by Liliya Chausheva
SEE hosts 61 business schools across ten countries, according to compiled data in a survey carried out by SeeNews Research & Profiles on MBA training in English in the region. These universities offer some 90 MBA programmes, either full-time or part-time. While not widespread, distance learning, which provides more flexibility, is also available.
In terms of number of business schools, the situation varies greatly from country to country. Turkey and Greece have established themselves as regional business training hubs with 16 and 13 business schools, respectively. They are followed by Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Slovenia, which have between four and nine business schools each. By contrast, the lowest number of business schools was registered in Macedonia, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Turkey is also the country with the longest tradition in MBA training, as some of its business schools have been offering MBA programmes for several decades now. By comparison, the business schools in Sofia, Belgrade and Sarajevo were all set up after 2000. Statistics shows that most students who opt for an MBA degree are already experienced managers. In other words, they have gained several years of experience before enrolling in a university programme. The average pre-enrolment experience ranges from five to eleven years, with most managers having worked for seven years. Although in some cases no experience is required, students at these schools have experience of up to three years.
SEE business schools are open to foreign students. The share of students coming from abroad may reach the impressive 90% but in the vast majority of the cases the figure is more modest. It is common to see a share of foreign students of not more than 12-15% of the overall number of students.
When it comes to gender issues, apparently MBA progammes are no longer exclusively reserved for men because more and more female managers decide to pursue MBA studies. In some cases, the share of female students exceeds 50%. In other business schools the share of female students stands at 35-39%.
Regarding the estimated number of students for the 2013/2014 academic year, figures again vary to a large extent but they prove that the interest in MBA studies has not faded. The number of new students depends on many factors, among which the size of the business school, the plans of the school, the interest in specific studies, etc. Thus, the number of newcomers ranges from 27 to 120 for the 2013/2014 academic year.
Without doubt, motivation is a major factor for all MBA students. In some cases, they feel motivated because their employer finances their MBA studies, either partially or fully. Most often, the share of companies which fully pay the tuition of their employees stands at between 21% and 32%. There are exceptions to that rule as the share may come in under 10% for some schools or it may jump to 50% for others.
Motivation to pursue MBA studies may also be triggered by prospects to climb the corporate ladder after graduation. It is difficult to obtain specific figures about that indicator in particular but there are cases in which 60% or even 70% of MBA graduates were offered a promotion three years after earning the MBA degree. The indicator is difficult to follow because often the promotion does not occur right after graduation.
Another major issue for all potential MBA students is the tuition fee. Fees start from 10,000 euro and may reach 35,000 euro a year. Usually, the tuition fee is lower in the Western Balkans and Bulgaria, while the amount is higher at Turkish business schools.