Masters of Science in Economics or Finance or Accounting
The Masters of Science in Economics / Finance / Accounting is a degree for those seeking to learn specific skills relevant to economic or financial spheres. The degree is generally one-year and made up of narrowly focused courses in either economics or finance. The degree enables students to quickly develop expertise in a single field, and thus to move more quickly up the ladder in that field.
Some courses may overlap with an MBA program that has a finance concentration, but the MBA also provides more time for exploration outside of a single interest area and the development of more comprehensive leadership and management skills than the Masters of Science does. For some, the broader focus of the MBA may be helpful, for others, who already have gained management training or are interested in a PhD, or are just starting out, the Masters of Science might be a better choice.
The Masters of Science attracts people at a different point in their careers than MBA, EMBA or part-time MBA degrees.
· On average younger than the full-time MBA student, candidates are not necessarily required to have work experience. Thus it attracts more recent college graduates.
· Not as interested in learning to manage. The degree is more academically focused, teaching skills that are relevant to a particular track.
Though certainly varying from program to program and degree to degree, post-graduation many go into banking, some to economics, or development economics, and some to PhD programs.
Also of interest, in Europe the Masters of Science in Economics or Finance is considered particularly valuable and almost a more traditional path than the MBA. Graduates of Masters of Science programs are seen as skilled but also more flexible in terms of management style and thus companies can train individuals as they see fit.
The part-time MBA, like the EMBA, allows students to keep their full time jobs while attending business school. Unlike the EMBA programs, however, part-time MBA programs are designed for the less experienced professional or for those seeking to learn the necessary skills to change careers. Some part-time programs also incorporate distance-learning options making them flexible for those who travel frequently as well as for those that do not necessarily live nearby the school they attend. Schedules also differ from program to program, so you will want to find a timetable that works best for you, your family and your employer.
The most significant challenge for part-time students is changing careers. Those who do not seek to make a dramatic change are generally satisfied with their choice. However, students who want to make a more extreme change in field tend not to be as satisfied with part-time MBA study as do full-time MBA students.
Full-time MBA students have time off to engage in summer internships or take a part-time position in a different field during the school year. This increases their potential to be able to change fields. Part-time MBA students are more limited in this respect. They may necessarily have to keep the jobs they currently hold, but often find it more realistic to move into a position that combines their experience with the new interests and skills gained in the classroom.
At the same time, part-time MBA students have a lot of time. The programs, being part-time, take an extended time to complete, and thus provide additional time for students to contemplate the direction they want the degree to take. In addition, it’s important for part time students to make use of campus resources, career counseling, and career assessment tools as they move along in the process. After three or four years in a program, goals may change, so these tools should be used when evaluating the MBA process.
Part time students will need the support of their employers and families too, as both studying and working will require large time commitments.
Some part time students receive funding from their employers to complete the part time MBA. Larger companies are generally more likely to fund MBA programs. Even for those who do not receive funding from their employers, part time MBA students have a financial advantage over their full time counterparts in that they are continuing to earn money during study, often enough to cover expenses.
Some part time students who seek to change careers post-graduation will find that their salaries do not increase and may even decrease. This is because companies still hire and determine wages based on proven experience. One way to mitigate this is by seeking to combine the expertise developed in your current field with your interest in a new field. Also, money need not be the single determining factor in your post-MBA professional choice. Though many go into MBA programs seeking to improve their earnings, many also seek to change jobs. With this in mind, try to find a position that will allow you to grow and learn. Consider options that complement your long-term goals and don’t just consider your post-MBA pocketbook.
The traditional full-time MBA is not for everyone. Not everyone is able to take two full years (or one year, as is more common in Europe) out of the workforce, take out study loans, or move locations. In addition, not all those with an interest in an MBA are at the right point in their careers to commit to full-time MBA study as the best method to career enhancement or career change. Also, the traditional MBA may not provide the most appropriate training for a particular candidate to meet his or her goals. Fortunately there are other options.
The most common alternatives to the traditional MBA within the sphere of graduate business education are:
o the Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA),
o the part-time MBA,
o the online MBA, and
o the Masters of Science in Economics or Finance or Accounting.
All of these options are geared toward professionals in different career and personal situations.
An evaluation of your own goals, career experience, personal or family needs, time limitations, and financial needs will help you decide between these options and determine which is best suited to you.
