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Should You Consider an MBA?
(Continued from 1)

Job Experience Needed First

The key to success, according to experts, is getting relevant job experience before beginning your MBA. According to Storrie, “An MBA can always be valuable, but I believe at least a few years of experience is best, and five or more is even better.” Storrie explained that students can relate more effectively if they have already “been exposed to similar situations and can identify first-hand with the situations being discussed.”

Brady said he uses an analogy of a carpenter when advising students to get experience before getting their MBA: “If I give you a hammer, nails and wood, and tell you to nail the wood together, even though you have never done this in your life, you will probably find a way to accomplish the instructions. If instead I give you the instructions and have you go watch a journey carpenter, you will see the carpenter reach in the tool box, pull out a staple gun and nail the wood together.

“An MBA is roughly a box of business tools. If I give you the tools after you have some experience, you will probably see practical applications and use more of the tools,” explained Brady.

MBA Applications Dipped

Nagy said that the overwhelming reason that people went back to business schools for an MBA in the 1990s through early 2000 was to obtain the “magic ticket” to help those “stuck in business careers they did not like move into more attractive careers.”

But “the color faded from this bloom after the dot-com bust and post 911 and applications started to dip,” Nagy said, yet “there was still an attractiveness to the MBA, especially from a top school, that it could help career changers.” Nagy predicts that the MBA will regain some of the attraction lost in recent years because of the market rebound. Also, consulting firms and I-banks are returning to his campus (the Fuqua School of Business) in “big numbers” to recruit students. Typically half of the hires in the late nineties came from those two industries, Nagy explained.

According to the 2004 GMAC survey, improvement in the economy has allowed more companies to hire new MBAs. The number of recruiters unable to hire recent MBA graduates dropped by half this year - from 23 percent in 2003 to 12 percent in 2004. Top jobs for hiring by recruiters were finance, marketing and accounting - a continuing trend from the previous year. A total of 1,300 recruiters representing 1,004 companies participated in the GMAC survey.

In another recent survey, the MBA Career Services Council also concluded that the job market is improving for MBA graduates. On-campus recruiting has increased by 81 percent and a higher percentage of 2004 graduates received at least one job offer within 3 months of graduation. Ninety-three percent of the 57 schools surveyed predicted that the 2004-5 job market would be even better than this past year. Top industries for recruitment included finance and consulting.

Options Abound

Options for obtaining an MBA include full time and part time traditional programs, evening programs, weekend “executive” programs, and online programs. Costs vary widely and some companies will reimburse their employee’s tuition for MBA study.


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