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The Future of Management Education: What Employers Want

The globalization of markets – and talent markets – is one of the “flatteners” affecting graduate management education and the recruitment of MBAs. In a knowledge economy, the recruiting cycle is global and considers programs with different formats and different definitions of value.

Additionally, there has been a shift in gender and age in all levels of education. Baby boomers are taking classes during retirement, but GMAT® test takers and graduate management program candidates are getting younger. In a rapidly expanding talent pool, how does an MBA rate?

According to Marta Kowalska-Marrodàn of Egon Zehnder International®, the MBA is the ticket to get in the door; it’s the “guarantee, the basic credential.” She pointed out that the MBA “allows [job] candidates to speak the same language across cultures.”

When choosing between candidates with graduate management degrees and those without, Carol Pledger of Goldman, Sachs & Company looks for the maturity, the “presence, gravitas, and way of handling themselves” that is hard to train but common in MBA graduates. Nancy Abbott of GE® Commercial Finance said her organization could be accused of having a “sink or swim” mentality, but they’ve learned to expect MBAs to be independent and self-sufficient, traits developed from the combination of education and experience.

Asked what they would tackle if they were business deans or faculty, the panelists stressed the importance of real-world examples, project work, and applications. They would try to teach leadership theories and life lessons at the beginning of the students’ careers, rather than at the end. “The world is murky and decision-making is difficult,” Pledger said. MBAs must be able to move forward even if only 80% of the facts are clear.

With the graduate management education industry growing around the world, the panel of recruiters noted the importance of finding local talent as well as “U.S.-taught” candidates. Although the skills taught in a business program can be taken anywhere, Kowalska-Marrodàn in particular noted that success in the business world is dependent on relationships. “Local relations and networks are so important,” she said. “How can, or should, they be global?”

 

© 2006 Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®). All rights reserved.
GMAC®, GMAT®, and Graduate Management Admission Council® are registered trademarks of the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®). Egon Zehnder International® is a registered trademark of Egon Zehnder International®. GE® is a registered trademark of General Electric Company.
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