Aussie MBA Queries
I received a set of questions in my e-mail box today from one of the readers of this blog. I should say that they are questions which should trouble all international aspirants to a MBA in Australia. I am posting the questions and my replies to that here.
1) MBS and AGSM seem to be the better known schools in Australia... what was your rationale behind choosing UniSA and QUT over these and also of finally choosing UniSA over QUT? You had mentioned somewhere about the cost factor. That is very important to me too, but what about the ROI?
Two reasons. One, I preferred a two year MBA and two, at a reasonable cost. AGSM and MBS did not fit in this category. Monash too is very good again costly.
Now, if you leave these Universities the next tier which consists of 7-8 universities like Queensland University of technology or QUT, RMIT, UNSW, University of South Australia or UniSA, University of Queensland and some others are almost equal. This I believe is for a couple of reasons.
All these universities are very young. May be 12 yrs at the most. Except AGSM and MBS. Next, the australia government maintains high standards for their education and all the universities need to follow them.
UniSA provides me a 2 yr MBA at AUD 27,000 in a city like Adeliade where the cost of living is the lowest of all the cities in Australia. QUT has a 2 yr program but is costly. I did try for the scholarship but lost it by 2 points. If I did get the scholarship I would have opted for QUT. The sweetner there was that cousin and her family are Australia citizens and are located in Brisbane.
Coming to ROI, one of the reasons for selecting Australia was that the VISA process is easy. I mean the student visa. Also, since I am married, Australia is flexible in providing visa for spouses, unlike the US. They understand that married people cannot be separated for many years. To add to this, a student can work part-time while studying and a spouse of a masters student can work full-time. My estimates are that this combination should help me in cutting down a major portion of my overall costs.
This means that since my costs are low, my ROI can be easily high with a modest salary.
To reiterate, I believe in the following :
The MBA is not an end, it is a small part of a bigger journey which you have started and it is a tool which will help you "live that journey better".
Hence, I am not worried about my immediate salaries. If I can pay my loans and live decently I will be happy. Again, this is my personal opinion. Yours could be different.
2) I've heard that unlike the schools in India, b-schools in Australia don't provide campus recruitment facilities, but do you have any statistics on placements (like avg. salary, no. of job offers, companies, etc.)? How is the job market out there for lateral placements after mba?
AGSM, MBS provides campus placements. The rest of the colleges are starting now or not doing it. I think the reason for this is that Australian MBAs are structured for part-timers. If you check out the profiles in QUT and UniSA, you can see that 70% of students are in the part-time MBA and not in the fulltime. In fact my guess is that
fulltime MBA are mostly international students. Hence, the universities are not geared for placements.
For example, UniSA has all its classes scheduled (PDF) between 6-9 in the evening on all the weekdays for the entire two years. This just goes to show the importance of the part-time MBA. QUT has a similar structure matching the rest of the Australia Universities.
On the question of statistics. Again these are tough to find for the reason stated above. But, AGSM and MBS again provide good placement services. The average salaries are around AUD 90,000 p.a. which is a lot. But the reason is because of part-time MBA and the best people in Australia go there.
My guess is that the colleges like UniSA and QUT can provide jobs between AUD 45,000 to AUD 60,000.
In terms of the job market, it is tough. The market is not very open for Asians in management roles. Of course if you are good nobody can stop you. The other important point is that the job visas are tough to come by.
This leads to the next question.
3) What is the value of an australian mba outside Australia?
The MBA programs of Australia are not very well known outside Australia. AGSM and MBS again stand out. However, the universities have been aggressive in the asian markets in the last 5 yrs hence, in the next 2-3 yrs things will change which will most likely coincide with the class of 2007 passing out. (people like me!)
For example, University of South Australia or UniSA provides its MBA program in various countries.
From the UniSA website :
Various options for study (listed in the menu left under Programs)are offered in Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia,Thailand and Switzerland, making the IGSB one of Australia's largest and innovative business schools.They even have a MBA in Chinese! All these students passing out from various countries would make the MBA popular.
In terms of its value in India, again the second-tier schools are doubtful. Frankly, I am not worried about this. Even after a 2 yr MBA if I have to worry about a job, then I better not spend the money on a MBA.
4) In both UniSA as well as QUT, admissions are purely on the basis of application. Interview is not a part of the admission process. Whereas in most good b-schools the final admission offer is given only after a personal/telephonic interview with the candidate. Is it possible to evaluate a candidate's potential to undergo business studies without any verbal interaction? (I have my reservations on this). Moreover in QUT, they don't even ask for any statements of personal objectives/essays and references. Doesn't such a scaled down admission process somehow dilute the quality and raise a question mark about the worth of the institute?
I think it is a learning curve. One of the problems is that we try to guage the Australia MBA market with the US. The market is very different here. The MBAs are more local in the sense that apart from the students to the top MBAs everybody else studies in the universities in their city. This is for a couple of reasons. a) Part-time MBAs b) the general quality of the second-tier MBAs are pretty much the same.
If this is the case, then most of the students visit the universities and then join the program.
In my case I met both UniSA and QUT professors in India and that was one of the reasons for getting the offers easily. It does matter and the universities know it.
My explanation for not following it for the international students is that - they are learning. Slowly, in the past few years the MBAs in Australia are getting competitive. They will soon adopt best practices from the rest of the world.
The average experience of the students is 5+yrs hence we should not worry about quality. Also, a good friend of mine provide me a good insight into the part-time logic. The large number of part-time MBAs means a vibrant job market. People do not want to leave their jobs and study.
This is a good sign. More people would go for fulltime MBAs if the job market is bad. Hence, we should not worry about the quality of the students.
5) Finally, do you know or have interacted with anyone from any of these schools to get a first hand info?
Yes, I have met the professors at both the universities. I can say that it was a good meeting. It is very tough to say much in such short meetings. I did interact with many students from various universities and all of them are happy with the education standards.
If the readers can provide any feedback I would love to hear it and if there is more information needed, I would be happy to share (considering I know that). Please leave a comment below.