In September 2008, the Wall Street Journal released its first survey of attitudes towards the Executive MBA. In total, 4,060 students and recent graduates from 72 Executive MBA programs at 53 business schools in nine countries were surveyed. In addition, 455 human resources and executive development managers at companies across 23 industries were interviewed. The overall picture that emerged from the survey was that the Executive MBA is considered a critical business investment. A full 64% of companies said that sponsoring or allowing employees to attend EMBA programs was a way to retain talent, and 25% said that they see immediate tangible results from employees who come back as stronger managers. In terms of the graduates themselves, 24% of those surveyed say they have been given both a raise and promotion since they started classes, while 30% expect both in the next year.

Executive Recruitment and Job Prospects in the Current Economic Climate
There is no doubting the benefit of bolstering your executive resume through a course of study such as the EMBA. However, given the current economic climate and the fear of job losses, it may not seem like the smartest time to take on more responsibilities, especially if they are not job related. Yet, as Jason Price, Director of EMBA World, points out, "now is the perfect time to brush up on qualifications. Visit your local university or industry association for latest certifications or latest thought. They may have recommended readings or trade journals to help reinforce the macro-specific role you play." For those who are unemployed, the option may be to seek an even more formal education in the form of an MBA. Jason Price argues that "the MBA . . . is not just for the unemployed. The Executive MBA is also an option, although the time and cost must be evaluated with the benefit."

Getting an MBA is not a far-fetched idea during a recession. According to the Application Trends Survey of full-time programs conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 77% of business schools had an increased number of applications in 2008, the highest rate in five years. That compared with 64% a year earlier. Part-time and Executive MBA programs also had higher numbers. The survey covered 521 graduate management programs in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world.


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