I'm going to stick my flag in the ground straight away; clients often highlight a series of must haves when discussing the educational standard of their desired candidates. I am sometimes surprised that decision makers feel MBA's and other associated courses are a necessity.
Granted, they offer a well rounded perspective of managing business affairs and, for those individuals who have already experienced a number of years of in-the-job experience, they can undeniably sharped and refine skills and approaches.
However, two things can sometimes leave me, as an interviewer, wondering if they need to be a prerequisite in a persons background:
1. When the MBA was taken several years ago
2. When a fresh graduate completes one prior to taking up a managerial role
The question I always ask when presented with an MBA graduate is, what were the top three things you learnt from studying and how has it made a difference in your day-to-day job?
Secondly, and as important to an impressive university education, is self, continual learning. What books, podcasts and articles does the candidate read and implement from? I interviewed a candidate today who, unprovoked, highlighted his thirst for this type of learning. He then continued to highlight how different techniques and approaches have helped improve his area of responsibility. He made the shortlist.
And so my message to any decision maker, especially when hiring a new person into a SLT / board is: please don't automatically assuming an MBA means you should brush over education and the candidates adaptability to learning.
KEY TAKEAWAYS An MBA is a graduate business degree focused on management. MBA students can also focus on other aspects of business, like finance or risk management. Many schools now offer specialty programs, like sports management, entrepreneurship, the entertainment business, or healthcare management. Executive MBA programs are available for experienced professionals who cannot commit to a full-time schedule.