MBAs Still Banking on Finance, Says WSJ

The financial crisis has not made MBA students any less eager to charge into the front lines of finance, reports Kyle Stock in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, noting that a third of 2009 full-time MBA candidates plan to pursue careers at finance and accounting firms. These figures have held steady over the past two years, according to annual surveys by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

The interest in a post-MBA finance career is simple economics, Stock says, since business schools have not become any cheaper than they were 18 months ago. With tuition and fees at top full-time MBA programs averaging almost $90,000, or roughly $100 per hour of class-time, students still dream of a lucrative Wall Street career, even if they may be harder to come by these days.

“I think things turned out a lot better than we thought they would,” said Ethan Hanabury, a senior associate dean at Columbia University’s Business School. “Students certainly have some concerns over their short-term prospects for jobs, but they also seem very optimistic. They are able to separate this experience from what’s going on in the market.”

The cost-benefit analysis of a business degree does not appear to have changed in the eyes of aspiring MBAs, explains Stock, who is currently pursuing an MBA at Columbia. Spring 2009 graduates expected a 77% increase over their pre-B-school salaries, according to the GMAC survey. And 91% of those students said that they considered their degrees a good value.

To read more about MBA students banking on finance, click here.

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