Forum: School selection (5 Comments)

School Selection: Scientist seeks Management skill

  • Posted by - SanaTG - on 30 June 2012 - 11:14am


    I am a scientist who is seeking opportunities to get management skill.
    I understand difference between MBA and MSci in Management, and also that it would be totally up to the priority set by myself for my future career goal. Yet, I would appreciate if you could provide useful suggestion/information, which will be helpful for me to make a decision with some more confidence. Here is my information.

    [background] I am a biological oceanographer and senior scientist working at the ocean research institute in Japan for with 12 yrs experiences after getting my PhD in the areas of marine ecosystem responses to regional to global environmental changes. Ocean study in a global scale is not possible without close international collaboration, and there is an increasing demand for natural science communities to work with social science communities. After working on the pure natural science for long years, I now feel the need to learn 1) skill of promotion/management of international programs on global change science (particularly on ocean area) in fully international circumstances and 2) how to apply the scientific finding for social benefits in practical manner. In particular, Japan lacks such human resources nevertheless it is one of the ocean science giants, such as USA and Euro.

    [Possible jobs after school] I am considering to be,

    • consultant/analyst on various environment/ecosystem issues, sustainable use of ocean resources, etc. at private companies, NGO, NPO etc.
    • officer for promotion of global ocean/climate change science at a non-governmental/governmental International organisation.
    • director/professor at research institute/university with expertise in global change science with more broad point of view.


    1. Should be in school in London for personal reason
    2. Duration of the study is preferably 1 year
    3. Need to get a job in any way after finishing school anywhere oversea or in Japan
    4. Cannot pay expensive tuition fee (it has to be < 220,000 GBP per year)
    5. Salary increase and/or promotion is not the ultimate goal of the career change although it's preferable. Happy if I can work on the issues that I believe urgently important for ocean science communities and society, and interesting to myself.

    I have so far 3 courses in my mind.

    1. MBA of Westminster Business School, University of Westminster
    2. MSc in Management and Strategy, London School of Economics
    3. MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, London School of Economics

    My understanding is....

    1. is one of my affordable MBA course that seems to be ranked within a good category (not highly ranked though),
    2. and 3. are offered by LSE, which is well renown and competitive, thus high quality education can be expected,
      3, is seems to fit best to my interest, yet may focus on analytical methods rather than management.

    With all of my background and personal conditions, could you please advise me on the course selection? I am not an early career professional who have already established career in my field, yet should I still consider the reputation of the school to get good international job opportunities, then should chose LSE rather than University of Westminster?

    Sana TG

    • Posted by - SanaTG - on 4 July 2012 - 5:40pm

      Dear Thomas,

      Thank you very much for useful advice.

      I understand you recommend me to take a part-time MBA, and I wish I could. However, I am currently working in Japan, and have to quit my job if I enter the school in UK or any other foreign countries. Also, as a non-Euro citizen, I cannot take part-time course at school without certain kind of visa, working visa supported by UK employer, spouse visa, etc. I have no choice but quitting job to enter the school in UK, and getting MBA in Japan will never be my choice because I need to get the management skill/knowledge in fully international environment. Yes I will take a risk but I really want to get new skill/knowledge.

      I appreciate if you give some advice for entering the full-time class in UK school. In any way, is your recommendation is MBA definitely rather than Master of science in Management?


      Sana TG

      • Posted by - Thomas Graf - on 5 July 2012 - 5:16pm

        Hi Sana,

        I don't really understand why doing a parttime MBA should be a problem. There are parttime MBAs with just some residential periods, there are Distance MBAs or Online-MBAs where you don't need to travel at all. Check the Open University in the UK for example or google for Online-MBAs. But you know your situation better than I do and I am sure you will have your reasons for a fulltime program.

        As for MBA or (MSc in Management) MIM, I would definitely go for an MBA in your situation. If MBA students are younger and less experienced than you then MIM students are even younger and less experienced. You should try to study in a peer group that is on the same level as you or even more developed - then you learn from them and don't feel isolated.

        Regarding UK schools, it is difficult to provide any general recommendation. My suggestion is that you follow a goal-oriented search strategy:

        • Think about where you want to work later on, particularly which companies.
        • Contact these firms and their HR departments and try to find out if they KNOW the respective school and if they RECRUIT there. If you, e.g. take the top 5 UK schools according to the Financial Times MBA Ranking, and if none of your favorite firms knows these schools it may be a waste of money and time to study there.
        • Finally, you can always contact the school and their career services and ask to which firms they have connections.

        Overall, I think you need to make sure what you want to do later on specifically - how your job should look like and for which firms you want to work. By using this as a lens you can select your school.

        Best wishes

        • Posted by - SanaTG - on 12 July 2012 - 11:31am

          Dear Thomas,

          Thank you very much for useful suggestion.
          That's very practical.
          Well I will think about those before making a decision.

          Best regards,


    • Posted by - Thomas Graf - on 1 July 2012 - 12:35pm

      Dear Sana,

      thank you for your question. You have a very interesting professional biography and I would like to congratulate you for your self-reflection. It seems that you have thought a lot about your career preferences and that you even have done some research in potential schools and programs. GREAT!

      Now, my first reaction coming immediately to my mind is: Why do you want to a fulltime program? In your situation - many years of professional experience and with a job position (I guess you are employed right now, right?) - I would never give up my job because

      • You loose your salary (opportunity costs)
      • in a fulltime program there are only younger students - wouldn't it be more inspiring to study with people of your age and experience or even people who are older and more experienced?
      • Firms who come on the campus to recruit fulltime students are not looking for seniors (because fulltime programs usually have graduates or young professionals) - so you likely would not profit from the school's career service

      Instead, my recommendation would be: Choose a part-time program!

      • You don't give up your current salary
      • You likely can tax-deduct the tuition fees.
      • Because of these costs savings you may be able to choose better programs that may be more expensive
      • You likely meet older and more experienced people as your fellow students than in a fulltime program
      • You have a job also in the future and don't feel pressure to find a job after graduation

      As for MBA programs there are two types of part-time programs:

      • So-called "Parttime MBAs" are just MBAs that can be studied by any professional (who fulfills the formal requirements) on a parttime base
      • Executive MBAs: These are also parttime MBAs but specifically for people with leadership experience

      My recommendation at this point is: Think about this for a moment. Maybe it solves your questions to a large degree and brings your inner discourse into a new direction.

      best wishes