During the past twelve months, we have seen the economic mood in this country take a turn for the worse as a result of a recession and the tragic events of Sept. 11. As expected, the sluggish economy has brought a swift decline in both consumer confidence and corporate spending. It is no surprise that layoffs and downsizing continue to threaten job security.
While the current bleak economic climate may be the worst of it- with economic experts suggesting the markets will turn around by the end of this year -- many employees are still wary about their professional futures. Likewise, employers continue to be cautious as they monitor spending and tighten budgets. In light of such circumstances, potential MBA candidates may be wondering whether this is the right time to pursue an advanced degree. Actually, a slow economy presents the perfect motivation for continued learning.
No Time like the Present
A few years ago when the economy was booming, many employees enjoyed opportunities for substantial bonuses and promotions. Today, most people are thankful just to keep their jobs, let alone reap the significant dividends of the past. Because lucrative incentives are no longer the norm, there's no better time to earn an MBA and significantly increase the potential for securing a higher paying job or a more rewarding position.
"Earning an MBA in a slow economy helps individuals broaden their knowledge base and expand their horizons," says Peg Havens, director of commercial market management at Frontier Corporation in Rochester, New York. "It gives them the ability to move up the career path and obtain higher leadership positions."
When it's Time to Change
We live in a brave new world, and the changes we have seen on the global front have had a major impact on the international business community. Employees find themselves facing challenges they could never have anticipated. Many people are finding that an MBA program - whether full-time, part-time or executive- is an excellent way to help manage and capitalize on such change.
Consider the corporate executives who, being comfortable in their positions for many years, saw little need to prepare for the future by continuing their formal education. While the idea of retiring from such a company was once a realistic goal, rounds of recent layoffs mean many such executives will be forced to find new jobs. With more than 100,000 fresh MBA graduates entering the workforce each year, competition in this tight job market is fierce.
"Employers are aware of the capabilities that an MBA brings to the table, and that is why we're seeing more and more job requisitions that say 'MBA Preferred,'" says Havens, who earned her MBA in marketing from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester in 1989.
Making it Happen
Although many companies used to sponsor employees in an MBA program, the need to stay competitive has forced many businesses to cut tuition-reimbursement programs. Without funds from their employers, some MBA candidates are opting to sponsor themselves. These individuals want to improve their potential to lead an organization, and consider lifelong learning a critical piece of the career enhancement puzzle. Most students, whether full-time, part-time or executive, are able to fully fund their education through a combination of scholarship and loan programs.
That being said, many companies still realize the value of a well-educated workforce, especially during tougher times. They are often willing to lend support, if not in tuition dollars then in flexible hours or time away from the office. Some companies even reimburse tuition once the MBA is completed and an employee agrees to stay on for a designated amount of time.
The Bottom Line
An MBA gives individuals a tool kit of general management skills that lasts for a lifetime. This broad training transcends location, time and job type, and enhances current focus and specialization. "Schools like Simon offer a rigorous curriculum -- individuals that make it through such a program will be much more capable of bringing their strengths to the job market," says Havens. "When you combine an MBA degree with real experience in the business world, it's a dynamite combination."
With thanks to: Dawn McWilliams, William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester (www.simon.rochester.edu)
- 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.
- Full-time MBA
- A global MBA with an Asia Pacific focus. Students can choose an Asia specific track such as China, Japan or Vietnam. Hawaiiâs 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.