A decade ago MBA degree holders in China were all considered top talents. They usually had strong academic records and excellent work experience in their industries.
Back then China had few reputable business schools and the US and the UK became hotbeds for Chinese MBA education. Chinese professionals with overseas MBAs became extremely popular in banks, SOEs and multinational corporations.
These days far more young Chinese have an overseas education. The academic and work-experience requirements for MBA enrollments are not as strict as they were. The value of an MBA degree is therefore decreasing as time goes by.
Although some Chinese professionals still prefer Western universities, others are also keen to explore the A-list of China’s B-schools, such as Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, and China Europe International Business School.
That’s not to say that foreign MBA degree holders aren’t still sought after by both domestic and foreign firms. It’s just that they are no longer scarce resources – which is definitely good news for employers.
But are MBA grads still keen on the banking sector? “Many Chinese MBA holders do not look for employment in investment banking or commercial banking. They seek jobs in government functions and other SMEs, or they set up their own business,” says David Wilson, president and CEO at the graduate management admission council, The National School of Development at Peking University.
However, those that do have a taste for finance usually end up within investment banking rather than other parts of the industry. Like it or not, having an MBA degree is an advantage there.
Why is this? Investment banking divisions have a very systematic ranking structure. A young graduate usually starts his or her career as an analyst and moves onto associate, senior associate, VP and eventually MD.
If you are a MBA graduate with one to two years of IB working experience, the investment bank will usually hire you as a first-year associate. On the other hand, it may take three years or more for a fresh undergraduate to become an associate. An MBA can help to speed up your career.