05 December 2012 10:39 AM

3 reasons why you shouldn't do an MBA - and 3 reasons why you should

Considering a business management career? Then you're probably the type who likes to plan ahead anyway! You may already have heard of an MBA (Masters in Business Administration). The MBA is a postgraduate qualification taken after gaining some workplace experience - usually around five years - and it's often seen as the qualification for senior managers. However, before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. In fact, there are a few very good reasons not to do an MBA...

  1. It's extremely expensive - an MBA at a respected institution costs upwards of £30,000. If you know you'll want to do one in the future, start saving the pennies right now. Yes, you. Back away from the Starbucks counter!

  2. It's a serious commitment. A full-time MBA takes two years and is a nine-to-five affair (plus the obligatory networking events in the evenings). Like any postgraduate course, studying for an MBA won't give you a sense of direction if you don't have any in the first place. And let's face it, business administration is not something you study for the sheer love of the subject - you study it because you want to go places careerwise. If you're in any doubt as to your enthusiasm for a corporate management career, an MBA is unlikely to tip you over the edge into riotous enthusiasm - and it's a very, very costly, stressful and time-consuming mistake to make.

  3. It won't magically make you into an outstanding entrepreneur, a caring manager, or an ethical business leader. Fundamentally, the MBA teaches you how to run a business, not how to generate ideas, show empathy, or have a conscience. Your own personal qualities will play an important part in your career, not just your qualifications.

An MBA is not a course to be embarked on lightly, and it's not for everyone. But, if you're doing it for the right reasons, an MBA can open up new career opportunities, renew your enthusiasm and give you a fantastic skillset that will prepare you for senior management positions. Here's a few very good reasons to do an MBA...

  1. It's recognised all over the world - there aren't many qualifications where you can walk into just about any corporate environment on the planet and say 'Look what I've got here, hire me!' but an MBA is one of them.

  2. If you really love business, you will probably really enjoy yourself, and do well. Like any postgraduate course, genuine passion for your area of interest is a perfectly good reason to study it, providing you can afford to. And the advantage of being a business geek (as opposed to, say, an astronomy geek or a classical architecture geek) is that you stand a good chance of making serious money out of your interest. So good for you!

  3. You'll be in pretty good company. Of the world's top 30 businesses, 15 CEOs have MBAs, and it can't be denied that having an MBA opens some impressive doors. The global network of people with MBAs is a pretty top-notch club to be a part of.

To find out if an MBA is right for you, click here.


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19 September 2012 08:50 AM

Spotlight on: HR Graduate Jobs

HR has shed its paper-pushing image in the last few years and is seen as an increasingly attractive destination for graduates from all degree disciplines. If you're commercially aware and also a real people person - tactful, empathetic, confident and a great communicator - who wants to use these skills in business, this could be the industry for you.

Watch a real HR professional talking about the best and worst bits of his job here.

HR departments have historically had a bit of a bad rep as the boring, 'computer says no' zone in the company - so part of your role as a modern HR professional is to change this image! HR strategy these days is very much about retaining and developing staff, not just making sure they follow the rules arbitrarily. Your understanding of employment law needs to be top-notch, too, so HR can be a good choice for law graduates who've decided that life as a solicitor or barrister isn't for them, but still want to use what they've learned in a business context.

With many companies recognising the advantages of flexible working, part of any modern HR role is to help the company and staff maintain a work-life balance that's mutually beneficial to everyone. To do this requires tact, diplomacy, empathy, assertiveness and negotiation skills. Remember that you will often be dealing with people who are in difficult or emotionally-charged situations - illness, bullying and work stress don't tend to leave people in the most calm frame of mind.

As well as the day-to-day liaison between staff and employers, HR professionals also have a big role to play in the strategic direction of the company. At a senior level, HR teams will advise on employing the right balance of staff in terms of skills and experience, advise on and help to implement training and development programmes across the company, consult with recruitment agencies, give input on pay scales, ensure compliance with current employment and working practise legislation, and lead company strategy on equality and diversity. Whew!

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10 September 2012 09:48 AM

Top Tips For Developing The Skills You Need For A Graduate Job

  • Network, network, network! Family, friends, contacts you meet by chance – it all counts!

  • Go to university careers fairs and employer presentations – not only can you pick up lots of helpful info on the industries you’re keen on, you will also have the chance to make a lasting impression with recruiters.

A final tip - believe in your own abilities and focus on presenting yourself as confident...but not arrogant. No one wants to spend all day working with someone who's full of themselves!

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27 July 2012 09:02 AM

It's Not What You Know...(AKA How To Network Like A Pro)

If there's one thing we hear time and again from employers, it's the importance of professional networks. We're not talking about walking into a job at Daddy's oil company here - everyone can build up a great professional network that'll stand them in good stead for their future career.