EMBA programs are set up for experienced professionals. In general, programs advise having several years of experience for entering EMBA candidates. EMBA programs also are usually conducted on the weekends, or in select weeks during the year, not requiring students to quit their day jobs. Yet, despite maintaining a different clientele and calendar, the EMBA teaches students many of the same subjects and methods as the MBA.
The EMBA is ideal for the experienced candidate interested in developing his or her knowledge of business and management. If you want to develop a new expertise in a field, a part-time MBA program or a full-time MBA program is more likely to provide you with the necessary time to fulfill your career goals. In addition, if you are qualified in terms of background and experience, there is enormous benefit in an EMBA program to learn from fellow students who will share their experience and background with you. Faculty will also design their classes taking into consideration the experience of the students. Typical candidates tend to have the following profile:
· Over 30. Average age varies from program to program.
· Working full-time.
· Already in a management role.
· May already have another degree (e.g, M.S., M.D, J.D., PhD).
EMBA programs vary in terms of schedules, flexibility, and travel expectations. You will thus want to select a program that is best suited to your needs. Like MBA programs, EMBA programs also encourage and require group work. Find out how this works before you begin so that you can fit it into your schedule and make arrangements with your employer. If you have particular career goals, such as increasing your international exposure, consider global EMBA options, such as those found at Duke or the Columbia-LBS partnership, or Kellogg’s particularly strong Latin American connections. If you would like to move locations from San Francisco to New York or vice versa, for example, you may consider the Columbia-Berkeley program. If you live in Chicago and want to stay put, check out the University of Chicago’s EMBA packages.
· Time. Being in an EMBA program while working full-time will limit your free time as well as require some degree of flexibility and support on the part of your employer and possibly your family.
· Money. More often than with traditional MBA programs, many EMBA students receive funding from their employers. This trend is gradually declining, and few receive full tuition at least without a guaranteed contract after the program. This makes it important to recognize that you might have to research loan options and understand your financial needs. Note that most EMBA grads do receive a full return on their investment within four years of graduation.
The EMBA degree is increasingly attractive to people who seek to expand their horizons and much of that attraction arises not only from the education provided but from the connections and networks that are formed during the program.
The future of EMBA programs lies in continued global expansion and partnerships between US and foreign institutions. Regardless of location, programs are seeking to make their scheduling more convenient for the long distance travelers, adopting calendars where classes are not scheduled every week but are given three-to-five consecutive days a month instead.
Technology is increasingly incorporated in EMBA programs as well, with group assignments being completed through video conferencing. These programs continue to evolve with the times.
Factors to Consider – Your Own Fit
· Risk-taking & Open-minded: Anyone seeking to study abroad will need to cultivate his willingness to take risks and show eagerness to learn about new cultures and perspectives. Pursuing graduate level education outside one’s home country is unconventional. So candidates, even those studying at top European programs, are pursuing a less-traveled path and must be able to do so confidently. Confidence gained in this new setting will likely lead them to success.
· Language Skills: One thing that seems to make many candidates more successful in studying abroad is prior knowledge of other languages. Though language ability also opens doors in your home country, knowing additional languages when studying in Europe will greatly increase your professional and personal networking possibilities.
· Limited Home Country Job Connection: The main drawback for you in pursuing an MBA abroad is that if you seek immediate employment after graduation, you may find that your home contacts and networks are more limited than those of recent graduates from schools in your home country.
Beyond exploring individual programs, self-evaluation and self-inquiry into your motives for pursuing an MBA degree abroad will help you make an informed and beneficial decision. In order to become confident in the decision to study abroad, learning about the experiences of others who have studied at your chosen schools will enable you to better assess whether a particular program is right for you.
Just as finding a program in your home country that is well matched to your unique skills, personality, interests, and goals is important, it is even more important when looking into schools abroad. It’s important to research the career paths and professional backgrounds of students at programs you are interested in.
One of the main questions to ask yourself is to what degree are you willing to adapt to a new culture and new people. Also, how open are you to adapting to different academic styles. The more willing you are to adapt, the happier you will be with your decision to study in a new country.
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There are several excellent MBA programs outside North America. European Business schools such as London Business School in the UK, IMD in Switzerland, INSEAD in France, ESADE in Spain, and RSM Erasmus in the Netherlands immediately come to mind as some of the top ranked MBA programs in the world. Although the US remains by far the primary center for MBA study (about 83% of all the GMAT score reports worldwide are sent to US-based business schools based on the GMAC’s 07 data), Europeans are increasingly choosing to study in Europe outside of their home country while Americans also start to take a serious look at schools across the Atlantic. This tendency, however, has been balanced by Asians who overwhelmingly choose to study in the US.
