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Why MBAs don’t get top marks

It used to be that having an MBA qualification was a fast track to working your way up the corporate ladder. Not any more.

These days, recruiters tell us an MBA’s still nice to have on your CV, but it’s just part of the overall mix that investment banks are looking for – and other qualifications such as a CFA are often just as desirable for senior financial positions.

“Having an MBA is not automatically required these days, and CFAs have taken over in areas such as equities, while a commerce/law degree is also a desirable for entry level into investment banking,” says John Coles, managing director of Coles Christie & Associates.

The Australian Graduate School of Management and the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne still rank among Australia’s – and Asia’s – most prestigious MBA learning centres.

Anthony Ayers, principal consultant at Chandler Heath Executive Recruitment, says these MBA streams are well regarded in investment banks, although MBAs from INSEAD, London Business School, Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and Columbia are also rated.

“MBAs are emphasised more in the US than Australia in the banking sector, while the CFA is often regarded as a useful alternative, particularly in fund management, equities analysis and other strategy roles,” Ayers says.

Michael Markiewicz, principal of Carmichael Fisher, concurs and notes that finding the best-quality person with the right skills and experience is still paramount.

“My view is that it’s better to do an MBA earlier in your career than later. You can’t buy yourself up the corporate ladder with an MBA. If you leave it too late, it puts you out of the market for a year, so you need to do it at the right time.”

Comments (4)

  1. Real investment bankers (those who would stay in the business for a long haul)value employees with both applied MBA skills(general management knowledge)and financial background. Financial analysis alone will not result to a sound decision on whether to invest or not invest in a company. One has to look on the total competencies and quality of management – on how they run the whole business effectively and efficiently. Real investment bankers invest in companies run by people not by financial models. Learned experience MBAs are still ideal for investment banks. Learned experience MBAs can read behind the financial figures as they know how companies are and should be managed.

    MBA should be done only after having at least two years experience in the commercial world to better appreciate the difference between theories and practice; and to better face the real challenges in problem solving and decision making in the real business world.

    Alma Tiamzon
    Director, ADT Management Services

  2. Irrespective of one’s age an MBA should be taken up once he/she has understood the Business very well so that the Leadership&Strategy component helps in managing the overall market towards the later part of the Career.


  3. Don’t blame those who have MBA.Give proper freedom to them for expression,implimenting their ideas and for undertaking risk.Rate the proffessionals on the basis of their innovative mentality.

    Meroon Paul Mathews Reply
  4. For me the answer is an Executive MBA just because you already understand the business and you can apply immediately what you learn. More than that you have the advantage to have a quick and smart feedback on your actions if something is not properly done by you.

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