business world.
  • Distance Learning MBA, Full Time Programmes at all Levels
  • Distance Learning MBA. There are various approaches to learning. Full time programmes at all levels require a career break of some sort. This may be acceptable especially for short courses or where you get leave of absence but you also have to consider access, location, timing, the quality of the group and of the deliverer. Local courses may be of restricted quality and you may not be able to afford overseas courses.
  • Online MBA programs, The Continuing Development of Internet Technology
  • Online MBA Programs. The online MBA is a relatively new development and as such there are very few business schools that are offering an MBA program entirely online. Many online programs still require students to attend mandatory residential courses as part of their syllabus. The length and frequency of these "contact" sessions vary depending on the school and program.
  • MBA Rankings, Are a Great Way for Perspective Students to Select
  • MBA Rankings. MBA rankings are a great way for perspective students to select between the best business programs offered at reputable universities. With future students in mind four main sources, The Financial Times, Business Week and The Economist publish a list of universities that offer the best program to earn a Master's in Business Administration. Taking the MBA rankings into account, perspective students will have a general idea of the status and value of their future degree in the business world. When selecting a school students should be aware of these rankings, even though they are debatable since they are seen by so many hiring companies.
  • MBA Rankings, Business Week and U.S. News & World Report
  • MBA Rankings. The ranking of business schools has been a controversial subject for a number of years. It is only recently, however, that they have become popular with the press, publicized and generally accepted. As a matter of fact, one of the principal reasons for the rankings has been the ability of the articles to boost the circulation of the magazines.

Related Courses

  • Full-time MBA
  • A global MBA with an Asia Pacific focus. Students can choose an Asia specific track such as China, Japan or Vietnam. Hawaii’s only AACSB accredited MBA program. The cohort format fosters teamwork and peer learning
  • Full-time MBA
  • The Full-time MBA is an intensive one year programme, which offers a rigorous and challenging process of personal and management development.
  • Part-time MBA
  • The Part-time MBA is a 3 year part-time programme, designed for those working in a wide variety of managerial, technical and professional roles.
About Us Terms and Conditions Privacy policy Sitemap