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What is an MBA?

I’ve had two interesting discussions over the past few weeks, the first was with a human resources professional at a blue chip company and the second was with a managing consultant at a big four consulting firm.

On both these occasions I found myself explaining in detail, what is an MBA. I was surprised by this. However, since then I have started asking people about their understanding of this degree and the more people I ask, the more it seems that most people have heard of this degree but few people understand the components of an MBA. I’ve therefore taken the opportunity to present the components of an MBA in a clear visual format in order to give a better understanding of this degree.

Here it is. If you have any questions I’d be delighted to answer them.

What is an MBA? This is based on my MBA at the University of Southampton, UK.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jacky Pun #

    Hi William,
    I got similar experience of yours. Most of the general people have heard about MBA. Most of them do not actually know what it may be.

    Jacky,
    a friend we met in ESSAM

    October 11, 2012
  2. Hi Jacky,

    Good to hear from you! And yes Jacky I remember you. ESSAM was a long time ago – but such fun.

    I’m glad it isn’t just me that has faced this problem. I’ve been amazed that HR professionals don’t have any idea of the components of an MBA.

    I had a great chat with one particular HR manager at a large management consulting firm here in Zurich and she said “I don’t see the link between your CV and consultancy”. I therefore quoted the statistic that 30% of MBAs move into consulting, the fact that I’d done private consulting, the fact that I’d taken consultancy modules, the fact that I’d done strategy modules and finally that I’d spent 5 years of my professional career analyzing business models. To which she replied, “I still don’t see the link”. It made me want to laugh, then maybe cry!

    Of course, it is a different story when I am speaking to someone who has done an MBA. They recall their own experiences and the value that it has brought them in their career. They see the value of employing someone who has a holistic understanding of business. Of course, experience added to academic qualifications is the winning formula.

    I thought I would write this blog post perhaps to help a few people understand an MBA. Perhaps also, I may cheekily refer HR to this infographic if the don’t understand why I have applied for a particular job.

    I hope all is well with you and your family Jacky. Thanks for your comment.

    Best wishes

    Will

    October 11, 2012
  3. Mehrtens Gordon #

    I sympathise with your experience Will, I don’t think it needs to be taken personally. For me it is clear that this must happen.
    My experience of the process of specifying the qualification for a role often leads to at least one academic level higher than needed. Everyone wants the best and is interested in making a new role “important”. Hence a post-graduate qualification is often specified. Typically an MBA is sought without much direct relevance to the role. Maybe this explains your experience? (apologies to those who don’t do this).
    This in turn causes applicants to have exaggerate their qualification and experience to stand a chance of being selected.
    To do a job well may need many skills, some of which can be learned at college. To recruit the right folks requires a special skill set.

    October 13, 2012
  4. Thanks Gordon for your comment and your helpful insight into the process of specifying roles. It is nice to be able to have some feedback on the application process from the other side.

    I hope all is well with you in Zug.

    Best regards

    Will

    October 15, 2012

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