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The MBA Degree
The MBA a Master degree of Business Administration, granted
after one to two years of graduate-level university study. The curricula
vary according to the program, but all expose students to the broad spectrum
of business functions - finance, marketing, operations, IT, human resources
and the like. In essence, your MBA degree is a certificate of general
competency in all the major roles you'll find in the modern corporation.
In job market,
your MBA training will directly add value to
your skills, experience and personal qualities. But more importantly, it will tie them together in one package
that the market recognizes and responds to.
Whether you consider an MBA a degree, a positioning, or a set of
opportunities and costs, you need to ask yourself why it is right for you.
In fact, every top business school will ask you this question, in one form
or another, on the admissions application. They'll ask you again during the
interview. Finally, the companies that recruit on campus will probably ask
you a third time. The answer seems obvious: money, opportunity, prestige.
But these one-word answers aren't enough. Your reasons should be
specific and tangible, and should function as the connecting arrows in a
flowchart linking your past experience, the MBA, and your career objectives.
Following are some of the most tried and tested responses.
For career progression.
You're 26 and you have four years experience as a junior account
executive in a large commercial bank. So do 10,000 of your peers. Turnover
is relatively low, and unless you want to relocate to the middle of nowhere,
a promotion isn't likely anytime before the year 2010. You visit a
headhunter, who says there are lots of great opportunities for someone with
your profile… in the middle of nowhere. You're stuck. A Wharton MBA will
change all of that. In fact, you're convinced it's the only way.
For career change.
You're 29 and you've been an Army engineer since you left college.
You're ready to cash in your chips, but you don't want to do the same old
thing for a private engineering firm. In fact, you think marketing would be
a great job, and considering the specialized knowledge you have about the
defense industry, you'd be a big help to a defense contractor trying to land
government contracts. But you need the marketing skills and business
exposure. An MBA is just the ticket.
You've got an e-commerce concept that is so far ahead of the curve,
it makes Amazon.com seem obsolete. Unfortunately, you can't find anyone
willing to post the $10 million you need to get it off the ground. Your
business plan is a mess, and when the bankers ask to see your financials,
you say, "Boy, I would too!" Credibility is clearly an issue, and unless you
can hire a McKinsey team for the price of a case of beer, you'll have to
earn that credibility yourself. An MBA is the fastest, most risk-free way to
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