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MBA: Delivering What Matters Most

 





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When it comes to meeting studentsÂ’ expectations, Henley Business School tops the charts. A recent report produced by Finweek in association with MBAconnect.net reveals that by far the main reason people study an MBA is to attain business knowledge (selected by 72% of respondents). Acquiring confidence in a business setting was considered the second most important factor. Henley was the only school to achieve the top ranking for meeting expectations in both these areas.


Dean and director of Henley Business School, Jon Foster-Pedley, attributes these positive results to the school’s philosophy of prioritising the development of managers and leaders for the future. “Doing things well is important, but doing the right things well is critical,” he says.

The Finweek report, which is based on a comprehensive survey of 1 575 individuals who have either completed, or are currently studying towards an MBA degree at an accredited South African business school aims to answer the question: should I do an MBA, or not‘ In so doing, it takes a critical look at the impact, both positive and negative, of an MBA on their personal and professional lives.

Despite being smaller than most other business schools, Henley achieved number one rankings in a total of four of the nine criteria set out in the report, and was in the top three in three other criteria. And although all schools were effective in positively impacting job effectiveness, HenleyÂ’s rating of 9.4 out of 10 placed it firmly at the top of the heap.

Henley In a League of Its Own


Henley obtained the highest score for meeting students’ expectations of financial rewards as well as international mobility. The report quoted a 2011 Henley graduate as saying: “"[I liked] the ability to learn and work at the same time, as all assignments were focused on a problem at work. So I got a return on investment from day one of starting my MBA."

Foster-Pedley says the school’s high ranking for international mobility is hardly surprising considering that it is the only CHE-accredited international business school in South Africa. “Having triple international accreditation from AMBA, EQUIS and AACSBgives us a qualification that’s both credible and rigorous.”

The Henley MBA, A Decision YouÂ’ll Never Regret


The report points out that, while the overall impact on studentsÂ’ and graduatesÂ’ lives is overwhelmingly positive (only 1% of respondents regretted the decision to study an MBA), students have to make significant sacrifices for the duration of the programme. Nonetheless, while Henley scored high on the upside, it also succeeded in scoring low on the downside.

“What this means is that you get the wins but at relatively low cost,” says Foster-Pedley. “Henley has a high positive impact on your career, but is one of the least likely to cause problems.”

According to the Finweek report,the careers of Henley MBA studentswere least affected; they also reported the lowest financial impact from a lifestyle point of view.

While the majority of students surveyed reported a negative impact on their stress levels, Henley came in with the second lowest score, just one percent higher than UCT. Foster-Pedley, believes that allowing students more time to complete their MBA degree can alleviate stress considerably. HenleyÂ’s part-time MBA takes a minimum of three years to complete.

“That’s not to say that longer programmes are any less rigorous; they just give students more time to immerse themselves fully, reflect on what they’ve learned and bounce ideas off one another.

“Our students don’t do an MBA; they manage an MBA, which is why our programme focuses so much on management skills, project management skills and working in groups. Because we help people to manage their MBA, they remain interested and focused. And because it’s flexible, it allows people to adjust their lives to reduce stress, so that when a new child comes along, they’re not desperately conflicted between an artificial deadline and feeding the baby. They can actually stretch that deadline, feed the baby and return to their studies.”

Not surprisingly, the Finweek report reveals that 92% of those experiencing high stress levels also reported that it affected their health, diet and exercise negatively. Once again, Henley scored low all three areas.

MBAs are often disparagingly referred to as ‘Marriage Break-up Academies’, and yet only 1% of Henley respondents reported that the programme had had an extremely negative impact on their marriages or romantic relationships, standing in stark contrast to the average of 7% across all participating schools. It was also one of the schools to score lowest in terms of negative impact on sex life. “The Henley programme has a strong focus on the family,” says Foster-Pedley. “Several of our students are married couples and we have even gone so far as to post photos of MBA babies on a board in our office.

“The Henley MBA is packaged to prepare students to be effective, intelligent managers and leaders who can build businesses, while still balancing their studies with the demands – and joys – of day-to-day life.”


 
 
 
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