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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  24 Feb 2011

MANAGEMENT: Will An MBA Help You Get The Corner Office?


Recent Western Cape Business News

A recent survey of global salary packages indicated that fewer than half of the highest-paid CEOs at big companies in the USA have MBA degrees.

Which has unleashed a new debate in employment circles about whether or not the MBA is still a relevant and practical degree following the financial meltdown of the past months.

Madge Gibson, partner at Cape Town-based headhunting firm Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters says while having an MBA will not necessarily guarantee you more money or the top job, it remains an asset and will put you at a competitive advantage over someone without one.

The debate has gone beyond whether it is good to have one or not – it’s now also about ‘which’ MBA to choose. There are so many different variants, from the traditional full-time MBA, which you could study for one year full-time, or in some institutions 2 years full-time, to part time MBA’s. Some have morphed into modular MBA’s such as the Executive MBA, distance learning MBA and internet based MBA.”

And adding to the complexity is the debate on ‘which’ institution is best and whether the school of choice actually makes any difference at all?”

Gibson says the easiest way to unpack this is to go back to the core question: Do MBAs really add value to an executive’s career?

The short answer to that is of course they do. No one can take away the value that quality tertiary education provides, especially when it’s successfully applied in the workplace. I have yet to meet anyone who regrets achieving their degree or MBA.”

Employers will always value candidates who bring quality degrees, and especially those who have excelled in the grade stakes, because that shows promise, intelligence, ability, a propensity for hard work and someone who is an achiever – all good things in a future employee.”

But one needs to put it into context - not everyone who wears a pair of running shoes is an athlete and similarly not every executive who has an MBA will be a superstar CEO.”

Additional studies also undertaken in the U.S. showed that there’s no real evidence that a CEO’s degree has any correlation with his company’s performance. And if this is the case, why is so much focus put on the CEO’s education in the hiring process?

Gibson believes it takes the efforts of many well educated individuals to run a successful company, not just one remarkable CEO.

And while an MBA won’t necessarily guarantee you an increase in salary or company turnover, its prestige will probably help to get you hired in the first place.


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