A Fine Balance

CPAs are back in vogue, but don't forget the MBA. Skills and experience in both accounting and finance are best for a full career.

And when you have finished your MBA? “An MBA opens up your thinking,” says Sydney-based Paul Rowe, senior client partner at executive search group Korn/Ferry International and head of its CFO Center for Excellence practice. “It helps accountants move from pure finance to line management and broadens their horizons.” Even so, the headhunter stresses that an accounting degree is still a prerequisite for a CFO role. “An MBA would help as well if you have ambitions of being a CEO,” adds Rowe. “But a CFO cannot jump from finance to the top job without proven line and P&L experience. Our clients place a higher degree of reliance on a person’s experience, background, and track record. If he has an MBA, that would be icing on the cake.” In a globalizing and ever more competitive corporate world, however, those three letters could tip the balance in your favor.

Mindee Hansen is a freelance writer based in Hong Kong.

Follow That Recruiter!

One good way of choosing an MBA school is to find out which companies recruit from it. “It’s expensive and time-consuming to interview potential employees, so companies go to only those schools they judge to be very selective in admitting students and have rigorous programs,” says David Wilson, president of the Graduate Management Admission Council in Washington. The council recently asked 692 multinationals and US companies which MBA schools they recruited from. CFO Asia went through the 111 names and compiled a sampling of institutions that are strong in finance:

  • China Europe International Business School (China)
  • Columbia Business School (US)
  • Cornell University — Johnson School (US)
  • Duke University — Fuqua School of Business (US)
  • HEC School of Management (France)
  • INSEAD (France and Singapore)
  • IMD (Switzerland)
  • London Business School (UK)
  • Manchester Business School (UK)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Sloan School of Management (US)
  • McGill University – Faculty of Management (Canada)
  • National University of Singapore — NUS Business School
  • New York University — Leonard N. Stern School of Business (US)
  • Northwestern University — Kellogg Graduate School of Business (US)
  • Stanford University — Graduate School of Business (US)
  • University of California at Los Angeles — Anderson School of Management (US)
  • University of Chicago — Graduate School of Business (US)
  • University of Pennsylvania — Wharton School (US)
  • Yale School of Management (US)
  • York University — Schulich School of Business (Canada)

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