In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) working world, there is an ongoing debate between skills versus paper qualifications. Despite working in the age of disruption, many people see the importance of having a degree as enrolment in tertiary institutions show no signs of slowing down.
As such, a separate conversation exists for those who have already attained their degrees and are looking to further their careers in management, for instance, Mr Rémy Chiapolini, treasury manager at Paypal.
He says: “I reached a point in my career where I was just another good employee. It was hard to differentiate myself from my peers who were as talented and motivated as I was. This was when I started looking at Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes to upgrade my skills and use it as a stepping stone to venture into new industries.” Mr Chiapolini then signed up for the Executive MBA (EMBA) programme at Rutgers Business School Asia Pacific (RBSAP) and graduated in 2015.
In terms of both cost and value, is it worth pursuing an MBA?
Some people use postgraduate business education to complement technical qualifications, and to better equip themselves with the business acumen required to propel growth and manage teams more effectively.
Having graduated with a bachelor's degree in engineering, Mr Reuben Ong ascribed his postgraduate education to his successful career today.
Within a month of graduating from RBSAP in May 2016, he joined Takeda Pharmaceuticals Asia Pacific as a business unit manager and was recently promoted to head of commercial operations.
Says Mr Ong, “The MBA has shaped my capability to manage and lead my team better, which in turn, has to lead to growth in my career.”
For others, the skills acquired through an EMBA programme have made them more confident in the day to day execution of their work.
“Successfully going through the programme that others are afraid to tackle, and knowing that I can step up to the challenge is a great reward. I can now skim through a Harvard Business Review case study or a corporate annual report with ease because I have read plenty in the past year,” says Mr Jared Dandridge, project management office director at Dentsu Aegis Network.
These days, MBA programmes have evolved far beyond equipping graduates with technical know-how, and have steadily shifted its focus towards qualities that employers are looking for.
At RBSAP, the curriculum includes modules on global leadership and organisational behaviour. These are structured to offer a deeper understanding of what it means to be a global leader across cultures, managing talents and spearheading change.
Dr Tufail Syed, chief executive officer of Q-Pharm Pte Ltd, Australia says: “RBSAP’s EMBA programme put significant focus on leadership development. Leadership attributes are critical for transforming able managers to business leaders.
“Core fundamentals of leadership alongside interesting and meaningful workshops related to leadership were of tremendous help to me personally.”
Ms Judith Hodara, co-founder of Fortuna Admissions which advises business school applicants, said that the past three years were seen as a “golden age” for MBA jobs. After three years back in the workplace, salaries commanded by MBA graduates have increased by the largest amount in a decade.
The Financial Times found that MBA graduates’ salaries averaged SGD$190,000 in 2017, up 12 per cent from 2014, and early data analysis for 2018 indicate that salaries continue to increase.
If the latest trend continues, the overall average salary should be approximately $200,000 in 2018.
For those planning on pursuing an MBA, RBSAP’s EMBA programme eases students into the course with a nine-day intensive week — this is specially designed for those who have not been students for many years.
“Going back to school when you are above 30 might sound hard. It is a bit of a shock at the beginning but the value you get from the MBA is really worth the effort,” says Mr Chiapolini.
For more information on RBSAP’s EMBA programme, click here.