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.
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.
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.
There is a great shift occurring in European business schools towards a highly modernized business education that incorporates multicultural diversity, interdisciplinary study, new technology, and the adoption of elements of the standard Anglo-Saxon university model.
The shift can be traced to the 1999 Bologna Accord, which outlined the steps necessary to standardize a model of higher education throughout Europe. Its primary goal is to enact reforms that would increase the level of competition between European universities. The reforms of the Bologna Accord include:
- standardization of degrees granted;
- establishment of clear divisions between undergraduate and graduate studies; and
- promotion of student mobility across disciplines, institutions, and nations.
Currently a plethora of different degrees are offered by institutes of higher education in Europe, which often leads to confusion and bureaucratic nightmares. Also, the long first-section model of 5 years is gradually being adapted towards the Anglo-Saxon model of 3-4 years for a bachelor’s degree and an additional 1-2 years for a master’s.
The Accord has been adopted by 40 European nations, and some nations like Switzerland and the Netherlands have already enacted their provisions. 2010 is the target year for the Accord’s implementation in all participating countries.
In the spirit of the Accord, European Universities are seeking not only to coordinate their MBA programs with the exigencies of the labor and financial markets, but with a spectrum of other disciplines as well Colin Mayer, Dean of the Said School at Oxford said recently in an interview with Business Week that the school’s offerings work in conjunction with those found in the University’s law, finance and science programs. He says that it is this sort of interdisciplinary work that is essential to successful entrepreneurship.
Dean Santiago Iniguez of the IE school in Madrid says that earning an MBA should be an “experience” and not merely a transmission of knowledge. According to Iniguez, the ideal is to create managers who are cosmopolitan, capable of negotiating different cultures while speaking a unified business language.
The degree of interaction between MBA programs and other fields is not clearly defined by the Accord and varies across universities. Some universities have taken steps to simplify the process of taking courses across disciplines, while others like IE have taken the more dramatic step of providing highly customized course offerings within the MBA program itself: courses with subjects like Chinese philosophy and literature, or global musical trends.
Issues of gender are discussed during the studies in relation to the experience of women in the workforce; notably, the differing role of networks for men and women has been an interesting topic of discussion in the program. They found that women tend to network more naturally across organizations and to have stronger contacts within their group of peers. Men, on the other hand, build stronger networks upward, which leads to better opportunities to promotion. Women, therefore, are at a noticeable disadvantage in terms of networking upwards within their organizations.
Another instance of behavioral differences between men and women that Buchel discusses happens during the job application process. When looking at a job description, women tend to become discouraged by the requirements they feel they are not qualified for, usually opting not to apply at all. However, men on average who are faced with the same situation tend to apply anyway, with a more optimistic and less hesitant attitude. These discussions of behavioral trends help the women to recognize their own tendencies and disadvantages, allowing them to be conscious of and improve in these areas.
When asked why Europe has lagged behind the US in terms of business programs for women, Buchel states that the issue of women in management hasn’t been on the forefront of corporate attention in Europe. The scarce number of women in executive positions has limited the viable market for such programs. However, these programs have been picking up more and more in Europe, especially since Scandinavian countries have begun to have much stronger female participation in management. Female representation on the political front, such as Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has also pushed the agenda of female leadership on the forefront in Europe. The establishment of programs such as Buchel’s has certainly created a unique example of how we can both recognize and promote the leadership of women in the workforce.
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