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The MBA is a postgraduate and post-experience qualification. Typical graduates here in the UK are in their early thirties and still benefit those who need to think and work strategically.
The MBA can provide the answer to someone who wants to broaden their skills base and to appreciate all aspects that make up a business. It also helps them to develop the equally important soft skills such as communication, leadership and HR management crucial and often bemoaned as lacking in an effective manager.
This holistic and deliberately general approach to management is precisely the MBA's strength.
Core modules of the MBA such as organisational behaviour, finance, marketing and strategy will always be the fundamental basis to any MBA programme.
But management continues to evolve as a discipline. MBA programmes respond to the challenges the business world faces itself. The collapse of Enron and other financial scandals undoubtedly and rightly threw the MBA into the spotlight. Issues such as corporate governance have obviously increased.
Debates and working on projects with people from other industry sectors, professional backgrounds and cultures is important because it provides the impetus for understanding new ways of thinking and working in the future. Especially in an increasingly complex global market place.
It is all too easy to get used to a particular style of management - and learning to be more reflective, innovative and flexible in your approach is a major part of the MBA.
Many organizations have simply not been in a position to release their managers for a year. Managers in turn have been understandably reluctant to put their life and salary on hold to study full time. Not being able to take one year off working does not preclude studying for an MBA. Far from it.
Schools have successfully responded to their market by becoming far more flexible in delivering the MBA. A one-MBA philosophy is an approach now adopted by a number of schools. Students can change the mode of study as it fits in with their work and life commitments, studying full time, part-time in 3 or 5 day blocks, in the evening or through distance learning as required. It comes down to flexibility not timetabling.