Will they provide good business opportunities and highly paid jobs after graduation?
This is not an easy question to answer, and it all depends on a considerable number of factors that can play a major role in the outcome of finding a top management role or successful business idea to develop after graduation. First and foremost, a business school master’s degree is not a guarantee of success. It will surely help you like any good educational programme you receive prior to setting up in business or working for a large company, but there will be a large number of factors that will play a major role in your professional future. Let us look into the present MBA degrees in the market and decide what the secret of these business schools is, if there is one.
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We should know that competition is fierce out there and today there is a large choice of business schools in Europe and the USA which offer some very interesting programmes. Most of them however use the ‘case study method’ for their master degrees. If you look at some of the rankings of the top business schools, you will certainly see some well-established names including Harvard, Stanford, Wharton – all in the USA. In Europe you will probably see names like INSEAD in France, IESE in Spain, LBS and Cambridge (Judge) in the UK, Bocconi in Italy and a large number of smaller schools which are offering excellent programmes for both graduates and undergraduates.
Where is the difference then? Networking.
The prices can go from €15,000 for a one-year course in a boutique business school in Europe, to a figure close to €200,000 for a top USA Business school ranked within the top five by the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times. The truth is, their programmes are fairly similar because globalisation and modern technology has made their subjects and study methods very accessible to the entire world. These methods and cases are very often shared amongst top business schools. Naturally, at a certain cost.
Let us take a look at Harvard Business School. Rated number one in the world ranking. There is no question it is a highly regarded and desirable degree to which only a few privileged people can have access. But you can get excellent programmes, similar to the ones offered at a prime institution, at a much lower cost. Where is the difference then? Networking. The contacts you make.
If you are bright enough to make it to the top institutions there is no reason why you should not liaise and work out solid professional links with the future movers and shakers of the global business world. This is in reality what you pay for. Being together with the top people. The crême de la crême of business. Their educational programmes are the best money can buy as and their tutors the top elite. But this is somehow accessible in other business school choices. In any decent and well-established business school you will most likely be going through dozens of different cases from Microsoft to Pret in the hospitality business or Revolut in the financial services industry. You shall certainly study cases well known in your country such as Calze Gallo and Pasta Barilla of Italy, Zara and Mercadona in Spain or Revolut and Pret in the UK, Loreal and LVMH in France. The list is endless.
This is perhaps the beauty of the new future reality.
The business darkness of 2020 – and it looks like a good part of 2021 too – will follow suit. The pandemic has increased, or rather has made it quite common practice to do, online courses of any kind from a choice of universities. This means that any entrepreneur can if he so desires, pick up a programme of his choice from any top business school in the world and do a ten-week business or management course from the comfort of his or her own home. This is perhaps the beauty of the new future reality.
There is no question that an MBA undertaken in the normal way is second to none. I personally did this kind of programme some three years ago from a small boutique business school founded by the IESE based in Sevilla and Malaga. I would spend an entire Thursday and Friday of the last week of each month at the school, for nine months starting in October and ending in June of the following year. I had plenty of work to do at home. About two hours each day of very enjoyable business cases and strategies.
The networking and contacts available there were unparalleled. One thing is for certain: there is no real substitute for a physical lecture. ‘Live’, as the rock stars call it. How could it be the same as an online version? However, during the pandemic it has been the only way forward. The good news is that you can access excellent programmes for a very reasonable cost. A client of mine mentioned the London School of Economics had offered him an excellent programme in International Property for £1,750, over in a few weeks. And this is just the start. And most probably the future.
And this is just the start. And most probably the future.
The truth is many of these business schools offer some very sophisticated programmes, and they will surely help you achieve your future business goals to some extent. But ultimately, as it often happens, it is what you personally make out of it. It will be rather interesting to show readers a different choice of cases following the case method, which can certainly help up in our future ventures. But this is a horse of a different colour and the subject of a future collection of articles.