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THERE are many senior executives and professionals who are turning to MBAs as a path to upgrade their skills. In the US, research has shown that some 40 per cent of CEOs of firms on the S&P 500 stock index hold an MBA. In Singapore and Hong Kong, about 70 per cent of CEOs have attained that qualification, according to a study by visual analytics firm Qlik Asia.
The benefits of an MBA are multi-fold: Networking, learning from fellow bosses and picking up new ideas and insights from cutting edge business research.
This is crucial in ensuring that CEOs stay in touch and learn from the top corporate and business minds, which could also lead to new business opportunities.
Chua Nan Sze Marie-Antonie, director of graduate studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, said bosses can get to share and exchange best practices with peers in their respective fields.
"Building social and professional bonds can help in their personal and career growth, potentially spinning off collaborations, creating new opportunities and facilitating mutual benefits," she said.
And if more money is your goal, then a study by the Financial Times (FT) earlier this year showed that the pay increase of younger graduates in the three years after graduation outperforms that of their older counterparts in both percentage terms and absolute terms.
The Financial Times 2015 Global MBA rankings are based on a survey of MBA classes of 2011 from around the world. The same pattern was found across all industry sectors and countries, regardless of whether graduates work overseas or move to a different industry.
"MBA programmes have lost some of their shine and applications are falling, but the best degrees still allow participants of different ages and backgrounds to achieve their goals. Nearly three-quarters of those aged 31 or above achieved their main ambition, which was to be promoted to senior positions," the FT report said.
It added that 95 per cent of graduates overall reported they had achieved their goals - whether it was to earn more money or become a better manager.
For those who can't afford to take a year or two off to pursue a full MBA, many top schools now offer a fast-track version designed specifically for working executives and professionals. In Singapore, there are many MBA options to choose from, with several business schools offering top notch unique executive MBAs. Here is a sample from Singapore's three main universities:
The UCLA - NUS Executive MBA programme allows senior executives from anywhere in the world to participate in a global learning experience without interrupting their careers. This is a NUS Business School collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Anderson School of Management.
Estimated cost: US$110,000 for tuition fees excluding travel & accommodation
The EMBA programme offers overseas study segments held in partner universities such as the Wharton School and University of Pennsylvania in the US, Indian School of Business in India, and Peking University in China. This allows the student to learn from more than one institution.
Estimated cost: S$109,500 (Tuition fee includes study materials, meals during residential segments and accommodation in the US, India and China).
The Nanyang EMBA programme is affiliated with some of the top business schools in the world, including Cornell University and Lorange Institute of Business. The EMBA also allows candidates to specialise in their own areas of interest. These include aviation, small and medium-sized enterprises, shipping and hospitality management.
Estimated cost: S$101,650 (Fee covers tuition, most teaching materials and meals when classes are in session).
In a previous version of the article, we had referred to Qlik Asia as a research firm. It is in actual fact a visual analytics firm.