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Is an MBA a worthwhile investment?

26/11/13

Alan Sugar might not consider an academic qualification a pre-requisite for success in business, but while there's no substitute for real-life experience it is obvious that getting an MBA can be a major step for many workers keen to move their career forward.

For financial services professionals keen to make that step up to a senior role, a few years of study can improve their management skills immensely and open a number of new doors when it comes to career progression.

This was reflected by Stanford's recently published employment report for the Class of 2013, which LinkedIn reports saw graduates nailing down greater signing bonuses than ever before.

While median salaries remained roughly the same as last year, at an average of $125,000 (£77,000), the boost in bonus levels reflects just how desirable an MBA can make a candidate.

To take the prestigious American business school's figures as an example, 77 per cent of graduates had job offers by the time they finished their degree, while 94 per cent were in gainful employment by three months after commencement.

A record 18 per cent of students chose to become entrepreneurs by launching their own start-up firms, highlighting the broad range of skills offered by a strong MBA programme.

While financial services workers already on good salaries within strong organisations may blanch at the thought of going back to school, Stanford's research suggests that speculating may indeed be the best way to accumulate.

Some of Stanford's top graduates in 2013 have picked up high-flying jobs in private equity and portfolio management, underlining the credence given to business qualifications in the world of high finance.

Indeed, this area attracted 26 per cent of students, the highest overall proportion on an industry level.

The relative flexibility and broad-based nature of the MBA programme means it can be tailored towards a number of different roles, with many of the leadership roles in finance well-suited to people with this qualification.

Workers willing to make the initial investment of time and money could well find themselves in a stronger position a few years down the line.

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