Read this blog and comments on moneyville
A recent survey of HR professionals by the Canadian HR Reporter may make the 45 per cent of study participants who are considering undertaking an MBA think again.
Tuition alone for a two year MBA at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management is $84,160 and once living costs and other incidentals are factored in, the total cost is close to $140,000.
But only 18 per cent of the survey participants said that an MBA is critical for fast-tracking to a senior HR role; another 52 per cent said that an MBA is helpful but not critical, and a further 26 per cent said that an MBA is not required at all.
Related: Do entrepreneurs need an MBA?
Calgary-based Total Rewards Professionals consultant Marc Lattoni has no doubt that an MBA was essential in his previous stints as a partner in several international consulting firms. He says, “Very few people at the partner level in major U.S.-based consulting firms don’t have a graduate degree and many have Ph.Ds.”
Lattoni also prefers to hire MBA graduates. “I am often surprised by the lack of numeracy of senior HR people. In addition, I find that MBA graduates have a better sense of overall business strategy and views.”
However, HR Director Colleen McKinnell believes an MBA is a “nice to have” but not a “must have” to get ahead. Eight years after McKinnell began her career in HR at Domtar Packaging, she was selected to participate in an executive MBA designed for the company by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.
She says the MBA enhanced her opportunities at Domtar, but it was not a deciding factor when she subsequently applied for senior jobs with other companies including Rescan Engineers and Scientists in Vancouver where she is now employed.
An MBA is also not a deal breaker when she recruits HR professionals for her current employer. “If a candidate has an MBA I know he has the theory, but this does not necessarily signify he will be a good leader.”
HR professionals may be split on the value of an MBA for their peers, but the majority of a broader-based group of executives participating in a 2010 Environics survey still viewed an MBA as “the gold standard.” Over 80 per cent reported that all other factors being equal, they would choose a candidate with an MBA over one without the degree.
Related: An MBA primer