1 Executive Summary 2013 Achange of direction? Tomorrow s Masters Prospective Masters students set out their views on what they think of specialist Masters degrees, what they expect from the business school experience and what they want to study.
2 carringtoncrisp CarringtonCrisp May 2013 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part prohibited without prior permission of the authors. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission of CarringtonCrisp, ABS and EFMD.
3 tomorrow s masters Four years ago CarringtonCrisp launched a study (Tomorrow s MBA) to look at the views of prospective MBAs following the demise of Lehman Brothers. At the time the MBA was receiving considerable negative publicity. One of the key findings in the Tomorrow s MBA study has been a large number of prospective MBA students who are also considering a specialist Masters. Around 1 in 4 respondents typically say they are looking at a specialist Masters instead of an MBA and a further 25% say it is something they might consider. GMAC data on GMAT test takers also shows in recent years that a growing number are sending test scores to schools for specialist Masters degrees, especially those in finance and accounting. Changes are being driven by growing numbers of younger applicants, declining returns on the cost of an MBA and the weak labour market in many countries. CarringtonCrisp together with EFMD and the Association of Business Schools launched the Tomorrow s Masters study in late November 2012 with data being collected through December. Data was gathered from prospective students at the schools participating in the study and through Facebook and LinkedIn. In total 1366 people responded to the survey with replies from 60 countries. Unlike the MBA marketplace where growth at present is focused on online degrees, more than three-quarters of the respondents to the Tomorrow s Masters survey want full-time study. Figure 1. Preferred mode of delivery among respondents 7% 19% 37% Block taught weekends Block weeks 6% E learning Blended learning a combination of face to face and e learning Evenings Academic terms office hours 7% 24% 3
4 carringtoncrisp Across the total sample 37% want to study in a traditional classroom setting during academic terms, rising to 42% among pre-experience candidates. Just under a quarter (24%) of all respondents prefer blended learning. More than a third (35%) of those taking part in the survey are considering an MBA as an alternative to a Masters. In Africa and India more than half of the Tomorrow s Masters respondents are considering an MBA as well as a Masters. Of course it s about career Inevitably, motivation to study is dominated by career issues, although these come in different formats. Just over 1 in 5 (21%) of those responding to the survey are intending to study a specialist Masters because of poor labour market conditions. However, more positive career reasons tend to be the main motivators for studying a specialist Masters. Provided with 11 reasons for studying, almost three-quarters (74%) said they were motivated to gain new skills to improve my employment prospects. Four further motivations were each selected by over 35% of the sample: I am particularly interested in a subject and wanted to study it further (51%) I believe it will help me earn a higher salary (40%) To enable me to take my career in another direction (38%) I want to use the degree to help me obtain a professional qualification (36%) Figure 2. Percentage of respondents considering an MBA as an alternative to a specialist business Masters 33% 35% Yes No Maybe 32% 4
5 tomorrow s masters Anywhere so long as they teach in English Study abroad opportunities, international school reputation and international content are all key elements in the decision making process. Almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents would like to study outside their home country, with the UK, USA and EU being the most popular locations. With the exception of the UK and France a majority in all other groups wanted to study abroad. Although there is strong interest in international study, 86% of respondents expect to learn in English. A dash of marketing, a sprinkle of project management, a pinch of entrepreneurship and heavy on international business Popular subjects for study in a Masters degree include the following, all of which were selected by more than 20% of respondents: Advertising and PR Management, Brand Management, Human Resources Management, Investment Management, Management Consultancy. International Management/Business, Finance, Marketing, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Project Management, and Strategy. A university business school yes, but better make sure it s applied, international and helps me get a job Prospective students still want an academic experience rather than seeking new skills from private sector providers. However, it s important that learning is applied, connecting the student with the real world, and more importantly, with their future career success. When choosing a degree more than one-third of survey respondents highlighted the importance of the following elements: That will improve my career prospects That combines academic theory with real world application That will provide me with new skills That will challenge me to think differently That has strong practical content That will improve my earning potential With work experience opportunities 5
6 carringtoncrisp Most important are a specialist Masters that provides me with new skills and that combines academic theory with real world application. Prospective candidates are not just choosing a degree, but are also selecting a provider. The particular business school will have a brand/reputation with employers and thus involves a significant decision among prospective students, especially when much of the degree content appears similar from programmes at different business schools. When choosing a provider, five elements from a list of 17 stand out as being important, having been chosen by more than a third of the respondents: That has a strong global reputation With a strong academic reputation With high quality teaching staff That has a good record of enhancing career prospects That focuses on giving students a global perspective Three aspects of the provider stand out international standing, academic quality and career impact all of which align with other elements of the study findings. Figure 3. Motivation to study a specialist business Masters among all respondents Other I believe it will help me earn a higher salary I have reached a ceiling in my career and need a Masters to get a promotion I perceive a Masters as a cheaper alternative to an MBA To move to a better job in a new company To enable me to take my career in another direction I was recommended by my employer to take a Masters degree I want touse the degree tohelp obtain a professional qualification It is the first step to an academic career I am particularly interested in a subject and want to study it further I want togain new skills toimprove my employment prospects There are very few jobs available so I want to continue studying.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0% 80.0% 6
