Monday, April 07, 2008

Thinking of an MBA?

Seems like perceptions of the worth of an MBA are highly cyclical, but there's no doubt that a good business school has a lot to offer for professional development. I chose to go back for an MBA after a specific experience: I realized that I really didn't understand VC term sheets or the underlying financial models when I really needed to know what I was dealing with.

Once you decide you want an MBA, you have to decide where you want to go. I looked in the US and ultimately only applied to one school. It's been understood for a while that European business schools are very good. As BusinessWeek notes, they are getting progressively better: they also offer an attractive alternative to American schools for professionals that plan to invest their professional life outside the US.

The other thing that is striking: business schools are becoming a sign of economic sophistication in economies that not too long ago were devoid of private business altogether. I am happy to see new schools developing in Eastern Europe. BusinessWeek also provides an interesting peek at Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, a new B-school being built in Russia and a key development in the maturation of the Russian economy. I've been spending a lot of time on a study of the Russian business environment, and I can tell you that many managers are very excited about this.

It may be that my age has something to do with it, but I find that many of my friends are asking me if they should consider an MBA. At some point, I'll give my thoughts on the chief benefits of an MBA, at least based on my first-hand experiences. Whether the investment (the time investment is likely to be the most dear) is worth it is a deeply personal decision, but maybe I can add some insight. Though I believe that Wharton remains the best business school in the world, I think that prospective B-school students should look at a number of options and I would put international schools on the top of the list.

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