The latest executive report released by executive search and recruitment firm Jack Hammer reveals that as much as higher qualifications boosts a candidate’s appeal in securing a top leadership position, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) is no longer regarded as the golden ticket to the top.
Because the MBA is one of the most pursued master’s degrees in the country, Jack Hammer CEO Debbie Goodman-Bhyat says it has lost its element of rarity and as such, no longer carries the weight it did more than 20 years ago.
It’s become the degree that looks good on your CV as opposed to the degree that will set you apart from your competitors.
“Ambitious executives considering furthering their education should carefully consider their options and not automatically gun for an MBA as many have done in the past two decades,” Goodman-Bhyat said.
The report found that 90% of CEOs at the country’s top 40 companies have some form of technical undergraduate degree – a finance, business, engineering or science degree – while more than 90% of them hold an honours or postgraduate degree.
Goodman-Bhyat said the perception that an MBA is a more superior degree to any other master’s degree in a technical discipline is misguided.
“There’s certainly a case for a master’s-level qualification, as the research shows that 45% of South Africa’s top 40 CEOs have obtained these. However, the data confirms there’s no particular preference for the type of master’s degree.”
“The MBA as a postgraduate master’s-level qualification has had the benefit of fantastic marketing, but another master’s – provided it’s from a reputable institution and particularly if it’s a sought-after focus area – will do you just as well, if not better.”
The report also found that more work was needed at a basic education level, particularly in relation to maths and science, to stimulate transformation in the corporate sector.
“If maths and science aren’t mastered at school, there’s little hope that a candidate will be able to overcome the initial hurdles of acquiring a financial, technical or business degree, and ultimately claim a top leadership position,” Goodman-Bhyat added.