Written by Jana Ryšlinková
Dean, US Business School Praha
MBA, the academic title of “Master of Business Administration,” is awarded to those who receive a post-graduate education specifically targeted at building those skills unique to management in business. The MBA degree is probably the world‘s best-known and most widely recognized post-graduate degree.
The MBA holds strong appeal for both recent college graduates and experienced professionals as a stepping-stone to more lucrative and challenging positions. One of the biggest advantages of doing an MBA is that after obtaining the degree one can work anywhere in the world, and bring with him or her proof of an excellent education.
MBA programs in Europe versus the United States
Although the core content of all MBA degrees is comparable, there are significant differences between the duration and emphasis of the programs in the U.S. and in Europe. Whereas the U.S. MBA program typically lasts two years, the average European program lasts 10 to 16 months. Shorter courses were specifically designed for today´s executives, who are unable to take two years away from their jobs.
American degrees are usually heavier on theory and academics, while European MBAs are oriented more towards practical experience, are more hands-on, and provide unique international experience. Although two-year programs are still the norm in most business schools, accelerated and specialized one-year programs are seeing slight increases in enrollment. The duration of the program itself does not seem to be a deciding factor in employment, as statistics show that corporations seem to be neutral about recruiting graduates from one-year programs versus two-year programs.
MBA in the Czech Republic
The Czech MBA market still lags behind that in the U.S., but it is evolving very quickly. This is illustrated by the significant increase in the number of people receiving an MBA, from about 50 graduates annually in the early 1990s to about 300 graduates annually at the end of the decade. Despite this growth, the percentage of MBA graduates to all graduates in the Czech Republic is still relatively low (1%) compared to the U.S. market (20%).
Elements of an MBA program
The multitude of MBA programs, their costs, and the demands of a global economy have made the process of selecting the right business school and the right MBA program quite rigorous for both students and employers.
When choosing an MBA program, prospective students typically consider the school´s accreditation, reputation, admission criteria, financing conditions, program duration, and location. The quality of the MBA program is best evaluated by the school´s accreditation from respected associations. Accreditation, which is the process of voluntary, non-governmental review of an educational institution and its programs, can give prospective students and potential recruiters a good point of reference regarding the range of business schools and their programs. The oldest and most respected institution that provides such accreditation is the “Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business” (AACSB).
Here in the Czech Republic, it is also possible to get an AACSB-accredited MBA title. Surprisingly, there are around 16 institutions in the Czech Republic currently providing an MBA education, but only two of them provide AACSB-accredited programs, and the only full-time AACSB-accredited MBA program currently available in the Czech Republic is provided by US Business School Praha in cooperation with the College of Business, Rochester Institute of Technology.
The times when it was enough to say to employers “I’ve got an MBA” have definitely passed. Today’s recruiters want to know exactly where the MBA comes from. The reputation of the school can determine the return on their MBA investment.
Getting an MBA education not only offers access to a wide array of management knowledge but also to a large network of current and future business leaders. For this reason, location becomes one of the key deciding factors when choosing an MBA program because it is assumed that the program lays the foundation for a bright and successful future in that region. In addition, most people feel that it was at business school where they lived life most intensively, met the most interesting people they have ever known, and formed their closest friendships.
By studying an AACSB-accredited MBA program, such as one provided by USBSP in the Czech Republic, you can obtain a degree from a respected U.S. University and combine European practical experience, a convenient one-year program, and a local network of future business leaders.
For a large number of ambitious people in their 20s and 30s, it is no longer a question of whether to get an MBA, but of which program will be the best for them and how they can manage to get in.