MBA: Time to invest in your future

More and more people are choosing to go back to school in order to succeed at work.

The Masters in Business Administration continues to be popular despite a recession in British manufacturing and the collapse of the Asian tiger economies. Top business schools report record applications, particularly from countries such as China and India. Overseas candidates are choosing a one-year British MBA over a two-year American one because of its cost and the high quality of postgraduate education in the UK.

People view the MBA as the way to improve their career prospects. Many on full-time MBAs are looking for a career change; they want to change direction, or find work which is more interesting and fulfilling. Some, though not all, of these are seeking to go it alone once they have graduated and set up their own companies. Others are keen to boost their salaries and see the MBA as the way to do this.

According to the latest survey from the Association of MBAs, the qualification certainly helps to increase your salary. A manager taking an MBA can expect a pay rise of 42 per cent after graduation. Even if you adjust that figure for salary inflation during the period of study, the increase attributable to an MBA is still significant - 27 per cent.

People who had an MBA qualification were earning an average of pounds 53,700 in November 1997, which was 15 per cent up on 1995. The figure will, of course, be higher now. The median salary for MBAs was pounds 44,000, the average being boosted by the small number earning pounds 100,000 or more. So, it certainly pays to get an MBA, though people tend to benefit more financially when they are young, able to move jobs and have plenty of income-earning potential ahead of them.

All of which helps to explain why demand for MBA programmes is buoyant, especially at the top end of the market. When one gets below the top five to ten schools, however, it's a different story. Less glitzy schools are finding it hard to recruit British students except onto part-time programmes.

Cranfield, one of the leading five business schools in Britain with an intake of 200 to its full-time MBA, reports that applications are 25 per cent up on last year - and last year was a record too. "The full-time market is absolutely fantastic," says director Leo Murray.

The same phenomenon is evident at Bath - a small school. Applications to Bath's full-time qualification are a staggering 150 per cent up on last year, partly, says External Relations Manager Amanda Brook, because Bath's reputation is growing. It is one of the few business schools to have won the top grade 5 for research and the highest score for teaching. Both Cranfield and Bath are able to maintain a ratio of 50/50 home to overseas students. Many schools cannot do this because of the difficulties they have recruiting British students: it is common to find overseas students making up 80 per cent of the student body for full-time MBAs.

Applications are rising despite the cost. This September, Cranfield's full-time MBA will set you back pounds 18,500 including the purchase of a lap- top computer. Last year the Cranfield MBA was pounds 3,500 cheaper. Top schools are increasingly differentiating themselves by charging more. They believe the market can bear it and that students will pay the extra cost because of the added value an MBA from a top institution brings. Another leading school which has raised its MBA price by a similar amount is Warwick. You now have to pay pounds 17,000 for a one-year MBA from Warwick, compared with pounds 14,000 last year

By comparison, full-time MBA tuition at Bath (pounds 12,250) and Lancaster (pounds 12,500) looks relatively cheap. Durham costs even less - pounds 9,750 a year. And Leeds is a bargain at pounds 8,000 for EU students.

Clearly the cost of the course is a crucial consideration for anyone contemplating an MBA and funding themselves. Your choice will also be affected by whether or not you're prepared to take a year off work. One of the trends of the decade has been the increase in the number of people choosing to undertake their MBA part-time, by distance learning or the modular route. That way they can wrap study around their jobs and receive sponsorship from their employers.

The drawback of doing an MBA while continuing to work is that it is very hard work. Your social life takes a severe knock and it takes longer to acquire your MBA - two to three years is the average. However, the advantages are obvious: you don't lose your place in the job market and you are earning money.

Another way in which schools are differentiating themselves from one another is by putting on specialist MBAs. One of the newest is the MBA in entrepreneurship at Manchester, a part-time qualification aimed at owner-managers, which uses video conferencing and the Internet. That way harassed entrepreneurs can study without having to attend the business school.

The increasing use of new technology to reach busy adults is a notable feature of the MBA scene. Henley Management College, for example, has a new "City-friendly" MBA starting this October, which will use a blend of distance learning, self-study and face-to-face tuition, and which is being run with the Financial Training Company in London.

Business schools have to respond to the market. That is why some run single-company MBAs, where they go into partnership with a company and provide a part-time qualification for their senior executives. Lancaster, for example, has one with Bass and another with British Airways. Other schools prefer to operate consortium MBAs whereby a group of companies come together to fund a programme tailored to their specific needs.

Ashridge Management College has a consortium MBA with Lufthansa, Deutsche Bank and Merck. Managers of these three companies fly to Britain for week- long chunks of learning. The consortium enables the companies to influence what is taught and how. "They're part of it," says Steve Robinson, MBA programme director. "We all work together."

When you are making you choice of school, be sure to research the market thoroughly. Visit any school you are considering and check that it is accredited by the Association of MBAs. Schools have open days. Try to attend some of them.

The Association of MBAs Guide to Business Schools 1998-99 is available from the Association of MBAs, 15 Duncan Terrace, London N1 8BZ, priced pounds 26.95 including p&p, or via www.mba.org.uk. To obtain details of the Association's loan scheme, call Nat West on 0800 200400.

WHAT IT WILL COST

ACQUIRING AN MBA costs money. The fee range is enormous, from London Business School's pounds 26,000 for a two-year programme, to Bristol Business School's pounds 5,950 for one year. (Figures are for 1998-99 - prices will go up next year, LBS's to pounds 27,000.) On top of that you have your living costs - at least pounds 6,000 a year. But help is available. The Association of MBAs runs a loans scheme through Nat West bank. You need to be a UK resident aged 18 to 40 to qualify. You can borrow up to two-thirds of your pre-course salary, plus tuition fees for each year of full-time study. Distance learning students can apply for a maximum of pounds 10,000 to cover tuition fees and study equipment.

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

    £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

    C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

    C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

    £60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

    Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

    £75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport