Which MBA format is better? Full Time MBA vs. Part Time MBA vs. Online MBA.

Which MBA format is better? Full Time MBA vs. Part Time MBA vs. Online MBA.

Being in a business school it has become more clear to me on what MBA offers to an average student. Masters in Business Administration (MBA) offers two important things: Academic education and Networking.  Two primary reasons why one would pursue an MBA are career change and career augmentation. However there are mainly three types of program to chose that you want to pursue: Full time MBA, Part time MBA, and Online MBA.And often a valid question is asked – which MBA is right for me? Full Time or Part Time or Online.

Well this question needs to be answered from different perspective. Let’s take a closer look: Each one of the program types (FT, PT & ON) puts different weights on the amount of each part (education and networking) of the MBA so your decision should be based on which part you think will be more important. Which one you should find more important should be based on the reason you chose an MBA.

A full-time MBA program will probably give you equal parts education and networking. A part-time MBA program will give you more education than networking – probably a 65%/35% split in favor of education. An online MBA program will give you even more education than networking than the part-time program – probably a 30%/70% split.

According to me, Full-time programs always offer “better” than part-time and online programs simply because full-time means you’re 100% immersed in the action. If you want to change your career, you want as much networking as you can get. If you want to augment your career or in other words just go up the ladder without disrupting your career, you’ll want as much education as you can and as little networking as you’ll need (your work is your network in this case). In fact, if education is all you want, save yourself the cash and enroll in the Personal MBA.

Ultimately, it comes down to who you know (networking) and how well you perform when the opportunity is presented to you. All the education in the world – even from higher ranked schools (be it from Harvard or Stanford) won’t help you if you don’t know your stuff – the MBA is not a ticket to free lunch. Remeber there’s no free lunch in the world! In fact, a lot of very rich and successful businessmen and women have no more than a high school diploma.

These are just my views. Please feel free to share yours!


MBA Salary Trends: by region, by demand, by function!

I came across an excellent blog post last week on MBA salary trends and I couldn’t resist myself from putting it here for all the perspective students!

In this article we plan to look at post-MBA salaries across various industries and sectors. Naturally, these depend on the number of years of work experience, the pre-MBA profile, how well defined are the aims of the candidate and the list goes on and on and on. In fact a company called Wetfeet publishes insider guides to dream companies like Mckinsey, BCG and Booz Allen Hamilton, just to give prospective hires a flavor of what they would be grilled on in at the interview. Enough said. Hence this article will be a summary of the various salaries offered to post MBA students, with a little comment here and there from yours truly.

All data are pertinent to the year(s) 2006-7.

Salaries by Region

Almost all MBA schools give an analysis of their salaries by region. There are six major “regions” in which most schools choose to divide their data. Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Canada and the United States. They choose to leave out the entire continent of Africa and we would have been more satisfied had Asia Pacific included Australia and be labeled as Oceania. Surprisingly the middle east is left out too. Not much can be done about it anyways.

We could (instead of comparing salaries globally) compare salaries within one country region wise, e.g in the USA we could compare salaries among various regions as North East, Middle Atlantic, Midwest, South, South West and West. However even in a big country like USA, the local difference in starting post-MBA salaries is less than 2%.

After consulting various surveys and school reports an average estimation of the various salaries offered to post MBA students, region wise, is :

MBA Salary By Region

MBA Salary By Region

A point to be noted is that the above graph represents only the salaries and not the bonuses. To include the bonuses is not so simple. It depends on a number of factors like individual performance, functional area, sector, industry and so on. On wall street you might even end up with an annual bonus of half a million dollars (before 2008!!!) Hence bonuses are excluded due to the diverse and varied fluctuations in the same.
So, the regions of Western Europe and US offer among the highest salaries, and Asia Pacific among the lowest. Why? And what is the downside, if any?

A peek at the living expenses in these regions is the key to understanding the difference. In a country like UK, the expenses per month, for an average living is £1000 (US$ 1975). While in a country like India, you might have a comfortable living at INR 30,000 expense (US$ 700). Hence, the more developed the country, the more expensive is the living, and hence the higher are the salaries that MBAs command in these regions. The downside? Well, comfortable is a relative term. For me comfortable could be a log cabin in Canada, for you it might be a suite Burj-Al-Arab. Since this is an article on salaries and not individual tastes, we shall dispense with the formalities and keep the personal tastes to each his/her own.

Salaries by Demand (!?)

To put it simply, the more is the demand for MBAs in any region/function the more will be the salaries they command. The greater is the number of jobs that a country can generate the more will be the competition and hence the salaries will rise. On the other hand, the more people spend the more jobs will they generate.

An average picture of demand for MBAs all over the six major regions is:

MBA Demand By Region

MBA Demand By Region

Hence, as we can see, the US generates maximum number of jobs (followed closely by Western Europe) and hence the highest demand for MBAs, who in turn command higher salaries.

Salaries by Function

Consulting or IB? That is the question. A major factor deciding your salary post MBA would be the sector you are interested in. Not to say that some sectors are better than others, but simply that some have a higher inherent growth rate than others. A descriptive representation of the salaries commanded by MBAs in different functions is: (Note: Things have changed significantly since September 2008, high paying jobs such as Investment Banking are few and declining!)

MBA Salary By Function

MBA Salary By Function

This, again, is not exhaustive. It would depend on individual performance, pre-MBA salary, skills and other factors – some of them known to us, some not.

A region and sector wise comparison for US and Western Europe shows that in any particular sector the corresponding salaries in US are higher than those in W.Europe.

Local Analysis

In the first section we saw a global REGION analysis. However to get a closer picture lets see the salaries offered by companies according to the country the company is based in. We will leave the US and Canada as is.

MBA Salary By Country

MBA Salary By Country

The USA still leads, followed by UK as a close second. It would be interesting to see if this remains after the present economic downturn

Using the graphs

We can use the two graphs, Salaries by region and Salaries by country to our advantage to get a picture of comparison of salaries, cross-function and cross-country.

We will simply average the two figures.

Lets say I want a job in the Healthcare Sector in India. From the first graph the figure for healthcare is $87K and the figure for India is $22K. We add these and get $109K. Now we halve it (seems a good way to take average comparisons). So in the healthcare industry, after an international MBA one would be looking at a salary of $54500 in India. In the Indian currency this is about 23 Lakh rupees. Decent enough. However if the same person gets a healthcare job in Singapore, the salary one could expect to look at would be ($87K+$55K)/2 = $71K. The same job in UK would fetch $92K and so on. Try it, its pretty close!

This article, although not exhaustive, does present an accurate picture of salary figures post an international MBA. Moreover, its fun to actually see the average figures in the graphs for your own function/region/country. Feel free to comment!



Too many MBA Rankings 2009- Part 2

About year and half ago I wrote a blog getting confused on too many MBA rankings. That was before getting into school. Now, after spending over 5 months at UCLA Anderson I am still confused with the MBA rankings. Sure, I would love to see my school up on the MBA rankings however every MBA ranking conveniently has its own metrics and sometimes compares apple to oranges.

For example, FT Rankings 2009 puts Indian School of Business ahead of many US B-schools. However ISB is a one year program whereas majority of US B-school are full time 2 years MBA program.  Obviously ISB grads make more money because they investment into MBA compared to those who study at US B-school is significantly less and hence the % increase in their post MBA salary compared to pre MBA salary is comparatively higher.

In addition, the size of school also matters in MBA Rankings. The big schools probably have large alumni network and hence large endowment fund. Whereas small schools have smaller alumni network and hence endowment fund. Having access to large endowment fund makes more funds to the students as financial aid (and hence probably a better show on MBA Rankings). Now this is debatable and similarly many other things are. I will cut short and put links to different MBA rankings below for easy access. Hopefully it will be useful to many prospective students.

BusinessWeek Rankings 2009 – http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/rankings/index.html

Financial Times FT Rankings 2009 – http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-rankings

WSJ Rankings – http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/MB_07_Scoreboard.pdf

Top MBA Rankings – http://www.topmba.com/research/global_200_business_schools/top_business_schools_2009/north_america/

US News Rankings – http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/grad/mba/search

Forbes Rankings – http://www.forbes.com/2007/08/16/best-business-schools-biz-07mba_cz_kb_0816bschool_land.html


Five Years to B-School: Do you really need to spend 5 years before getting into b school? V/s Are 5 years enough to get ready for b school?

Recently I came across the article series from Business Week titled as “Five Years to B-School”. Being in Business School right now and seen the fellow students around me I ponder on this question.  “Do you really need to spend 5 years before getting into b school? V/s Are 5 years enough to get ready for b school?” The article interestingly summerize the journey as below:

By the end of Year One, you had launched your career and found a mentor. In Year Two, you began taking on more responsibility at the office and in your extracurricular activities. Year Three brought a promotion or a move to another company. You made your mark on the job and started preparing for the application process in Year Four. Wrap things up at work in a way that leaves you in the good graces of your former employer, find a way to explain why you’re a good fit for the schools on your short list and completed your applications and start to live—and feel—like a student again by Year Five.

For me the last sentence is most close to the truth – live like a student on a thin budget and spend every week to “strategize” how you will find your next “dream” job. 🙂 Although I may or may not agree to many points suggested in this series this series is still very informative to those who are planning to apply over next few years.

Here’s summary each year’s plan from the article.

By the End of Year One…

You should have:

• Begun developing your skill set

• Found a few mentors who have given you a better idea about the jobs you might like to do in the future

• Found a way to translate your passions into a couple of activities in which you’d really liked to get involved

• Decided how you can make an impact at the office and in those extracurricular activities and start implementing a plan of action to do just that

• Kept your mind on business by reading relevant books and articles

• Made a decision about when you’d like to take the GMAT

• Started building a satisfying, well-rounded life and career.

By the End of Year Two…

You should have:

• Shown progress in your career

• Received a promotion or taken on a project or assignment that had you in a leadership role

• Started thinking about your next career move

• Taken on more responsibility for your relationship with your mentors and built an even larger network of professional contacts

• Demonstrated initiative in one of your extracurricular activities and continued to pursue your passions whatever they may be

• Worked on any weaknesses in your academic record

• Gained either exposure or experience internationally

• Begun to save money to finance your education


You should have:

• Either been promoted where you’ve been working or moved to another company to reach the next level in your profession.

• Found someone to mentor while still maintaining relationships with your own mentors and continuing to make contact with superiors who can better inform you about the MBA and various business schools.

• Narrowed down the list of things you’d like to be doing after you complete your MBA.

• Made contact with business schools that interest you.

• Discussed your future with your loved ones and listened to their thoughts about your plans.

• Tightened your finances even more than before in anticipation of paying tuition and going without an income for two years.


You should have:

•Earned recognition on the job and broadened your experiences by taking on new roles or projects

•Narrowed your list of top business schools and thoroughly researched them

•Chosen your recommenders and either talked with them about the MBA in general or your desire to apply, depending on your relationship with each

•Begun taking note of your achievements and demonstrations of leadership in preparation for the essays and the interviews

•Researched the regions of the schools that interest you most to determine the types of jobs available, the cost of living, and the culture for you and your family if you have one

•Started applying for scholarships and any other free money to fund your MBA


You should have:

• Wrapped things up at work in a way that leaves you in the good graces of your former employer

• Become an insider at the MBA programs at the top of your list

• Come up with a clear-cut career path to share with the admissions committees

• Addressed your weaknesses as an applicant in the application

• Found a way to explain why you’re a good fit for the schools on your short list and completed your applications

• Started to live—and feel—like a student again. The MBA is, after all, just around the corner

Having looked at the fellow students around I believe the time period to be ready for a B School vary significantly from candidates to candidate as well as what you need to do (or can do) in each of those five years also vary significantly depending on the industry you’re coming from. I am sure many of you who have already passed out from B School or are currently in B School have different thoughts. I would welcome any comments!


Article Source: BusinessWeek

Back to blogging…


I can’t believe it’s been over 6 months that I havent returned to my blog. I guess I was too busy with getting adjusted to new country, new culture, new people (and add few more words with a prefix new!). However I think it’s time to be back here and shout out some thoughts! For those who might be wondering which new world I am referring to I would restate that I am currently at UCLA Anderson pursuing my full time MBA.

Every year, many students from India work hard to get into US business school and I just went through the process. (It almost looks like yesterday when I think of my application process) So, I would love to answer any questions/concerns regarding application, interview, essays, visas, finance, student loan that prospective applicants/students have. Please feel free to post your questions here and I would try to get back to them as soon as I can.

Until next time…


Too many MBA Rankings – which one to follow?

I have been reading, re-reading and again visiting school websites and resources to finalize the schools I want to apply. Like many others, I take help of different rankings available online. But each one shows different schools in top 5. So, I researched to find out what each ranking is based on and below is what I found out. I hope this becomes useful to many others like me! [Check out my new blog post on this]

BusinessWeek MBA Rankings

BusinessWeek bases its MBA rankings on:

  • 45% on student satisfaction surveys of recent MBA Program graduates
  • 45% on surveys of corporate recruiters based on their experiences with a school’s graduates
  • 10% on “intellectual capital” calculated by BusinessWeek, which tallies points for appearance of the faculty’s research in 18 specific publications

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology

BusinessWeek surveys MBA graduates and corporate recruiters, and measures faculty publications.

Every two years, BusinessWeek asks the graduating MBA classes at schools to complete an online survey. MBAs evaluate “everything from the quality of teaching to the efficacy of career placement offices” using a scale of 1-10 for each question. Responses from the graduating class account for half of a school’s student satisfaction score. The other half of the MBA program rankings comes from the responses of the two previous BusinessWeek rankings classes, which carry a weight of 25% each. The resulting student satisfaction score receives a 45% weighting in the overall MBA program ranking.

