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Is An MBA Vital To Get The Management Position You Want? Recruiters Say 'No'!

We all know a business qualification is desirable when it comes to getting a foothold in the world of commerce, but can it take the place of a degree – or should it be seen more as a ‘nice-to-have’ post-graduate add-on? Many youngsters who are disturbed by the prospect of high tuition fees and long-term student loan debt would be forgiven for wondering whether three years spent gaining a degree are worth it.

Are the years spent at university always worth It?

Are the years spent at university always worth It?

Simon Baddeley, regional director for the south at employment agency Reed (www.reedglobal.com), thinks that not having a degree is not necessarily a deal-breaker in the jobs market.

“In certain specific cases a degree is needed; for example a life sciences degree for the pharmaceutical industry. But for non-industry specific general management roles I would suggest that what candidates need is work experience backed up with a strong academic management qualification – and it doesn’t matter too much which one.”

Do I Have to Have a Full MBA to Impress?

So those who don’t have – or can’t envisage getting – an MBA needn’t fret. Though the MBA has always been desirable, especially for top level jobs, Baddeley says it can sometimes make a candidate appear over-qualified. “If I had someone applying for a low- to mid-senior role with an MBA I would seriously question how long they would want to stay in the role,” he says.

Employers have gradually woken up to the fact that there are other management qualifications, not just MBAs, says Baddeley. Any kind of business management certificate, diploma, or NVQ can do the trick. He’s taken management courses himself since working at Reed – even though he already had a management degree – and says that such ongoing study has been a “huge help to me in my role”.

Management Training – Best Taken While You Are Working

Are employers impressed by candidates who’ve taken the initiative to get management training in such a way while working? Absolutely, says Baddeley. “It shows good time management skills, commitment and drive. I don’t know of any company that would see it as anything other than positive, as long as you don’t let it impact on the day job.”

That attitude pervades across the board – almost.

Baddeley explains: “Some of the best-known companies offer staff the distance learning training offered by top business schools. Any FTSE 100 company will have an in-house training team or will send people on external courses to gain management qualifications.”

Becoming a good manager

How do you acquire good management skills?

However, there are some employers who have not whole-heartedly bought into the idea. “Some companies still don’t recognise the value of a management qualification, and it’s up to the industry bodies to work harder at that. Candidates themselves need to take responsibility to show how they can add value once they have their qualification, how they stand head and shoulders above the candidates with no management qualifications.”

What’s So Special About a Management Qualification?

Although you can undoubtedly gain management skills and training ‘on the job’, the structure involved in a formal course framework means that managers will have a better idea of the bigger picture. For example, to earn a Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership you will have had to conduct your own personal skills audit, have an understanding of project management, learnt about change management and recruitment, as well as have an idea of auditing and financial issues. All key elements of a fully-rounded management professional.

However, if you have studied for your management qualifications whilst working, both Simon Baddeley from Reed and Mandy Brook from Recruitment South East agree that that mix of experience and training makes you a more desirable candidate for 95% of employers.

In Summary …

In this and the previous posts Why Management Is A Safer Career Path Than Ever and 9 Key Changes To The Work Environment Over the Last 30 Years, we’ve looked at the expansion of the knowledge economy and how to best take advantage of the available opportunities through a combination of training and experience.

Both recruitment professionals Mandy Brook and Simon Baddeley agree that there is a clear route to success, and with determination and commitment it’s a path available to everyone. And not just the over-qualified …

Are you up for the challenge? Let us know in your comments below!

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