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Journey to my MBA

Sunday, August 06, 2006

MBA Job Market Remains Strong

By Lauren Lavelle and Janie Ho
Plus, Case Western's dean steps down, new programs at Kellogg and Empresa, and paying down sleep debt
The MBA job market is stronger than ever, equaling or topping the peak years of 1999 and 2000, according to a new report.

WetFeet Research & Consulting, in its eighth annual State of Student Recruiting survey, said students are receiving more offers, with more than two-thirds of MBAs reporting that they received multiple offers this past year, and 83% of MBAs reporting that they had accepted an offer by the time of the survey in April and May. In 2005, 80% of students reported accepting offers by that time.

"This means that employers can't just show up on campus and expect to make some good hires," says WetFeet President Steve Pollock. "They really have to bring a strong, dedicated recruiting effort to attract top students."

After surveying 3,055 undergrads and MBAs at top-tier programs around the U.S., the firm ranked the most preferred employers. The top five were McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs (GS ), Bain & Co., Google (GOOG ), and The Boston Consulting Group.

It appears that MBAs had higher expectations than the offers they received this year. On average, MBA students reported that they expected to receive a base salary of $98,650. From data collected, the average offer received was $95,781. "I do fear that the strong market will start to fuel a sense of entitlement among candidates," says Pollock.

Case Western Dean Resigns
Myron J. Roomkin, dean at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, has stepped down after less than two years on the job. He will resume teaching and research in the department of management and policy studies at the school.

Roomkin is the sixth person in the past eight years to have held the position of dean, interim dean, or acting dean at the school. Scott Cowen held the dean position for 14 years before leaving to become the president of Tulane University in 1998.

"I was attracted to Weatherhead and Case Western Reserve University for its great potential, its faculty and programs. I am confident that my successor will be able to continue to move the school forward," Roomkin said in a press release.

Over the next few weeks, Case Western Provost and University Vice-President John L. Anderson will work with a committee of Weatherhead faculty members to appoint an interim dean and to conduct a national search for a new leader for the school.

"Dean Roomkin managed the school through a challenging financial period, and we are grateful for his leadership," Anderson said.

Before joining Case, Roomkin served as dean of the Kogod School of Business at American University. Prior to his tenure at American University, he rose through the ranks of the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University from 1976-1998, where he built an international reputation as a leader in business-management school education.

Kellogg Launches Exec Refresher Course
Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management is offering a new three-week executive program for experienced managers with MBA degrees. The Kellogg Renaissance Program is designed exclusively for midcareer managers who earned MBA degrees before 1995.

Professor Stephen Burnett, associate dean of executive education, says that the program will focus on material MBA students did not see in 1995 classrooms. He said staffers are looking at notes and course outlines to identify concepts, tools, and best practices that today are considered essential, but were not a part of the classroom a decade ago.

"MBAs tend to believe that they've already been exposed to everything there is to know about business," says Burnett. "This is simply not the case."

In addition, Burnett says the implications of leadership research and thinking for a 40-year-old manager with 10-plus years of experience are very different than for 28-year-olds just starting their careers.

As of late July, the program has 10 admitted students, but with a mid-September start date, the bulk of the applications will be received in August, school officials said. Two sessions, one beginning in September and one in April, 2007, are set. The cost is $23,000.

Empresa Offers "Global" Program
The Instituto de Empresa Business School in Spain has recently instituted what it says is the world's first global online MBA.

Fifty-five students from 24 countries, some as far away as Colombia and the Virgin Islands, participate in the Global Communities MBA program. The key difference between the Global Communities MBA and other online MBAs is the level of interaction between students and teachers, says Empresa's Jean-Marie Winikates. "In classes, all participants are connected by Webcam and microphone," he says. "This flexibility goes a long way towards recreating a 'normal' classroom experience."

To draw these participants together, professors hold workshops and seminars in 15 cities around the world where students have a chance to meet face-to-face. Most of the instruction is filtered through online sessions during which students use weekly videoconferences to solve problems, ask questions, and review notes.

The school says the program, which costs about €34,000 ($43,400), is aimed at candidates who don't want to interrupt their careers to take time off to study at a campus. It can be completed in 12 or 18 months.

Although the program shares many of the same features as other distance learning programs, school officials tout the use of virtual communities of alumni, professors, and executives that focus on specific industries, job functions, and geographic locations. Students can choose which communities to join and continue using the online community after graduation.

Sleepless in Palo Alto
Stanford's business school hopes its newly revised curriculum is enough to keep students awake and alert. But should that fail, Ajay Kapur, writing in the B-school's newspaper, the The Stanford Business Reporter, has his own suggestion for what should be taught: sleep. The idea stemmed from his "Sleep and Dreams" class, a popular course offered to Stanford students about sleep debt.

William Dement, the noted sleep researcher who teaches the class, told BusinessWeek that sleep debt is comparable to financial debt: "If someone has money problems, they can't get ahead, buy a house, or do other things they would normally like to." Similarly, with sleep debt, once students start skimping on sleep, they acquire hours of debt and very rarely are students at their peak.

"Students, like most Americans, carry 50 hours or more of sleep debt, decreasing their performance and productivity, and impairing reaction times," says Dement.

Employers may have an army of employees who are impaired and don't even know it. According to Dement, the average person suffers from sleep debt. However, as in countries where everyone has a certain disease, sufferers become less aware of it because they are surrounded by others with the same ailment.

According to Dement, students dance around their drowsiness until they make sleep a higher priority. Dement says his class helps change this. "It teaches them a better way to live," says Dement. Using sleep journals and risk monitors, students can measure their progress. And based on the popularity of the class, it's safe to say students don't find it a snooze.


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