Why then are more students now choosing to pursue their management education abroad in a different country in Europe? Many factors contribute to this trend, such as an interest in working internationally, an interest in a particular country, the desire to learn another language or to experience a different academic atmosphere. We also listed out some crucial benefits below.
Yet, studying abroad does entail certain challenges, and some candidates are more prepared to succeed in a different cultural context as a result of their personality and professional or academic background.
Factors to Consider – Pros
· Shorter Program: European programs move at a faster pace. They are generally 1-year long, so you need to be prepared to jump right into academic work. IMD, generally ranked as the #1 program in Europe, is a rigorous 11-month program in which students do not have the opportunity to pursue an internship. So you need to be a bit more focused in terms of post-MBA goals and career pursuits.
· More Experienced Classmates: Another important consideration in terms of matching your background with European programs is that the average student age and years of professional experience is higher at European schools than in US schools. Older candidates tend to find this attractive, while younger ones may feel slightly out of place or experience increased difficulty gaining admission.
You are more likely to be successful in your attempt at getting into school if you follow a few simple rules in the process. Through honesty, self-knowledge of goals, desires, and abilities, a readiness for the school itself, and a realistic understanding of those reading your application you will be more likely to succeed in gaining acceptance to the school of your desire.
In your application you will be asked intimate questions about personal motivation and what draws you in a particular direction. Try to answer these with as much truthfulness as possible. Admissions officers can often detect falsehood, so show your genuine reasons and motivations without disguise. Being yourself makes all the difference.
2: Matching Yourself
Admissions officers don’t just look at whether or not you have a great academic and professional background, your recommendations, and your interviews. They are also keen on finding candidates that would fit in well with their school. So look into not only ranking and GMAT medians, but also what kinds of students attend a particular program, what their backgrounds and goals are and how those match up with yours. Finding a school with likeminded people will contribute to both the success of your application and your future career path.
3: Determining Goals and Motivations
Defining your goals and motivations needs to happen well before you step onto campus for classes. You need to know where you want your MBA to take you. The process of figuring out your own goals and motivations will enable you to create focused, thoughtful, and clear applications that will make sense to admissions officers. Admissions consultants are often helpful in assisting candidates in the process of self-evaluation. Meeting with people who are further along in career paths that interest you may also prove helpful in determining your own path.
4: Don’t apply before you’re prepared to
It is better that you submit a clear, concise, well-thought out application rather than submitting a rushed application in the early rounds. Sending in an application that shows you at your best (the best GMAT you can achieve, the best recommendations you can have, the best essay statements you can compose) is most likely to be successful one, regardless of the round in which it is submitted.
5: Realistic Understanding of the Admissions Officials
Many people think admissions staff are extremely scrutinizing and perfectionists; in other words, machines with little understanding of the possibility for human error or mistakes. In fact, admissions officers are more likely to pay attention to interesting applications from a human perspective. So do not hesitate to show your true self to the readers of your application.
The numbers of women and minorities in MBA programs remain low. Overall, women make up approximately half of the population and only about 30% of top MBA programs. Minorities make up about a third of the population of the United States, and yet only 7% of top MBA programs. Many schools and organizations are working to improve these numbers.
Minorities, especially African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, are not well-represented in business schools across the United States. The reason for their low numbers has to do with many complicated factors—including historical, social, and educational ones. The National Society of Hispanic MBA’s suggests that the lack of representation in business school is due to a lack of role models, difficulties financing the degree, and lack of knowledge about the worth of an MBA (compared to the clear understanding of what a Medical degree or Law degree leads to). The National Society of Hispanic MBA’s and the National Black MBA Association are also working to increase the numbers of minority MBAs through grants and scholarships, mentor programs, GMAT preparation assistance, and admissions consulting.
