INTOUCH : The MBA difference

New research from the Massey University School of Business has helped uncover the benefits to students of MBAs – and it seems money is not primary driver.
The rationale could perhaps be summarised as ‘much better all-rounders’ rather than ‘more bucks arriving’ with the majority of graduates reporting the need to stretch themselves and do something “personally challenging”. That was among the findings to emerge from two studies: the 2006 Massey University Graduate School of Business Survey conducted by the university’s business manager (northern), Patricia Fulcher and another carried out last year by Massey MBA graduate Margaret Woolgrove.
Both set out to quantify the benefits of an MBA to former alumni of the school to determine points of difference between those who’ve gained the qualification and executives who’ve developed business skills on the job or through other training options.
For 80 percent of respondents to the Woolgrove study, the rationale for an MBA was firstly ‘personal challenge’, followed by ‘keeping up with business thinking’ and ‘improving employment chances’ – earning more money came distant seventh.
That suggests, says Woolgrove, that the ongoing obsession with salary progression as measure of efficacy of the MBA degree is an “outdated notion”.
“Turns out we humans like to stretch ourselves and the MBA provides great forum for that while at the same time broadening networks and providing useable business skills to benefit both individuals and businesses.”
Although most graduates had been in the workplace for an average of 16 years and in management roles for seven, Woolgrove’s research shows strong evidence of upskilling in business principles and knowledge as an outcome of study.
Similar findings emerged from the 2006 Massey MBA survey with gained business confidence and networking listed in the top three outcomes of completing an MBA. It also showed that 86 percent of alumni believed they received value for money from the course. Salary wise, more than 62 percent of respondents report earning in excess of $100,000 with some 15 alumni over the $200,000 mark and two in excess of $500,000.
The research also shows that, contrary to perception, MBA graduates are not job flitters. While 43 percent of respondents had been with their current job for less than year, 23 percent had passed the six-year mark and nearly 40 percent plan to stay put for one to five years.
Woolgrove notes that many of those who do move jobs after an MBA are moving because of lack of opportunity in their existing role.

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