In the 1980s the elite American business schools started to offer a postgraduate qualification called a Masters of Business Administration, or MBA for short. The idea behind this qualification was to take highly intelligent managers with experience in the workplace to update their management capability with all the latest academic research and theory.
In particular, the MBA focused on understanding individual motivation to work, the emerging research around human resource management along with finance, accounting and competitive advantage.
When the MBA first emerged, it acted as a passport to a new job in a new industry at a much higher rate of pay. This passport worked because companies knew they were recruiting highly intelligent people because the universities’ selection process guaranteed the academic brilliance of all those selected on to a program. Companies were keen to recruit managers equipped with the latest business research and academic theories around the underlying principles of business success, not least because the pace of change in the business environment was beginning to make clear that the idea of employment for life and hierarchical structures of employment were breaking down.
So, for a while, anyone with an MBA was considered something of a magic silver bullet by employers – a person equipped with the experience and knowledge to make a massive impact across a range of business issues affecting the performance of the organization. This thinking led to the critical importance of business school rankings because the idea was that the higher ranked business schools were better able to turn out MBA holders with the best capabilities to transform a business.
Over time, this view changed somewhat because the evidence seemed to suggest that many MBA holders were equally capable of heling deliver business success, no matter the relative ranking of their business school. What appeared to underly this finding was that the most successful MBAs were not necessarily the most academically brilliant, but those who were most able to work in teams and to foster a collegiate environment among the people they worked with.
This led to a gradual shift in the syllabus of most MBA programs to focus heavily on teamworking, an understanding of motivation and how to motivate excellence in performance and commitment to the organization at every level of work.
This in turn led to a very clear focus on engaging MBA students in project work, ideally in an industry or sector entirely different to the one they had experience of, so that the dissertation or report on the project could evidence the student’s learning around practical issues influencing business success, work performance or strategic analysis
Over time, the MBA focus has shifted to this far more practical approach of evidencing real world skills and hands on ability to work in teams and in collaborative ways to achieve business success. This goes hand in hand with the deep realization that work is a collaborative performance, a true team effort if you like, and that no one person on their own acts as a sliver bullet guaranteeing an extraordinary, lightening-like strike of business success.
Moreover, MBAs have become environments gathering students with work experience from a highly diverse range of countries and business sectors around the world. This reflects the realization that diversity is in itself a key to success.
If you are able to evidence your ability to work with anyone from anywhere in the world, you are demonstrating to an employer that you have immediate high value to them, even if their business is not actually based on a global or international basis. This is because the experience of working with a highly diverse range of people creates a transferrable skill of working with different people in different environments with different mindsets and cultural backgrounds, no matter where in the world you may find yourself.
For this reason, most MBAs now encourage their students to work on projects that take them into a different part of the world than the one where they have been working. And one that exposes them to very different problems or business skill requirements than previously required in their past employment.
So, if you are looking for an MBA as a means of changing your career prospects, it is important to consider how employers perceive the business school you wish to study at, and how the reputation of this business school shows through the project work of its students and the research of its faculty. An interesting element to be aware of here is the size, international presence of and business sector spread of the business school’s alumni base.
Most Scottish universities perform very strongly on this dimension because they have been delivering top notch graduates working in a very varied international business sector context. Go to any country or any business sector anywhere in the world and you are likely to find graduates of a Scottish University or a Scottish MBA obvious, active and evident in their respective business community.
Indeed, Scotland boasts some of the most successful internationally active MBA programs of all time. This is because Scottish Universities are very good at recruiting based on student potential and then equipping their students with the skills to succeed in highly complex business environments. This reflects a very democratic view about the value of education that has been present in Scotland for 150 to 200 years at least. This view is that education is the key to both individual success and of wealth creation for the country or national economy as a whole.
So, you are likely to find yourself as the alum of a Scottish MBA in the company of a very large Scottish MBA alumni community all of whom share this basic approach to wealth creation and education. Indeed, there is a fiercely held pride among Scottish MBAs that they have been through one of the best possible business education experiences in the world because the learning achieved is all around how to create success for the many while remaining academically rigorous and elite in ability to communicate and influence top-tier decision makers in every part of the world.
ScotsGrad is a pioneer in establishing the UK, especially Scotland, as a premier destination for higher education among students in India. They provide end to end advisory services including psychometric assessment, personalised interactions, university and visa application assistance, and career guidance. The personalised interactions with our members, former graduates of leading UK universities, ensure a holistic and systematic approach. They are also the only consultancy in India enabling “career success” for any student going to the UK.
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