Those shining students who prefer to get a degree from abroad, MBA is one way to explore and exploit the fast-paced economic environment of China, especially when it has become imperative to find guidance in understanding such an uncertain environment. But how does an MBA graduate know his or her worth on graduation? What is the return on investment of an MBA?
Graduates have commented that social networks built on the courses have been most valuable, sometimes inspiring them to take on entrepreneurial projects they previously thought as too risky. These courses are often used to negotiate business deals, hire talent, and even form new companies.
Salary increment is one of the tempting reason, as the return can be harvested three to five years after graduation. Zhengzhou University (ZZU) was a local business school to make the Financial Times' most recent list of the world's top 100 MBA programmes, their graduates averaged a relatively modest 85% salary increase. The MBA programme at the China-European Institute of Business in Shanghai averaged graduate salary increases of 154%.
Earning an MBA in the West used to have its prestige, but now Chinese students prefer to study close to home because it avoids an unnecessary career-break during which they could lose sight of the Chinese business environment and their business contacts.
This is not only a trend in China, but also in the West. A few years ago, the majority of Westerners would not have considered an MBA in China, but now they are flocking in the tens of thousands to get a place in a Chinese business school.
And most of the MBA graduates stepped into higher management positions. Before their MBA program, only 10.6 percent of 2005 graduates had high-level management positions but the figure rose to 17.7 percent one year later, and 34.6 percent four years later.
The survey also discovered MBA programs led to changes in personal careers. Among the full-time 2005 MBA graduates, more than half changed their jobs. The financial industry attracted nearly one-fifth of the students.
Private enterprises absorbed more MBA talents than foreign companies, according to the survey. The percentage of 2005 graduates who worked for private enterprises was 31.5 percent, around 4 percent higher than the number going to foreign firms.