Women too are not well-represented in business schools across the United States. Interestingly, women do make up an equal proportion of undergraduate business graduates, but somehow these numbers drop dramatically in MBA education. The most commonly suggested reasons are concerns in the late twenties and early thirties about starting families and the “biological clock.” Law and medical schools tend to attract younger applicants and thus maintain pretty much equal proportions of men and women. However, some schools, in particular Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School, have noticed an increase in the number of women attending. Through mentor programs and an impressive female alumni network, Tuck Women in Business has been successful at increasing their proportion of women to 33% more than any other business school. The lack of women in MBA programs contributes to a lack of women later on in corporate leadership roles. There are currently approximately 11 women CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, but groups like Tuck Women in Business are working to improve these numbers in the future by providing women with mentors and encouragement to return to or stay in the business world as they fulfill family roles.
Getting on the wait list can be frustrating, especially when you’ve been wait-listed at one of your top choices. You should still congratulate yourself on the accomplishment because it means you’re close to being accepted. Many candidates are denied admission outright, so pat yourself on the back.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that with most business schools, you still have more work to do. Begin with the following steps:
· Be sure to contact the number provided by the school, if they’ve provided one, and let them know you are still interested.
· Let them know in writing of your continued interest.
· Write down the contacts you have at the school, whether they’re alumni, students, faculty, or admissions committee members. You may consider contacting them about your waiting list status later in the process.
· Some wait-listed applicants also visit the schools and meet personally with admissions committee members regarding their candidacy. This also shows great interest and drive to attend the school.
Just sitting back and waiting for an acceptance letter won’t help your candidacy, but well-thought-out moves based on why you were not originally accepted can. In order to figure out the reason for not being accepted, contact the school by phone or simply reassess your application based on statistics available on the school’s website for their class profile.
Weak GMAT. If based on GMAT scores, retake the GMAT. Each person is allowed to repeat the test up to five times a year. Take a course, if you didn’t originally. They are likely to improve your score. Send the updated scores to the school.
Weak Transcript. There is little you can do to dramatically improve a weak transcript. However, enrolling in courses and receiving good grades in business school preparatory classes shows initiative, interest, and improvement. Also consider sending in an additional recommendation from a professor that can attest to your academic strength.
Weak Work Experience. Let the school know about any added responsibilities or roles you have taken on since applying. Leadership or management roles may be especially helpful.
Weak Community Service. Send updates about leadership roles you’ve taken within community service organizations. Consider sending a recommendation related to your community service work, especially from a current student.
Weak Professional Goals. Consider telling the admissions committee more concisely where you have been and are going. You may do this in an interview, especially if you have yet to interview, or in a letter directed to an admissions committee member.
For a few schools—such as HBS or Wharton—that ask that you do not contact or update them, it’s best to follow their directions. Do not contact them. A concise, thoughtful recommendation from an alumnus or student may help, but otherwise allow them to simply make their own decision based on your previously submitted application.
With any school, be sure all correspondence is substantive and be careful not to overdo it. Use your people skills to understand when you have done enough.
At most top MBA programs, interviews are a required and important part of the application. Even where they are not required, they are generally recommended by admissions staff.
The interview offers admissions committees the opportunity to access a candidate’s ability to verbally communicate who they are. They see a candidate’s charm, beyond their written expression and their ability to think on their feet. Overall, a candidate should aim to behave in a manner that encourages conversation and open discussion. However, this requires practice. A few guidelines are the following:
· Aim for consistency with the written application. Candidates should be sure to review essay questions prior to the interview and make responses align with their written responses.
· Research the school. You may even want to have knowledgeable questions in mind for the interviewer related to the school’s program.
· If you tend to be nervous in interview situations, find a way to relax yourself.
· Be honest!
· Be prepared especially to explain your weaknesses and make them strengths. Avoid using the old, “I’m a perfectionist line.”
· Support your answers with examples.
In practice sessions with friends or co-workers or individually (ideally still aloud), practice the following themes:
College and (Graduate education if applicable). Why did you attend the college you did? What was your experience like? How were your classes? Which ones in particular stand out? What were your college extracurricular activities?
Job. Why did you choose the job(s) you chose?
MBA. Why? Why now? Why at ___? Where else did you apply? What is your top choice? Where would you like to work in short and long term? What curriculum methods interest you?
General. Tell us about yourself, according to your resume. Where do you see yourself in five years? Why do you leave the house each day? What is your opinion on random business issues (ethics, current markets)? How would people describe you, including friends, co-workers, and supervisors? Describe your style of leadership, your approach to ethical questions. Describe your strengths and weaknesses. Rate yourself in terms of motivation, teamwork, organization, loyalty, work ethic. If money was not a worry, what would you do?
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