Are MBAs Worth It?

MBA-holders being offered base salary of $75,000; college graduates only getting $41,000. Plus: Justice Department passes on Andersen's settlement offer, Network Associates will restate, and more CFO compensation figures.


So, you shelled out some serious cash to get that MBA. Was it a good investment?

Apparently, the answer is yes — according to a new survey.

Despite the current lousy economy, MBA-holders are still getting bigger paychecks than others in the work force, according to the 2002 Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Corporate Recruiters Survey.

Recruiters report they are offering an average base salary of $75,000 to individuals with MBAs. By comparison, recruiters say they’re offering about $50,000 for holders of other post-graduate degrees, and $41,000 for those with undergraduate degrees. In addition, 69 percent indicate they will offer signing bonuses to MBAs.

This said, the job market is now tipping in favor of the employer. Indeed, 68 percent of the respondents indicated the weak economy has created a “buyer’s market” for their firms.

Even so, recruiters still estimate that 30 percent of their 2002 hires will be MBAs, increasing to 35 percent in 2003.

Which fields do MBA graduates head for? The most popular one is finance: 52 percent of the recruiters say graduates are seeking MBAs for finance careers. Marketing is a distant second (31 percent), followed by IT/MIS (25 percent) and consulting (24 percent).

And what are the most important criteria recruiters consider when hiring somebody with an MBA? Surprisingly, it’s not the school that the candidate attended.

Internship and related work experience were deemed the most important criteria, selected by 70 percent of the respondents. Other key criteria included the candidate’s history of increased job responsibility (66 percent); industry-related internship or work experience (61 percent) and MBA concentration of study (61 percent).

The reputation of the MBA school was only selected by 59 percent of the respondents, followed by history of leading teams (55 percent).

Altogether, 550 recruitment professionals, representing 423 companies, participated in the GMAC survey.

Other findings in the survey:

  • Most recruiters (65 percent) in the health care and pharmaceutical industries say they have not altered their hiring plans. The economy’s impact was felt most by recruiters for the consulting industry (86 percent), manufacturing (79 percent), energy and utilities (71 percent) and technology (69 percent).
  • Three quarters of recruiters said they did not rescind offers, lay off new MBA hires, delay job starts or move MBA hires into different departments in 2001.
  • Just four percent of recruiters rescinded offers this year.
  • The number of recruiters for US companies making job offers to MBAs three months or more prior to graduation dropped 10 percent in 2002. The number offering jobs within weeks of graduation rose slightly.
  • A majority of respondents (76 percent) said the most important criteria in selecting schools at which to recruit are the school’s reputation and their existing relationships at the school.
  • Other school recruitment factors included the retention history of previous hires (50 percent) and a sufficiently large candidate pool (50 percent).

The Graduate Management Admission Council is a not-for-profit education organization of graduate business schools worldwide. The organization sponsors the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) used as part of the admissions process by graduate management programs around the world.

Network Associates Admits Accounting Errors

Network Associates, Inc. said it will restate its financial statements for 1999 and 2000 after it discovered accounting inaccuracies.

The computer security provider said in a statement its Audit Committee will lead an internal investigation to determine the scope and magnitude of these inaccuracies.

As a result of the restatement, the company said is withdrawing its plan to buy the remainder of the shares of Corp. it doesn’t already own.

The company added that the investigation is still in its preliminary stages and the full extent of the restatement and all covered periods have yet to be conclusively determined.

It added, though, that there is no indication that it will need to restate results for 2001 or the first quarter of 2002.

If you recall, back in March, we reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the company’s accounting practices during the 2000 fiscal year.

Network Associates noted at the time the inquiry relates to accounting issues that predate the current management team’s arrival in early 2001. “The company has reviewed its accounting for fiscal 2000 with its outside auditors and continues to believe that the accounting was proper,” added Network Associates management.

Andersen Proposes to Settle $1 Billion Australian Claim

Andersen’s troubles apparently aren’t restricted to its alleged role in the Enron bankruptcy.

In a case that has been grabbing huge headlines down under, the indicted accounting firm has apparently proposed to settle the $1 billion damages claim launched by the liquidator of Alan Bond’s former company, according to Friday’s edition of the Australian Financial Review.

In addition, Andersen is finalizing merger plans with Ernst & Young, said the paper.

Hearings in Adelaide’s Supreme Court have been going on now for five months and more than $30 million has been spent on legal costs, according to the report.

But, what was shaping up to become Australia’s longest corporate trial was adjourned this week after lawyers for Andersen approached lawyers representing Southern Equities Corp., the former Bond Corp., to discuss an out-of-court settlement, said the paper.

Back on U.S. soil, the Justice Department rejected Andersen’s last-minute settlement offer. Hence, Andersen will go to trial on May 6 on obstruction of justice charges. A pre-trial hearing will take place Friday.

In other Andersen-related matters:

The embattled auditor unsurprisingly said it has cancelled plans to move into a new Times Square tower now under construction at the corner of 42 street near Broadway. Occupancy was scheduled for 2004.

Andersen on Thursday also lost several more clients. MasTec, Inc., a communications and energy infrastructure service provider, and NeoTherapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, hired Ernst & Young.

ThermoView Industries Inc., which makes replacement windows and doors, chose Crowe Chizek.

And Inc. said it is considering replacing Andersen as its independent public accountant.

How Green Was My Silcon Valley?

Apple Computer Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Fred D. Anderson filed to sell 100,000 shares of the company’s common stock, according to a securities filing.

Anderson listed April 23 as the approximate sale date for the stock, which he valued at $2.5 million.

And PeopleSoft CFO Kevin T. Parker took home a salary of $330,492, a bonus of $475,626 and $1,795,000 in restricted stock in 2001, for a total 2001 package of $2.6 million.

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