ECONOMY

Biggest-ever business school event

By the end of the 1990s taking an MBA seemed to be a passport to instant financial and career success with new business school graduates commanding starting salary packages of up to 100,000 euros. Then came the worldwide economic downturn and the beginning of the worst job market for MBAs for more than a decade. Now it looks as though an upward trend could return as major business schools in Europe and the USA report a significant rise in MBA recruitment across a wide range of sectors. At INSEAD in France, Mary Boss, director of corporate development, reports that consulting firms, «…are now hiring for 13 offices… compared with 2001-2002 when they only came to campus to hire for five or six offices.» At Spain’s IE-Instituto de Empresa, the associate director of the career management department, Boris Nowalski, says: »We’re positive about all sectors for 2004. Investment banking and consulting are noticeably picking up.» And according to Abby Scott of the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley Campus, «students are finding jobs in industries all across the board.» Their experience ties in with the increasing profile of the qualification in Greece. «The MBA degree has become very reputable in Greece,» says Chari Synodinou of ALBA, the Athens Laboratory of Business Administration. «Through the MBA someone can acquire the skills they need to find work in a competitive environment or generally advance their career.» This upswing in demand for MBAs is fueling interest in business school education and has resulted in an expansion in the world’s largest program of applicants’ fairs, the World MBA Tour. In the autumn of 2004 there are 42 fairs scheduled across Athens including one at the Hilton Hotel on Friday October 22. «The Tour is the primary recruitment tool for leading international business schools,» says Nunzio Quacquarelli, World MBA Tour director, «and the autumn events are some of the most popular. The Tour now visits over 50 cities in some 30 countries, attracting more than 50,000 visitors every year.» Now in its 11th year of operation, the World MBA Tour brings together over 250 of the top international business schools. Nineteen of the US «Top 20» as defined by Business Week magazine participate, including Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA and Wharton. All of the leading European schools also take part, for example: Greece’s ALBA, Italy’s SDA Bocconi; France’s HEC, INSEAD and EM Lyon; IESE and IE-Instituto de Empresa in Spain; Switzerland’s IMD; Rotterdam from the Netherlands, and Cambridge, Cranfield, Imperial, London, Manchester, and Warwick from the UK. The Tour enables potential candidates to meet admissions directors face-to-face and to obtain a wide range of information on program content, costs and duration, financial aid and post-qualification career options. The events also feature seminars and workshops which cover issues such as choosing between specialist postgraduate courses and an MBA, picking the right school, financing an MBA, taking the GMAT test, and preparing a winning application. Special MBA scholarships are also available exclusively through the Tour to supplement funding offered by individual schools and awards such as those available through the Fulbright Commission and other charitable bodies. The scholarships on offer include the Quacquarelli Leadership Scholarship for individuals with proven leadership potential, and five Symonds Community Scholarships for financially disadvantaged applicants. The World MBA Tour visits Athens on Wednesday October 22 at the Hilton Hotel. Candidates can pre-register to ensure fast-track and reduced-cost entrance by visiting: www.topmba.com