BusinessWeek also asks corporate recruiters who hire MBAs to complete an online MBA ratings survey. Recruiters rate their top 20 schools based on their company’s experiences with a school’s graduates. Each school’s total score is divided by the number of responding companies that recruit from that school. BusinessWeek reported that there tend to be greater differences among schools in the corporate survey, so recruiter opinion can have a greater impact on the overall ranking. In 2006, BusinessWeek no longer based each school’s recruiter score on a single survey and, instead, combined the three most recent polls, as it does with the student surveys. The 2006 recruiter survey counts for 50% of the recruiter score, while the 2004 and 2002 surveys contribute 25% each. Combined, the three recruiter polls accounted for 45% of the final ranking. The recruiter score accounts for 45% of any MBA program’s ranking score.

Finally, BusinessWeek calculates each school’s “intellectual capital” rating by tallying faculty’s publications in 18 publications, and adds points if The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or BusinessWeek reviewed a professor’s book. Tallies are adjusted for faculty size. The intellectual capital score accounts for 10% of a school’s MBA ranking.

Financial Times MBA Rankings

The Financial Times bases its MBA rankings:

  • 55% on career progression by surveys of alumni, with salary data as the largest measure
  • 25% on diversity of faculty, students and board members and the international experience of students, by surveys completed by the schools themselves
  • 20% on research, calculated by the Financial Times

Detailed MBA Ranking Methodology

The Financial Times measures three areas in its annual MBA ranking:

  • Career progression
  • Diversity of faculty, students and board members, and the international experience of MBA students
  • Research

The Financial Times sends a questionnaire to alumni three years after graduation to chart their progress from pre-MBA program, through graduation and into the workplace. Their “career progress,” for which the salary data is the largest measure, accounts for 55% of the MBA ranking.

Each school completes a survey, which measures diversity of faculty, advisory board members and students, and international experiences of the MBA students. These diversity and international measures account for 25% of the overall MBA program ranking.

Finally, the Financial Times rates each school for “ideas generation,” which accounts for 20% of the weighting of the overall Financial Times ranking. This research ranking is based on a rating of faculty publications in 40 international academic and practitioner journals (10%); the percentage of faculty with doctoral degrees (5%); and the number of doctoral graduates from the last three academic years with additional weighting for graduates who took faculty positions at one of the top 50 schools in the most recent FT ranking (5%).

Forbes MBA Rankings

Forbes ranks return on investment of MBA programs based on:

  • Average 5-year increase in compensation compared to pre-MBA salary for each school’s graduates
  • Cost of each MBA program, including estimated foregone salary

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology

Forbes ranks “return on investment” for MBA programs. For its most recent MBA program ranking, which was released in 2007, Forbes surveyed 2002 graduates of 102 MBA programs around the world.

To determine the five-year MBA gain, Forbes asked alumni for their pre-M.B.A. salaries as well as compensation figures for three of the first five years after getting their degrees. Forbes compared their post-M.B.A. compensation with their opportunity cost (tuition and forgone salary while in school) and what they would have made had they stayed in their old jobs. Forbes adjusted for cost-of-living expenses and discounted the earnings gains, using a rate tied to money market yields.

U.S. News & World Report MBA Rankings

U.S. News & World Report bases its MBA rankings:

  • 25% on ratings by business school deans and MBA program directors
  • 15% on ratings by recruiters of the schools at which they recruit
  • 35% on placement statistics provided by each school
  • 25% on school-reported “selectivity”, the percentage of applicants the school accepts for admission

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology U.S. News & World Report sends surveys to all accredited MBA programs. The annual MBA ranking includes:

  • Surveys of deans and MBA program directors who rate programs (25% of the overall ranking)
  • Corporate recruiters rate the programs where they recruit (15% of the overall MBA ranking)
  • “Statistical indicators,” which include placement success (35% of the overall MBA ranking) and student selectivity (25% of the overall MBA ranking)

Specialty MBA rankings are based solely on ratings by deans and program directors, who can list up to 10 MBA programs for excellence in each area listed. The 10 schools receiving the most votes appear in the ranking.

The Wall Street Journal MBA Rankings

  • The Wall Street Journal bases its MBA program rankings 100% on surveys of recruiters’ perceptions of the MBA programs from which they recruit.

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology

The ranking components for all schools measured in the 2006 survey include three elements: perception of the school and its students (21 attributes); intended future supportive behavior toward that school; and mass appeal. For national and regional schools, mass appeal is defined as the total number of respondents who recruit MBA graduates from that school. For international schools, mass appeal is defined as the number of countries in which the school’s recruiters are based.

Each of these three components – perception, supportive behavior and mass appeal – accounts for one-third of the overall 2006 rank. The 2006 ranking of schools that were ranked in 2005 and remained within the same cluster is based on an average of the 2006 and 2005 rank. For schools that are new to the MBA program ranking survey or moved between clusters, the ranking is based on 2006 results only.