Which MBA? BlueSteps Chats with William Ridgers, Business Education Editor at The Economist

As an expert in business education, I’m sure you must get this question all the time, but for those considering an EMBA or MBA program, it’s a question they inevitably will ask—is an MBA or an EMBA worth it—what are the benefits of having the degree today?

William Ridgers: It is perhaps a bit of an obvious answer, but it depends where you take it. There are so many variants of MBAs now, that you have to pick carefully. Generally, an MBA from one of the very top institutions—Harvard, Stanford or London, say—will still be a worthwhile investment. These schools’ admissions policies are such that it is a good indicator to employers that you are among the smartest people out there.

At the other end, I still see good value in taking cheaper, local programmes. Of course the rewards aren’t so high, but considering they are much more reasonably priced, and if you are not aiming for a top job in New York or London the opportunity cost can still prove valuable.

Where I think there is more debate is around the mid-tier schools, particularly in America. These have become hugely more expensive in recent years, but there has not been a commensurate increase in reward. Some research that I conducted for The Economist found that the average tuition fee for an American mid-tier school had risen from $60,000 to $82,000 in just the last five years. During that time the graduation salaries of those schools’ MBAs had hardly changed—around $78,000.

MBA vs. EMBA—how does one choose—who should pursue which and does it have anything to do with age?

William Ridgers: I think it is not so much of a choice—they are really self-selecting. MBAs are qualifications for those with just few years’ experience. They are usually for career changers— particularly for those who want to switch from a functional role to more of a general management one. In Europe, the average age of an MBA is around 29, in the US it will be a couple of years younger.

One reason that EMBAs are self selecting is because they are hugely expensive. Initially they were aimed at those being sponsored by their companies, although it is now just as common for applicants to pay their own fees. They are really for applicants with significant managerial experience—often more than 10 years. Most will continue working while studying. Because of their modular nature and the time needed away from the office, their companies should have bought into the idea of the programme too, even if the student is paying for it himself. It is often the case that they will use their MBA to further their current career, rather than switch. Such people are not going to gain much by attending a programme with much younger, less experienced students. ...
Join BlueSteps today for access to the complete article and a full suite of articles on Executive Education in the BlueSteps Executive Career Library.  Other topics include: Executive Compensation, The Power of Personal Branding, Becoming a Board Member, International Job Search, and Mastering the Power of Social Media Tools in Your Job Search. Learn more >>
Find out more about MBA programs at the Which MBA? Online Fair, September 5th-6th: http://registermbafair.whichmba.com/bluesteps
About William Ridgers
Bill Ridgers is the business education editor at The Economist. He is responsible for the full-time MBA ranking and the business education channel on The Economist online. He also contributes articles on management for the business section. He was editor of the "Which MBA?" guide for eight years. Bill has also written and edited several reports on talent management, education and the cost of doing business. He was previously the chief travel and tourism analyst for The Economist Intelligence Unit. Prior to that he edited the EIU's cost of living survey and devised its liveability rankings. Bill is also the cricket editor for The Economist's sports blog. He is currently working on a book of business quotations.
Be visible to retained executive search consultants at the world's top retained executive search firms.

As a member of BlueSteps, your career details will be confidentially provided to hundreds of the world’s leading retained executive search firms in over 75 countries.  Benefits include:

•    Confidentially increase your visibility to top executive recruiters
•    Build stronger connections using a fully searchable directory
     of executive search consultants who are AESC members
•    Explore executive job opportunities being filled by
     AESC member executive search firms
•    Elevate your personal brand
•    Plan your executive career management strategy

Click here to begin connecting with executive search firms >>


The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!

Download Now!

About the author

This article was written by Joe Chappell, Managing Director, Global Marketing at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.


Other posts by this author

Share your thoughts

Stay Connected