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Saturday, December 6, 2008






THE MBA originated in North America in the 1920s as a two-year full-time programme and today all the top ranking US MBAs remain as two-year full-time programmes. However, when INSEAD introduced the first European MBA programme in the late 1950s it was the first of what was to become the European/UK norm for a 12-month full-time programme. There are exceptions and the most prominent are the London Business School and Manchester Business School in the UK and IESE Business School - University of Navarra in Spain. 
   “Australia adopted the MBA degree relatively early and introduced a number of MBA programmes throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. In most cases the North American two-year full-time model was adopted. Towards the late 1990s several Australian universities shortened their programme to the 12-month full-time version although the premium providers such as the AGSM, Melbourne Business School and Monash University have retained the two-year full-time model,” said Frederik Kotzé, senior media and marketing coordinator, Faculty of Business and Economics Monash University, Australia. 


However, apart from duration, MBA programmes have evolved considerably over the decades. Today there is a realisation that an MBA is more than providing knowledge about business management and there has been an increasing emphasis on the development of what is often incorrectly termed ‘soft skills.’ “The Monash MBA has been prominent in this area and over the last several years has been ranked as a world leader in this regard. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2007 MBA rankings placed the Monash MBA second in the world in the category ‘personal development and educational experience.’ Overall, the course was ranked 43 in the world, the highest ranked MBA in Australia, an improvement of six places from its 2006 position,” he added. 
   Tracing the change in the MBA degree, Kotzé said MBAs were developed to provide practising managers with an educational background to help prepare them for a senior management role. “Accordingly, MBA programmes are or should be broad-based, providing a breadth of knowledge of key business and management disciplines. However, in more recent years some MBA programmes have lost their way and have become essentially specialised Master’s degree programmes under another name (MBA). Others have targeted students who have little or no work experience which means that these MBAs are catering for students seeking junior level positions rather than senior management appointments.” 
   The objective of a good MBA programme is to provide aspiring senior managers with a breadth of knowledge across all the essential business disciplines such as accounting, finance, marketing, managing people and so forth. “To complement the broadbased nature of the MBA, several programmes provide an opportunity for students to pursue a specialisation in a particular field. For example, the Monash MBA provides students with an opportunity to pursue a professional track (a specialisation in a particular field of study) or to undertake a double degree combining the MBA with a specialist Master’s degree such as in accounting, applied finance, marketing, HRM, commercial law and health services management. 
   Also, according to Kotzé, there has been an increasing trend for MBA programmes to emphasise the importance of personal development, leadership, globalisation, sustainability, ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their programmes. 


A good MBA and industry experience provide opportunities for students to either move up the ladder in existing firms, to change employers or industries and in many cases to change their career direction. “In Australia, the MBA is generally regarded to be important for middle to senior management positions. Candidates who are at this level and have completed a good MBA generally find good employment prospects,” added Kotzé. 
   For a new challenge in financial leadership, the Monash MBA has combined forces with the Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) to give professional business managers the necessary management and accounting skills to successfully lead the financial operations of an organisation. “The new MBA/MPA double degree provides strategic management education, specialist professional accounting knowledge, innovative skills development, external personal growth and enhanced career opportunities,” he said. 
   Viraj Perera, deputy commercial manager, Major Projects Victoria in Melbourne, says he chose Monash because it offers a double Master’s degrees - an MBA and a second Master’s degree in a chosen specialisation. Monash also offers the flexibility of linking the MBA to other fields such as engineering, applied finance, law and so on. 
   “In contrast to an MBA that had a set of pre-determined subjects. It gave me the comfort of having the option of furthering my existing engineering background, or choosing another area of specialisation. In the end, I did an MBA with a professional track in managerial finance. Secondly, I found that in the international market, people had a high level of awareness about Monash as compared with other Australian universities, and domestically, Monash is highly regarded. I’m sure that the reputation of Monash worked in my favour in securing this position,” added Perera.



   Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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