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"Right time for an MBA"

The global economy is in turmoil but Nigel Banister, Chief Global Officer of Manchester Business School (MBS), explains why it is very timely to embark on an MBA now.

"The MBA industry is no stranger to recession and turbulence. Previous economic downturns have traditionally heralded a surge in applications, as people see a natural opportunity for a career break or improve their skills. The burst of the bubble for instance brought many executives to business school campuses. Many commentators are now comparing the current crisis to that one.

It is certainly unclear what the future holds. But one thing can be certain, although some traditional banking and financial jobs are going to go, there will always be a need in the economy for skilled and experienced managers able to work in an international enviroment. Indeed, many investment bankers are turning to an MBA as a means of changing the direction of their career.

The current crisis is not going to reverse the trend for globalisation. We live in a global age and it's imperative that executives are able to operate in an international context, evolving in and leading multicultural teams, suppliers, contractors and clients. In a global economy, corporations have a seemingly insatiable need for good managers. The current recession is not going to reverse this trend, a trend that will only gather pace in the years to come.

It is particularly crucial now, in times of turmoil, for executives to build and acquire the necessary skills to push their career ahead. As the going gets tough, employers are increasingly becoming more discerning and are looking closely at the additional value MBA graduates can bring to a role. So it is vital that executives planning to embark on an MBA select a programme that will enhance their set of skills and take them in the direction that they want.

Diverse international mix

The most effective MBA programmes have a diverse international mix and attract professionals with strong work experience, from a variety of sectors. They give students the opportunity to widen their knowledge pool by tapping into the diverse expertise of their colleagues and establishing an extensive global network of contacts that will be invaluable when sharing best practice and recruitment opportunities, in their future career.

Many MBA graduates use their qualification as a springboard into new sectors - this is an important aspect especially as the world economy is changing. Doing an MBA will give many executives the opportunity to really build and refine their skills, to realign their career and also maybe be more creative about their career choice, perhaps choosing a position more in line with their skills and interests or starting their own business.

Wherever one chooses to study and whatever type of programme one opts for, it is worth remembering that MBAs aren't a career panacea. However in the current acutely competitive market place, an MBA from a well-respected business school sets an executive apart by giving him or her the business agility to succeed.

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