"The good news for students is that there is a quality business program that can meet the needs of almost anyone in the world." That is according to Dan LeClair who, as the chief knowledge officer of the leading accreditor of business schools, should know. According to LeClair, "the most important development in business education has been the incredible diversity that has emerged from an unprecedented expansion in global demand."
Prospective business students have a wide array of program options. To earn an MBA, for example, students can choose from programs that are full-time, part-time, geared toward executives, completely or partially online, and more. There are MBAs for those with management experience or without and there are alternatives that combine business with study for other professional degrees, such as law and medicine. Prospective students can choose among many concentrations as part of their MBA or select from a growing number of more specialized master’s programs. MBA programs are available in almost every country in the world with costs ranging from less than $10,000 to more than $100,000. The MBA has become the most recognized degree in the world.
Invest in Your Career. Earning an MBA can pay off handsomely according to a series of studies by the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC). Recruiters say that 2007 MBA graduates can expect to earn a base salary of $85,000, which exceeds other graduate program salaries by almost 20% and undergraduate salaries by nearly 100%. Among schools accredited by AACSB International, GMAC studies have shown the annual return on investment across all programs to be nearly 20% and, for part-time programs, which are generally less costly, the annual return on investment is a whopping 68%.
Evaluate Your Needs and Interests. The needs, interests, and demands of future business students vary considerably depending on culture, educational background, family circumstances, location, financial capability, and aspirations. When faced with such a wide range of choices, future business students should begin by carefully evaluating their objectives, as well as constraints. For example, it might make more sense for some students to pursue an MBA on a part-time basis, rather than quit their jobs to relocate to a residential program at a top-ranked school. For others who are interested in making a career transition and don't mind relocating to study, it might make most sense to pursue an MBA as a full-time student.
If the good news about the incredible diversity in programs is that there is a program to meet the needs of anyone, the bad news is that these programs vary widely in the quality of education provided." Prospective students should look first for programs offered by accredited business schools. Currently, 551 schools in 31 countries have earned AACSB International accreditation, which is regarded as the gold standard among business schools. A current list of AACSB-accredited institutions can be found at www.aacsb.edu. Another source for information that LeClair recommends is mba.com, which is managed by GMAC.
It's Not Just About You. Despite the individual payoff from a business education, prospective students should be advised that it is not just about salaries and career advancement. The real value of an MBA comes from the business leadership, knowledge, skills, and values it seeks to develop in its graduates. And by developing management talent and improving management practices, MBA education provides value to organizations. Indeed, companies that take intellectual capital development seriously continue to find ample returns from their direct investment in business schools through recruitment and tuition support.
Quality Matters. It matters to Intel, Fed-Ex, Lockheed Martin and Telephone Data Systems, which are just a few of the companies that have become more conscious of what they are paying for and what they are getting in return. It matters to employees, too, because as The Chronicle of Higher Education reported and Intel discovered, employees with MBAs from AACSB-accredited schools were more likely to get promoted within the company.
According to a recent report by AACSB International, "Over the course of the last hundred years, business has been a driving force in shaping society and the catalyst behind extraordinary economic growth and opportunity. Business has spurred job creation, generated wealth, and improved the economic prospects for growing and increasingly diverse populations." LeClair adds that great management talent and practices have been integral to the success of nations in a global economy and quality schools of business have played no small part. They have educated generations of leaders capable of profound global achievements. Business students of today are taking heed-they seek nothing less than to change the world.