An economic slow-down does not adversely affect the education sector, as people tend to use it as an opportunity to strengthen their academic credentials to face the tough competition, says Stephen Hodges, president, Hult International Business School in a chat with Patricia Mascarenhas
How does your campus rotation strategy differ from the exchange programmes that other business schools offer?
Students can choose to split their year across up to three of our global locations. Many other schools offering global rotation are simply partnering with institutions abroad, but our campuses are our own, created specifically for the purpose of rotation. Students can expect a seamless transition between campuses, without the risk of missing or repeating any of the education.
What do you think B schools should do to stay relevant during an economic slowdown?
An economic slow-down does not adversely affect the education sector, as people tend to use it as an opportunity to strengthen their academic credentials as competition gets tougher. From an education perspective, B schools should always be looking to stay relevant. We have overhauled our MBA programme to reflect the needs of today’s employers.
How many international students go back to their home countries after graduating? With the persistent economic downturn, has this been an increasing trend?
The Hult graduates are highly mobile, with 58 per cent of the 2013 MBA graduates reporting employment in a different country. The remaining 42 per cent found employment in their home country. The percentage varies by region, with significantly fewer South Asian and African graduates returning to work in their home countries (22 per cent). Indeed we see more graduates returning to their home countries compared to the year prior (+7 ppt), however we attribute this to stronger demand for top educated professionals in their home countries leading to better offers, as evidenced by stable starting salaries.
What trends are you seeing in terms of jobs and course preferences?
The top three industries employing Hult graduates in 2013 were Consulting (18 per cent), Financial services (16 per cent) and High Tech (15 per cent). Compared to the year prior we saw an increase in graduates going into High Tech and Consulting and a slight decrease in Financial services. Five per cent of all graduates decide to become entrepreneurs and start their own business.
What is your take on placements?
Demand for business graduates is rebounding with the global economy. This is particularly strong in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.
With five campuses on three continents, what are your plans for the next five years in term of campus development?
No further geographic expansion is on cards. Our focus at this point is to become the most relevant business school in the world to employers. We are doing this by revamping all our programmes based on employer feedback, and merging with Ashridge Business School to build a significant executive education capability.