guidance for master

General Questions
  • Posted by laura on 01/10/14 7:49pm

    Dear Thomas,

    Thanks for all your posts, I read a lot of them and they are really helpful. I still have some specific questions.

    First of all my background:
    I hold a bachelors degree in international business.
    By the time I will start my masters (2015) I will be 25 and will have 2 years of working experience as project manager in the aviation and aerospace industry.
    My goal for the future is to work in a management / leadership position

    My questions:
    In your posts you advice to rather do an MBA after having 2 years of working experience. But is an MBA suitable for graduates in business? What are the advantages/ disadvantages?

    Does it make sense as a business graduate with 2 years of working experience do to a MiM first and an MBA afterwards?

    What exactly is the difference between MiM for professionals requiring 2 years of working experience and an MBA? As for the tuition fee they do not differ that much, what program has a higher reputation?

    Thanks a lot for your effort.

    Best Regards,

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 01/13/14 1:09pm

      Hi Laura,

      you raise some very interesting questions. Thank you for them!

      Let's start with the reputation.

      IN GENERAL, the MBA is an established degree that most globally operating firms should know. Masters in Management have several different degrees (hence, it doe snot provide one single degree that rings a bell any time someone hears it. Many employers, particularly in the US, may be less familiar with it.

      STILL it may be the case that a SPECIFIC program or school offers a Master in Management for Professionals that provides a strong SPECIFIC reputation in the respective area that may even be better than the rather unspecific MBA. If a school, for instance, provides a super exclusive executive program such as the Stanford Sloan Master's Program or if it specializes in a specific area such as the ESCP Master in European Business - this may be more advantageous than an MBA, provided that you want that elite circle (Stanford) or the ESCP's specific network transferred to MEB students.

      If you do not have such a specific interest where a specific Master in Management fits perfectly into, I would rather go for an MBA.

      "An MBA for business graduates?"

      Yes, that makes sense even though you may find the beginning of the program easier than your colleagues form engineering or humanities. I any good MBA program you find about 20 or 25% people with an academic business or economics background. And the reasons are:

      • the MBA is very practical and the case study approach, particularly, in the advanced program stages, as well as leadership seminars etc. provide valuable knowledge assets for people with a business background too.
      • the network in good MBA classes is excellent (you learn a lot from other students)
      • the reputation of the degree is good for your cv
      • and the career services may help you find a decent jb

      "Doing an MIM now and later an MBA?"
      Theoretically it is possible - but since you have studied business already, I think the overlap would be too much. would go directly for am MBA now.

      Best wishes

      By Thomas Graf
      Owner MBA Compass
      Author of the MBA&MIM eBook

    • Posted by laura on 01/15/14 7:19pm

      Thanks a lot for your answers. It helped me to narrow down my options.

      I still have some questions concerning the MBA programs:

      1. Entry requirements:
        During my research I discovered that a lot of business schools (especially in Europe) expect to have a minimum of three years work experience. Is there a high chance to get in these programs with just 2 years of experience? How can I increase my chances?

      2. Choice of country:
        In the long run I would like to have a job in Europe with an international focus. Is it preferable to study in Europe then? What reputations do master programs from the US or Asia have in Europe?

      3. Reputation of MBA:
        I already asked you a similar question, but this one is more specific. I read some articles stating that in my home country Germany, the MBA is still not as highly recognized as it is in some other countries. In conclusion, job opportunities with an MBA in Germany would not be that much better than with a regular master program. What is your opinion about this statement and what is the trend for the future?

      Thanks again for your effort.


      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 01/16/14 6:50pm

        Hi Laura,

        thank you for your message.

        If MBA programs require 3 years if work experience, there are two options: Either these schools are very strict and really mean 3 years; these schools traditionally target more experienced people and 3 years are just the minimum (and definitely not the average). Or, these programs (their managers respectively) are more flexible and accept work experience collected during or even before your undergraduate studies as well. In that case, it depends on the quality of that experience. For instance, if you can demonstrate that you did internships at renowned firms with 6 months in total or more... then you may find schools that accept you even if officially 3 years are required.

        As for the reputation, my rule of thumb is: If you want to work in Europe, it does not matter whether the school is in Europe, the US, or Asia. If you want to work in the US, however, I would do it there. If you want to work in Asia, I would do it in the US or Asia. This is a rule of thumb, and there may be many exceptions of course.

        In your case, the actual questions are less in which geographic region you choose but instead:

        • What's the quality of the school? Choose, for instance, only internationally accredited schools and consider ranking positions if such a visible exposure is important for you.
        • Are your target employers or at least employers from your target industry recruiting there?
        • Do you have a preferred country and does the school has a regional network? This is the only case, where the geographic region may play a role indeed (e.g., Grand Ecoles in France)
        • How much money do you want to spend? 2 years in the US and high tuition fees (in case you don't get a scholarship) may drop your ROI. Check for example the Forbes MBA Ranking... European schools provide a ROI that is about double as much as US-MBAs (still, if oyu want to work in the US you should do the MBA there).
        • Where do you want to study in terms of life experience...? A sometimes overlooked point...

        As for the reputation of an MBA in Germany, I would not see it that negatively. Global or internationally oriented firms are familiar with it. Of course, some SMEs ('Mittelstandsunternehmen') may have distinct attitudes - but if you think about Bosch, McKinsey, BCG, BASF, Lufthansa, or Deutsche Bank there is no doubt that these firms recruit MBAs.

        Moreover, MBA programs are not the same as Masters. MBA programs typically are for experienced people who want to change their career or give it a new push. Many masters are for graduates or recent graduates. Of course, there are also Masters for professionals (e.g., post-experience masters) - but these Masters are often specialized Masters and you cannot compare them with a general management MBA. As for a general management program, the MBA is for professionals, and the MIM is for graduates. Hence, Masters in Management and MBAs are not interchangeable.

        Finally, it may be a good idea to clarify in advance whether your dream company likes MBAs or not - and if yes, where it recruits. You can screen their websites, for instance, to see if they mention MBA somewhere under'careers' or if you find profiles of employers with an MBA. You can also call them and just ask. Finally, you can read the career statistics of MBA schools and who recruited on campus last year and where the MBA graduates found a job.

        By the way, why don't you apply for the MBA Day in Munich ? There you meet nearly 30 excellent Business Schools and you can attend my MBA Info Session : )

        Best wishes

        By Thomas Graf
        Owner MBA Compass
        Author of the MBA&MIM eBook