Finweek MBA Lifestyle Impact Survey: Should I do an MBA or not?
WHY IS THE FINWEEK MBA SURVEY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER MBA SURVEYS?
PROBLEMS WITH TRADITIONAL MBA SURVEYS
Flawed calculation methods Some surveys measure the MBA’s impact on salary, but the calculation methodologies are usually f lawed. For example, they don’t properly deal with effects such as wage inf lation, the time value of money, isolating the impact of the MBA, and heterogeneity in the comparison groups.
Many surveys give misleading statistics as proof of the MBA’s effect on career advancement. For example, they might show that a sample of MBA graduates has a high percentage of senior managers – and then conclude that an MBA opens doors to senior management roles. Of course, this could simply be because senior managers tend to study the MBA degree; or it might ref lect that the MBA tends to appeal to more ambitious people who may have reached senior management levels, even without having an MBA. It’s a case of correlation, not cause.
The ‘own school’ bias Students are often asked to rate the quality of the MBA’s course content, lecturers, and so on, in order to compare the various business schools. But this basis for comparison is f lawed, because students haven’t been exposed to any other business schools against which to measure. All they have is their experience of their own school.
The ‘large school’ bias Most surveys favour the larger, more established business schools, though this is often unintended. For example, researchers often bring in the employers’ perspectives by asking hiring managers which business school they rate the most highly. If the hiring managers are MBA graduates themselves, then it’s highly likely that their answers will favour their own schools. By simple probability, these are more likely to be one of the larger schools, and hence these will be disproportionately favoured.
Of course, the largest schools could well deserve their reputations – these schools may indeed offer the best MBA programmes. If this is the case, then the superior quality of their MBA programmes should indeed result in a more positive impact on the lives of their MBA graduates. Reputation is thus a secondorder effect; impact is the most important parameter to measure – hence the focus of
Traditional MBA surveys tend to concentrate on the features of the MBA programme at various schools, instead of the impact. For example, the focus might be on the number of core and elective courses, acceptance rates, size of faculty, business school facilities, etc. Ultimately, once people have finished studying their MBA degree, these features all become irrelevant. What really matters is how the MBA impacted their lives.
Finally, most MBA surveys focus on only two areas - career and financial remuneration. However, this is a very narrow view and only one part of the overall impact of the MBA. There are other critical areas with real life impact that must also be considered.
WHAT MAKES THIS SURVEY DIFFERENT?
The Finweek MBA Lifestyle Impact Survey tackles most of the problems associated with the traditional MBA surveys. It comprehensively answers the questions