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Questions and Answers: BBA/MBA

Question

I am a student of Grade 12 and I’m planning to pursue my studies here in Dubai after 12th. I want to do BBA then MBA.

Answer

Quite a few colleges on Dubai campus are accredited by the main campus in the home country. I suggest you confirm this from the university themselves. Heriot Watt is one such college.  The choice of studying in Dubai or studying overseas is usually to do with cost of studies and family reasons rather than the program itself. It is not uncommon for students to pursue the undergraduate program in home country and then move overseas prior the second degree. Having said that I personally suggest, if possible, students move out of their comfort zone and study abroad. Education is not limited to academics alone; the experience and exposure attained in the UK/US would be very different as compared to continued studies in the UAE. The education along with the cultural change would not only be a learning experience but would also enhance your personality.

Also when doing a course like Business Administration it is advisable that you look at a major/specialization, the specialization could be in various fields bearing in mind the dynamic nature of the world economies. Options that could be considered are Marketing / Human Resource Management / Finance / Events etc.

For an MBA most schools have work experience and GMAT as an entry requirement. Another option could be going overseas after high school and enrolling in to a University which offers an integrated MBA cum BBA program. These programs are usually one year longer than a regular undergraduate degree but you would earn an MBA and would not need any work experience either.

In the US you have some very interesting Coop programs which I recommend to a lot of students. Coop programs are classroom based education combined with practical work experience. Colleges award credits for the practical part as well. Coop programs are normally paid internships that reflect better your resume versus unpaid internships.

Question

I’m doing my MBA (HR) from Symbiosis Distance Learning, Pune. I’ve been in Dubai for 2 years but due to some reasons I had to come back. I am a housewife so no experience as such.

Sir, now I want to start my career and come back to Dubai, so kindly guide me as what courses can I do besides my MBA.

Answer

My understanding is that the program you are enrolled for is a Diploma and not a Degree, if it is a distance learning program. I would have recommended a degree rather than a diploma which would be looked upon more favorably by employers. I suggest you either top this with another regular Masters or an MBA to add weight age to your resume. Choosing a specialization would need to be explored by keeping in mind your interests and future goals. Do consult a college adviser and maybe consider doing a psychometric test to see where your inclination lies.

Question

I would like to study MBA in US or UK, Do professional qualification help in getting admissions even if it is not related to work experience but in interest into the MBA subfields? How important is GMAT and Work experience?

Answer

An MBA (Masters in Business Administration) is a graduate degree with theoretical and practical training in its course of study. In most US schools students can finish the course in two years. Sadly not everyone is aware of Fast track MBA programs in the US which take a mere ten months to complete. The biggest advantage of this is that you are away from work for a shorter period and the cost is much lower.

Many students who already have an MBA from their home country still decide to apply for a second MBA in the US. The notion is that the degree from an American college would give them a different perspective and more international experience. Many also would like to improve on their network (of contacts) and some find certain specializations they did not have access to at home. You will have to clarify why you want to do a second degree to the college admissions team.

International students continue to apply to US colleges in increasing numbers making it more competitive every year.  I cannot repeat enough times to students to start this process well in advance. Applying for a graduate degree takes time, money and energy. Check out the various exams required and test scores each school is looking at. GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is computer based testing your analytical writing; mathematics and verbal skills and you will need to see if your score is in the required range for the business school of your preference. Is GMAT essential for all schools? – no sometimes schools overlook it in lieu of work experience. Again a college counselor would be the right person to guide you here.

Another important requirement is essays which are personal statements and need to be written to give schools a feeling of who you are. This is an opportunity to persuade the admission officer why you deserve a place in the school. I would advise you to explore your own story and present a sincere picture of whom you are and what you can offer that is distinctive and interesting.  Try and not guess what the admission officer is looking for as this will only result in ignoring your personal strengths. Your personal statement must be comprehensive, lucid and should leave no doubt in the admission officer’s mind as to your goals in life. You would need to have studied the comparative strengths of faculty and your statement must clearly reflect why you have chosen the particular program in the particular University and how you feel it can help your career.

Most colleges would require work experience, usually a full time job. But no matter what the job or internship was, it’s more about what you have accomplished, how you have led and how you have grown in the job what matters. Usually business schools do not explicitly prefer one sort of job over another .Candidates that come from over-subscribed professions (financial services, consulting, IT), often need to work very hard to stand out from other similar applicants in the pool. Unorthodox jobs tend to get noticed more easily. Leadership skills, emotional intelligence and team work are some attributes most business schools are looking for in a candidate.

Recommendations play a very important role in the admission process. Ideally they should come from individuals who have supervised the candidate and can talk on the candidate’s managerial potential and contributions to the organization. It is always better to get a recommendation from your manager/supervisor who knows you intimately than a generic letter from a “senior/high ranking” person who has no idea who you are. Most schools need two recommendations. Should three letters be required then I would suggest you get one from a professor who is aware of your academic strengths and leadership skills.

Eventually as all counselors will tell you, the best schools take a holistic view – your cumulative GPA, GPA trend, reputation of the undergraduate school, GMAT, recommendations, work experience and more all contribute to a successful application.

MBA in a UK University is a little different as compared to the USA . The first and foremost difference would come in the time period of the course, which in the UK is just one year. Most colleges in the UK would require at least 2-3 years of work experience at a Managerial level and if applying to top schools a GMAT would also be needed. But as in any country you will always have exceptions and you can always find colleges that would waive off GMAT and work experience.

Incidentally one third of the CEOs of top 100 US companies hold an MBA degree and it was the single largest qualification.

All the Best!

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