☰ Menu eFinancialCareers

Even supposing you wanted to do an MBA, it may not be possible

With thousands of financial services professionals now out of the market, it’s no coincidence that a lot more bankers than previously are interested in doing an MBA.

But by an unfortunate quirk of MBA recruiting policies, the more financial services professionals who want to study an MBA, the harder it is likely to be to get onto a course.

Most of the top schools aim for MBA classes comprised of people with a range of different experiences. Although they could probably fill entire classes with financial services professionals, they are therefore not going to do so.

“Because the diversity of the overall class is so important to us, (and more importantly to our students), there will never be a dominant group from any particular employment sector in our MBA class,” says David Simpson associate director, marketing & admissions, for the full-time MBA programme at the London Business School.

In a typical year, LBS, INSEAD and IESE each fill around 20% of their MBA classes with financial services professionals.

This year, however, bankers are likely to account for a far higher proportion of applications than usual. Javier Muñoz, admissions director at IESE, says interest from bankers is ‘tremendous’ compared to others years. The Spanish school has around 200 places on its MBA course and receives 2,000 applications. Bankers now account for more than 20% of those.

Evidently loathe to put people off, most schools are unwilling to say explicitly that it will be harder for bankers to get in (although we wholeheartedly expect this to be the case).

LBS insists that it’s flexible, that bankers are generally high quality people, and that it wants to “recruit the most talented individuals.” INSEAD says admission is competitive for everyone and that bankers who apply for its MBA will be benchmarked against all other candidates, not just members of the same species.

IESE has come up with a novel solution to the problem. This year, for the first time, it has added an assessment centre stage to its recruitment process. Muñoz says this will make it easier to differentiate between candidates like bankers who all look identical excellent on paper.

Comments (8)

  1. Another understated problem with Bus School admissions appears to be that at least for US schools a lot of international students are having serious problems getting tuition loans. Hence there are a lot more people for whom a US MBA is becoming a lot more difficult if not impossible.

    I am unsure why there would be a huge boom in MBA applications right now- is this the herd mentality? If so, then people need to consider their options very carefully. Does a 100k investment (including opportunity cost of lost salary) really make sense if you do not have a banking type bonus to go onto? Definitely not for industry type jobs on 60k a year….

    Disillusioned MBA Reply
  2. Agree with Disillusioned MBA. Not only that but I think the MBA curriculum itself is going to change in the wake of the financial crisis. Credit crunch, bankruptcies, nationalisations are going to have an impact on what is being taught…there will be much less swagger and hubris about capitalism at business school. (eg Stanford..I hope).

  3. I think your points are interesting but I doubt anything will radically change. What is taught is business schools is based largely on models developed from the 1950’s – 1970’s (Ansoff, Porter et all). That will remain with a smattering of guff about ethics & social responsibilty to appease the new socialists.

    Moreover 95% of what you learn in B school will never be used / remembered anyway

    Importantly, don’t assume that capitalism is dead. It may have passed out but it will be revived and 10 years from now we will all be talking about how much our houses have gone up in value

    Nothing really changes in the long term. greed is eternal

  4. A significant number of senior management at Banks are MBA grads and clearly were ill equipped to manage and understand the underlying risks in the Financial markets over the last 10 years. All trained in the same (wrong ) way.to think the same (wrong) way, using the same basic models…the business schools have a lot to answer for… do we really need any MBAs ..I think not.. don’t waste your money…

  5. General concensus I thought was MBAs are all about “networking” and having a laugh to land a job in a bank on 100k plus a year. No one really took the content seriously. If you wanted to learn content, better settle into a job directly and learn the ropes or find an employer who will pay you to do a MBA down the line.

    The network you develop is apparently very important. Maybe this network will remain intact, but I would wait out a year to get a clearer picture of how the economy will do rather than committing myself to 100k of debt.

  6. MBA is like a ‘theatre ticket’, without it you may not be allowed entrance. it’s not necessarily what you learn, but how you are judged by the ones employing you, whom most likely have a MBA qualification.

    i guess you can say they like their own ‘kind’.

  7. Rather go on 20 different specialist product courses than do 1 MBA at $100K

  8. Interesting comments. I am looking at doing a distance MBA with view to a change from engineering to banking. I will probably be done in 3 years, hopefully in time to catch the next up-swing. What are people’s thoughts on this

The comment is under moderation. It will appear shortly.


Screen Name


Consult our community guidelines here