Time to take refuge in an MBA?

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Shaky markets, uncertain hiring, possible bonus deterioration - is now the time to go back to school?

MBA schools would undoubtedly say yes, particularly as 2008 applications at the likes of London Business School - where 42% of 2006 MBAs went into finance and 21% into investment banking - open in September.

But is now really such a good time to go back? It all depends upon your prognosis for the markets, say recruiters. "If you take the pessimistic view that everything that's happening at the moment is more than a temporary correction and there will be a long-term downturn, you might want to enrol on an MBA for two years," says Vivienne Dykstra, ex-head of campus recruiting at Deutsche Bank and head of independent hiring firm Graduate Solutions.

On the other hand, if things really do deteriorate, doing an MBA now could leave you in a bad position down the line. "In 2003 MBA hiring targets were slashed and a lot of MBA hires were let go," says another recruiter.

Dykstra says there's no sign of any let up in hiring so far.

So is it best to sit this out, or bulk up your CV with a big name business school?

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