7 tomorrow s masters Figure 4. Preferred language of tuition among total sample 3% 11% The language of the country that I study in English Other 86% Professional accreditation and rankings Accreditation is a more complex issue for specialist Masters than it might be for undergraduates or MBAs. As well as the EFMD and AACSB accreditations, many are also seeking a professional body accreditation, specific to a particular career. Rankings remain popular when deciding which schools to consider, but are often more of a hygiene factor than a key decision making tool. Among the survey respondents 75% say rankings are important or very important when choosing where to study, while 62% have the same view of accreditations. Just over a third (35%) of respondents say the most important accreditation is from a professional body, of these ACCA, CIMA and CIPD are most important. Professional body accreditations are most important in the UK, Africa and South and South East Asia. Among the rankings that students consider the Financial Times is used most widely by just over half of all survey respondents. However, rather than another specialist business school or business degree rankings, the second choice among prospective specialist Masters is the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. With a limited number of schools ranked by the Financial Times many schools will only be ranked as part of their university. 7
8 carringtoncrisp Value for money based on outcomes and scholarships influence decisions Prospective students generally don t want cheap, but they do want value for money when deciding where to study. One of the drivers of the growing demand for specialist Masters is the perception that with rising fees and fewer job opportunities the value for money proposition of the MBA is not as strong as it used to be. The calculation of value for money often involves a determination of likely career outcomes. Availability of scholarships are also considered important by many students when making study decisions. When choosing a degree 72% of the total sample agree or strongly agree that they will choose a programme that they believe offers good value for money. Six out of ten respondents agree or strongly agree that they will choose a programme because I expect to get a highly paid job on graduation. A majority of respondents also agreed or strongly agreed that they would choose a particular programme if scholarships were available or if there were flexible payment arrangements. Only 31% would choose a programme because it was at the least expensive of their preferred business schools. Figure 5. Important factors when considering which degree to study that has programme content informed by close links with business and industry that has students with a wide mix of experience with work experience opportunities with international study options with flexible study options (e.g part time, evening, distance learning) that offers good value for money that will provide me with new skills that will improve my earning potential that will improve my career prospects in the study country that will improve my career prospects in my home country that will challenge me to think differently that combines academic theory with real world application that has content I can tailor to my needs that has strong practical content.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 8
9 tomorrow s masters Figure 6. Important factors when considering where to study that is the same place that I have studied for my undergraduate degree that is located in or near a major city that has excellent on campus facilities that offers many scholarships/bursaries that has one or more of the following accreditations AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS with high standards of customer service with high quality teaching staff that has a good record of enhancing career prospects with a strong alumni network that has a high league table ranking that is located close to where I live and/or work that has been recommended to me that has a diverse mix of international staff and students that focuses on giving students a global perspective that has a strong global reputation that has a strong national reputation with a strong academic reputation.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% Be professional with career services Given the focus on career of many prospective students it is not surprising that there is a demand for dedicated career services for specialist Masters students, especially among post-experience candidates who are seeking a personalised outcome. It goes without saying that a school should publicise its successes in the career field prominent alumni who have senior roles, but also those who have just left provide potential inspiration for students. Data on students in jobs within three or six months of graduation offers evidence of a school s success. However, more important are the facilities and services provided to students during their time studying. When asked about the career support they expect from their business school, prospective students highlight: provision of a dedicated careers service for Masters students placement/intern opportunities during studies Just over half (56%) say that provision of a dedicated careers service for Masters students is the most important service they seek from a business school in the careers field. 9
10 carringtoncrisp The rise of social media Traditional media still has a role to play in the marketing process as does human contact, whether it is friends, family, alumni, current students, faculty or professional staff. However, digital media, especially social networks, are growing rapidly in importance. Across the sample the most important print publications are The Economist and the Financial Times, used by 35% and 47% respectively. Web usage is dominated by Google, selected by 60% of respondents, followed by the university/business school website (33%) and Facebook (32%). In addition, 41% said they attended a business school open evening/day and 40% took advice from a relative. A structured and strategic approach to social media is becoming a prerequisite for a business school that wants to maximise interaction with today s digital generation. Often this means appointing someone who can coordinate activity and ensure that the experience is truly interactive. It also means understanding that Facebook and LinkedIn may not be the solution everywhere. There are many social media platforms that are specific to certain countries or languages, or have a particular following in specific countries RenRen, Tuenti, Hyves and Orkut being just a few examples. However, print media still has a place in particular countries and for specific purposes. The International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek are particularly important for students from South and South East Asia. Figure 7. Preferred professional accreditations Other TMI (Tourism Management Institute) CBI (Chartered Banker Institute) ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) CIMA (Chartered Institute of ManagementAccountants) CIPFA (the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) BIFM (Facilities Management).0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 35.0% 40.0% 10
11 tomorrow s masters Copies of the full report are available to purchase for VAT. If you would like a copy of the full report, please us at Additional copies of the Executive Summary can be downloaded free of charge from our website at Tomorrow s Masters will take place again in February To take part, please contact CarringtonCrisp at or by telephone at +44 (0)
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