The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) was once a rite of passage. If you wanted to guarantee yourself a seat around the boardroom table, or sit at the head of your own, two years of study at a top business school learning accountancy, marketing and leadership was the recommended route. But, times are changing. Start-up culture has ushered in a new way to rise to the top on-the-job, and digital campuses are offering viable (and more affordable) alternatives to upskill in your chosen profession without taking time out. So is an MBA really a worthwhile investment in 2018? Or an expensive and outdated pursuit?
Recent studies show women still value qualifications over experience, but the MBA isn’t the most popular path to career satisfaction. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), who run the entrance exam to business schools worldwide, say 45 per cent of applicants in 2016 were female. Of those, just 37 per cent went on to join one of the 2,500 full-time MBA courses on offer around the globe. The remainder often favoured a single discipline masters in marketing, accountancy or management straight out of university to kickstart their career progression. President of the GMAC Sangeet Chowfla told The Financial Times this is because women are “less willing after four or five years of experience to give up their jobs and do a full-time MBA programme”.
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