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Rushing back to education

Want to spruce up your CV with an MBA or MSc? So does everyone else.

The Financial Times recently ran an article claiming the number of people registering to take the GMAT entry test for business schools was up 12% globally in January and February this year on the same period of 2006.

In London, however, enthusiasm for a return to education appears to be even greater.

Cass Business School says applications for its full-time finance MSc courses are currently up a massive 57% on last year. Meanwhile, London Business School says applicants for its full-time Masters in Finance programme are up 16% and the calibre of candidates is higher.

Susan Roth, director of the specialist masters programme at Cass Business School, has an inkling of the cause of the stampede: “The current financial climate is almost certainly contributing to the increase, as during a time of economic downturn people tend to go back to business school to make themselves more competitive.”

Logan Naidu, a consultant at recruitment firm Cornell Partnership, says now’s a good time to be a student: “If you’re thinking of doing a two-year MBA, now’s the time to do it. You’ll come out when things are improving for the better.”

If you opt to do a one-year MSc, you may, however, come out when things are considerably worse.

Comments (22)

  1. This is a pattern that’s repeating itself! Marketing departments of educational establishments will be frantically working to knock out all sorts of self-praise about their institutions.

  2. Having been in the markets for over 20 yrs, I can’t think of anything duller than an MBA. I’d rather do a course in needlework!

  3. Savvy, I can see you have been in the markets long enough to think rubbish of MBAs. I would think twice about it. MBA’s give opportunity for a lot of people to enter into finance when they couldnt do it earlier. Think of all the Indians who enter investment banks post-MBA. As a course I would say it completely depends on how much u take out of it. By dismissing MBAs u are cutting off an entire section of very smart people. No wonder so many hedge funds are blowing up- they are filled with people who have worked only in finance and just move from one excel desktop to another. Having worked in other industries or doing an MBA gives u a better perspective of how the world works – how muchever boring it is

  4. Vick,

    sorry, but I am working for a HF (not a very big one but with reasonable AUM) and trust me, the last people we and other funds are looking for are MBAs. Its funny to see that all those MBAs with their Algorithm Trading have the same background. No wonder it all came off have all these guys studying the same basic principles of programming.

  5. vick,

    one can only laugh at your comment!!

  6. Hi Mike, could I bend your ear for a moment. I’m considering some further education but many of the MBA courses look both dull, expensive and buzz word tastic. Any particular programing courses/instituitions you (or indeed other HFs) recommend?

  7. Anonymous,
    funny that, I’m laughing at yours!!!

  8. There is a new MSc in Finance at Cambridge University starting this year – it is meant to be better than any other MSc e.g. LBS, Warwick and will only take ppl from top banking jobs but costs 30k! Is it worth it?

  9. MBA certainly works – my MBA program helped me get into top prop desks in london and in 2 years i made it to a very large hedge fund and had my first very big year last year – but u know what it is a 50-50 split between MBAs and Non MBAs – althought the very best paid guys (in the order of $10M+++ i have seen have no MBAs)

    the degree doesn’t help u perform well – but certainly gets u in the door

  10. I agree. I’ve just been made redundant and have now plunged myself into further exams in order to get myself qualified for a job that I would prefer. I’m sure it’s the same for most. By the way CFA pays better than MBA!

  11. Well i have personally seen people with “normal” B.S degrees doing wonders in their career leading big F.Is to summits. Working with them is priceless and you get to learn things that top business schools would (probably) teach it for big bucks.
    Carlos Slim only studied engineering. His estimated N.W is $60 billion. Lakshimi Mittal graduated with a Bachelor in Business and Accounting: estimated N.W $45 billion.

    However, Jack Welch graduated in 1957 with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering. Three years later he receives his M.S And Ph.D. During his tenure, GE increased its market capitalization by over US$400 billion!
    And the list is long!
    So i guess MBA’s aren’t do not guarantee you a successful career (like normally young people think) if you don’t know how to make good use of them.
    Flair and leadership are the two main pillars for any successful careers. Otherwise you’ll always be remembered as a good technician.

  12. You all make interesting points, though I must have the final say, “don’t waste your time with an MBA.” Case study upon defunct case study – that’s not the way to learn – the World’s dynamic and doesn’t support this method of learning; it’s merely keeps the colleges going!

    MBAs are designed to flatter those who have taken a long study gap, in other words, those who are coming back from work. For that reason, they’re not particularly challenging.

    In conclusion, do an MSc, however wasted it’ll be back in the job market……..because you won’t use it!

  13. Hume, The Sceptic, MBAs become a waste of time if they’re not well used in your professional life. case studies are a perfect way to avoid future mistakes. If only top financial executives knew a bit more about history (Panic of 1837, 1929 great depression, 1991 japanese real estate recession… just to name a few) we could have avoided a lot of mistakes today. It is much better (and it’s less costly) to learn from others mistakes than from your own. Hence the benefits of “defunct case studies”.
    Oh by the way the third pillar for a successfull carrer is humility.

  14. Ithink nothing much will beat being educated to a higher level- MSc or MBA.
    The problem could either be that most of us advance for courses without having thought deeply why we follow a certain route. Just, as result that many do qualifications with pay in mind – it makes anything good unsatisfying because of failure to succeed at work. If one puts value of education and not what it pays -definately results will turn good automatically, and thereafter a qualification to look good to be done. It is unlikely that many people can cite what they wrote in their dissertations immediately after submission, but still expecting the MSc or MBA to pay any amount they want. Qualificationa aere good if done with reasonable intent.Some of the comments given are of a good tip.

  15. I did an MBA back in 1983. Back then it was a passport to a job (any job) due to a bad recession in the UK. I think the same will apply again. Given the current harsh downtturn, you will need that certificate even if it is only there to get you a double glazing telesales job.

  16. Speaking from a recruitment point of view I would have to join the debate on the side against the Masters. Personally I see it as a bit of a waste of time. Granted some jobs do require education certificates coming out of your ears but, in general, nothing can substitute good, old fashioned experience. As a recruiter I rarely touch an MSc as they have very little to offer in terms of experience and generally rate themselves as being worth more ‘s than they really are, making themselves unplaceable !!

  17. MSc in Finance at Cambridge University…sounds like the course I would be interested, except that it is in Cambridge. I am looking for a MSc finance course (part time) which I can persue while working in London or Dublin. Which course would you suggest I take up?

  18. Goldman VP – 30k is way too expensive – if anything you should consider the MSc in Finances available in the US at Ivy leagues – they are much more established and the quality of the teaching is a worls apart

  19. The Cambridge Msc in Finance course is a rip-off of what is on offer at LBS to allow the university to enter what is a highly lucrative market. However, and whilst I am not knocking where I did my undergraduate degree, anybody who has been to business school knows Judge is not a good business school. If you are serious about attending such then LBS should rightly be at the top of your list.

  20. Am surprised that CFA brings in more cash than MBA. Now that am doing my ACCA Part 3(a) and i hane NO degree, is it right for me to to go straight to CFA? Or what would you advice?

  21. All comments very useful. I did MBA in 1997 and having spent some good years in IT, I want to shift into a trading career. Is there any place for mature candidates in the trading world? I trained myself to trade over last 7 years and currently trade on my account. At the age where I am, big names don’t matter that much. A small to medium trading firm will be enough. Any tips from recruitment guys?

  22. Does it makes sense to an MSc Finance after an MBA ( Top 50 B-School), I guess if you don’t get jobs after an MBA, you need to find way to past time and hopefully get to learn something. Hence, my interest in doing a second masters.

    Anyone with MSc Finance? How good is Manchester B-School?

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