Expert Chat with RSM Erasmus University

RSM MBA program

A stalwart in academics from Erasmus University answers some questions about the MBA course and the options that come with it.

Our series of online chats featuring experts from the world's top business schools continues this month with Kirt Wood from RSM Erasmus University in the Netherlands. An expert on the MBA admissions process, Kirt answered questions on a range of topics from how to get into a top business school, the advantages or disadvantages of distance learning and the benefits of studying an MBA or EMBA abroad.

Kirt Wood joined the RSM Erasmus University as the Director of Marketing & Admissions, MBA Programs in 2006. He has spent 17 years working with institutions of higher learning in the US, Asia, and France in a variety of capacities: as student services coordinator, teacher, director of studies, development manager, and director. His years at UC Berkeley set the stage for a lifetime dedicated to quality education, diversity in a learning environment and personalized counselling.

Kirt holds a Masters degree in Consulting in Education from Paris V, Rene Descartes - La Sorbonne, an RSA Cambridge teaching credential and completed his bachelor degree at U.C. Davis in International Relations. Kirt, his French wife and three year old daughter truly enjoy living in the Netherlands and spend as much time as possible on bicycles! 

Q: Is it possible to do MBA without work experience?

A: The MBA degree is quite unique as far as business degrees go. An MBA is a post-experience degree in general management designed to help those, post-bachelors who have had some, and often significant, work experience to gain knowledge and skills and reinsert themselves into the working world with a greater level of responsibility. Without work experience, the MBA will have a lesser impact on your professional progression and additionally, you will have little experience to bring to the others within your MBA class. Hurrying through and doing your MBA may not be the best way for you to achieve your "long-term" professional objectives. Work experience, in short, is essential if you wish to undertake a leading world MBA program.

Q:  What are the requirements if I want to get a scholarship?

A: I recommend you visit our scholarships website. Here you will find all of the requirements for our various scholarships articulated. Also the QS Scorecard website contains access to several international scholarships.

Q: I am from India. I have four years of work experience and am interested in pursuing an MBA. Can you please advise if it will be more beneficial to go for a two year full time course or a one year Executive MBA, considering my kind of profile?

A: An executive is defined more by the quality of their work experience than the length. Four years of work experience will likely put you into a full-time MBA category. However, this can only be accurately understood by submitting your CV and permitting my admissions team to evaluate your professional situation. Additionally, they often have significant managerial experience. Our EMBA's have an average of nine years of professional experience.

Q:  I want to know which is the best for international students: full-time or Executive MBAs?

A: I don't think these two things are mutually exclusive. International students do both Executive and full-time MBA programs. If you seek career progression that is international in scope, I recommend seeking an internationally focused MBA program. RSM certainly is. The full-time international MBA program is ideal for those who wish to take a break in their early professional career, focus on leadership and key business skills and knowledge, re-insert into the professional arena at a higher level of responsibility and often, undergo a change in sector and function. Our Executive MBAs are required to be employed during their MBA programs. They are usually not attempting to make a career move outside of their current company. The focus on this program is for leadership and core business skills to enhance their job prospects internally.

Q:  I have been looking at Executive MBA and self study MBAs. They both seem very similar to me, is this correct?

A:  Yes, all this can be a bit confusing. Executive refers to a particular level of managerial/professional experience, which composes the group of MBA participants. Self-study differs from place to place, but in short, sounds modular and allows you great flexibility in your study pace. Some of them may even be online. Some Executive programs may be offered in this format. Ours is a part-time program offered on Friday/Saturdays every two weeks.

Q:  As a woman seeking an MBA, would you say that I would be better off seeking an EMBA so that I will have more flexibility to work around both my job and my family or should I simply dedicate myself to learning for a year or two so that I have less to juggle? What has typically been the best scenario for your female students?

A:  Clearly women face many issues when choosing careers, children and doing an MBA. This happens however for both those at executive level and those undertaking a full-time MBA. I think the key thing here is to find a program, at your level, which is willing to provide you with either a flexible schedule or, at least, a schedule which permits you to manage everything. Naturally, having a supporting partner willing to pitch in while you are doing your MBA is ideal! I do have quite a few working mothers who undertake our Executive MBA program. However, they have to work as hard as the other EMBA participants. We can boast many success stories here. If you can afford the opportunity cost, full-time programs often give you a bit more personal time to deal with external issues.

Q:  I will have 10-11 years of experience in sales and marketing before I undertake an MBA in Canada or the USA and will be around 35 years old. What would you suggest for me, regular MBA or Executive MBA?

A:  I think that an Executive MBA would be essential in helping you to increase both your confidence to network and your personal network. Our Executive MBA Program also looks at new online ways to increase your networks. At any level of an MBA, networking is key to growth and progress. In an Executive MBA, it is absolutely the case. I say an EMBA is probably the right way to go for you.

Q:  I am an IT professional in SAP HR. I would like to pursue an MBA in Finance/HR but am unable to make up my mind on the choice. I will have two years of work experience in August 2009. Could you please advise on the prospects of both fields or a book to read. I don't want to be fleeced by education counsellors.

A: Better than a book, why not take the time to speak with MBA programs and find out more about their offers. Many of us will put you in contact with current participants and alumni who will, I assure you, give you both the costs and the benefits of the MBA program. Go directly to the institutions and don't rely on second-hand information. I worry that you feel you will be "fleeced" by education counsellors. Ugh. I suppose this is possible. However, please know that no one gets into a top MBA by accident. It is the result of much interaction and mutual understanding. We often work for more than two years with candidates while they search for the right MBA for themselves. Best to go with an MBA which is willing to listen to you and that helps counsel and guide you in your decision. Of course, you will have to be very critical. You are still quite young and have lots of time to consider your choices. If I can help in this process, please let me know. Can you list a few priorities and begin to filter out programs (strength in Finance; geographical location; proximity to your future job location; International focus ) I'm sure you'll see a lot of schools drop by the way side as soon as you consider your MBA priorities.

Q:  Is the full-time MBA  the best option for people who are below 30 years old and who desire to study an MBA?

A: In general, yes. This would be a good age to undertake a full-time MBA program. At 30 you are positioned to get the most out of this experience personally and professionally.

Q: All the universities which offer distant learning MBA programs insist that they are recognized and valued by employers just as much as on site learning. Is this true?

A: Naturally, institutions will say this. How true is it? I think this can only really be answered by the corporate sector. Different companies and organizations value the MBA degree differently. I recommend looking at the output end of the MBA experience...speak with colleagues, HR directors and alumni who can give you a clearer idea of how the various MBA degrees are valued. We do not offer distance learning at RSM.

Q: I have already completed an MBA from India with Marketing as a specialization. However I would like to pursue a career in Investment Banking and would like to do a specialized MBA in Investment Banking. I have seven  years of work exerience. Which institutes offer such a specialized program?

A: A great place to start would be QS Search and Scorecard. This wonderful online tool will permit you to search quite effectively and efficiently to narrow down the many institutions that are specialized in Finance. I have no doubt you will find RSM on that list.

Written by QS Blogger
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