WHAT IS IN YOUR CASE? Elena Berezina

Selection to EMBA program is even more stringent now than before.
A few years ago, money and wish was insufficient to study in a business school. Educational institutions took composition of groups very sensitively and examined the students fairly stringently. It may seem that now when money available to companies and businessmen is much bigger and many educational institutions do not enlist enough students the attitude to students should be more loyal but this is not so. Even in a bad situation on the market of business education schools maintain their reputation.
Anna Izmailova, head of market communications of Stockholm School of Economics Russia, reports:

- Despite the permanently changing conditions in the country and in the world we cannot afford lowering of the level of participants of the programs. Quality of a group is a guarantee of success. It is important that people speak the same language, solve problems, tasks and case proceeding from their experience and knowledge that correspond to the general high level of other participants. Many candidates ask with whom they will study and the level of other participants is important for them.
Yury Tazov, president of Russian MBA League and pro-rector of Mirbis school, explains that stringent selection of students is a fundamental position of the schools:
- We do not notice decrease of requirements of business schools during enlistment to MBA programs. There is an obvious trend: younger managers come to study. However, in many cases their business experience is impressive (many of them start working when they are students yet). Selection to EMBA programs of the leading business schools is even more stringent now than before because programs become more sophisticated and diverse and requirements to the entrants are bigger. Learning in programs of upper level (MBA and EMBA) is based on professional and managerial experience of a candidate and his experience of fulfillment of tasks in business. That is why it is possible to teach only those who have such experience in MBA programs.
A candidate for a program may be at least a linear specialist (there are usually not more than 15-20% such people in an MBA group) but experience of practical work in business should be not less than two years (in leading schools not less than three to five years). Otherwise there will be no use from learning because student receives not only theoretical knowledge and he will have nothing to rely upon in practical matters (case study, projects, discussions, business games etc). That is why business schools simply cannot accept anyone indiscriminately.
For example, a system of entrance into Executive MBA program in Stockholm School of Economics is very serious: it is necessary to fill in a detailed questionnaire, to write several essays, to pass interviews and testing. There are also formal requirements: five years of managerial work and higher education certificate.
The system of selection to MBA program includes several stages. For example, in Skolkovo it is necessary to submit an application form first and 80% of the candidates are screened off at this very stage. The second stage is represented by various exams including an exam for knowledge of the English language.
Valeria Pavlyukovskaya, director of MBA and Executive MBA programs of business school Skolkovo, reports:

- As a rule, about 70% of candidates pass this stage and come to interviews of our partners-founders. The following criteria are important for them: motivation of a candidate – why it is important for him to really get MBA and not simply to join the circle of graduates of the business school and to do networking. They also look at such criteria as leadership qualities of a candidate, his ambitions, his potential and ability to think on a big scale. Sometimes even very promising students are rejected at interviews of partners-founders.
An interview passes in different ways. Participants discuss goals of a candidate, his skills of work in a team, successful cases from his practice, difficulties and failures. It is important for business schools that a person manifest his individuality, qualities of leader and show ability to cooperate, think in a non-standard way and readiness to develop.
Izmailova remarks:

- If a person says already at an interview that he knows and can do everything and he needs only a certificate we will hardly invite him to join a group. We had a case when a very successful businessman qualified according to all formal requirements and wrote all tests brilliants but said at an interview that he knew everything, did not need to learn and simply wished to buy a certificate. This is not suitable for us. All participants of a group become co-investors: they invest their effort and time that they could spend with a family. They learn and invest the same amount of forces as it is invested by the school to teach them. Interview, analysis of a solved case and an essay help understanding if the candidate is suitable. But to know the taste of a fruit it is necessary to taste it. Tazov presumes that the first semester will show if the manager and the business school are wrong or right.

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