So what's the best way to start building your network?
And how do you squeeze the most out of your contacts?
We wanted to find out, so we asked a whole bunch of very well-connected professional types what their secrets were - and they were very happy to divulge. Here's a video of what we learnt. It includes advice from people who've been there and done that when it comes to winning friends and influencing people!

Find out more CLICK HERE

Or click on the image below...


18 May 2010 11:41 AM

Office Romance - a perk of work or your worst nightmare!

As the saying goes, you spend half your life at work so you better be doing something you like. But with working hours getting longer and longer employees are increasingly eyeing each other up for a boost to their job satisfaction!

So, can it ever work...the office romance. Or is it just a gamble. A risk not worth taking. A fast track to your P45? We couldn't decide so we packed the camera and put it to a public vote...


UPDATE: Good spot from @GarethGeorge - look out for the new Dr Who half way through...

03 March 2009 12:11 PM

Giants, Minnows and Scalable Careers

I recently read a brilliant book called The Black Swan and in it the author talks about some career advice he got at business school. He was told to do something scalable. This meant pick a career whereby the same amount of work could have vastly different results, like writing a book. It takes the same amount of time and effort to write a book that sells a million copies as it does to sell 1. By pursuing scalable careers you are therefore open to a situation in which the rewards for your work can be massive without actually having to work 'harder'. Financial trading is another example. Make a trade and the same effort has gone into it whether or not you make a million or nothing at all. This is all in contrast to more predictable careers whereby you're paid by the hour. A dentist for example, or a lawyer. As you're paid by the hour you can only earn more by working harder and/or for longer and given there are only 24hrs in a day there is a pretty set limit to the rewards you can achieve.

This strikes me as a pretty useful way to think about different graduate jobs. Especially as those that are suscepitible to scalability and those that aren't have other distinctions worth noting. One of the big things that the author observes is that scalable careers tend to be populated my giants and minnows. For every best selling author there are thousands of unknown writers. And unfortunately he makes a very persuasive argument that it's more likely to be luck than talent that separates the two. Non scalable careers on the other hand tend to be more middle of the road, with outcomes slightly less impacted by random events. 

So what kind of job would you want? One where your hard work could reap huge rewards or none. Or one in which you plod along doing very nicely thanks?

The author recommends sticking to non scalable careers. You can earn a healthy living (not many dentists on the poverty line) and your life and success is much more predictable. A quick survey of the CareerPlayer team has us in the scalable camp. Sure you might end up a small impoverished minnow but the excitement, the possibility of beating the odds and becoming a giant...we couldn't concentrate without it.

27 February 2009 12:33 PM

The Formula That Killed Wall Street

A bit off topic but a fascinating article from WIRED on what caused the credit crunch. Any readers considering a graduate job in banking or finance may want to swat up, it'll make brilliant interview fodder.

17 February 2009 10:00 AM

Business Advice No 3

Email. Handle with care! from careerplayer.com on Vimeo.

The Kamikaze email...who hasn't done one?

We've had some shockers in our time...most recently sending a prospective Client a Valentines love note most definitely meant for someone else. Still it certainly broke the ice and rather luckily paved the way for a brilliant meeting. I think we're onto something!

If you find yourself in a heart stopping, IT begging, delete frenzy...you might find this little guide from videojug handy.

Communication Skills:What To Do If You Send A Kamikaze Email


10 February 2009 01:26 PM

Business Advice No 2

Do What You Love from careerplayer.com on Vimeo.



I've always wondered to what extent you can follow advice like this. It's obviously the goal for most job seekers to find something they love but will everything else always take care of itself? The impoverished musician who never makes it springs to mind. They may be doing what they love but is it delivering them the kind of life they love? And is there a risk of your favourite past time being ruined when it becomes your job?

Perhaps Terry Jones, a career advisor at Kings College (part of The Careers Group), has a point when he describes choosing a career as a pragmatic decision. Trying to find something that meets more of your goals than it fails to meet. This particularly struck us whilst speaking to hundreds of professionals about their careers, as it became clear that most jobs have a downside. There always seemed to be a flip side to the best bits of a job whether that be 5am starts, lots of travel away from home, low pay, huge stress or anything else. So whilst doing what you love is the goal, it's worth checking that the day to day reality is something you can cope with.

What do you think? Is that pragmatic or just a bit negative? If you really pursue something you love will you be so naturally passionate and driven that everything else will just slot into place?

07 November 2008 02:19 PM

Business Advice

Following on from the last post i thought i'd have a quick peek through our video library to see what other business tips i could find. Managed to dig out quite a few which is handy as i'd be rather worried for our success if we didn't have any!

They're pretty short but i'll post a few of them to see if any strike a chord. Here's the first little nugget from Tanya Livesely, MD of The Talent Business...

No running allowed! from careerplayer.com on Vimeo.

I wonder how many of us could stick to that? Anyway must dash stroll off in an orderly and statesmanlike fashion.

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