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MBA Has Big Costs But Big Payoffs, too

(page 4 of 5)

The HR Executive:
Extra Edge, But Maybe Not More Money

Human resources executive Lauraine Bifulco says she rarely sees hiring decisions based solely on the degree, but notices it can provide an extra edge, although not always extra money.

“Given equal backgrounds, skill sets, experience, I’ve seen our clients look at two candidates side by side, equal in every way, but if one has an MBA, that one’s going to be given a little nudge over the other person,” says Bifulco, president of Vantaggio HR, headquartered in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., with an office on Maui.

“We recruit and place people in positions in a lot of industries,” she says, “and I don’t think I’ve seen more than a handful of occasions when having an MBA got that person a higher salary. I’ve seen positions where they need an MBA, usually financial services. Any other time, I think it’s not a question of more money but a nice heads-up on the other candidates.”

The Young Owner:
Adaptability, Nimbleness

The beauty of the MBA, say many of those who possess one, is its adaptability to many fields.

Mike Pietsch, 31, who, with sisters Noel Pietsch and Stephanie Pietsch Gambetta, launched the restaurant Wahoos, has just finished the executive MBA program at Shidler. Now, his younger sister Noel, 27, has enrolled.

“I felt I needed more of a backing in finance,” he says, “to get better at managing our numbers, managing our costs.”

Mike Pietsch earned an undergraduate degree in business from Boston College in 2000, but, as he stepped more fully into management of the family business, a title guaranty firm, he felt the need for advanced skills.

The MBA was his first choice and it has already helped both businesses, especially applying case studies to his own endeavors, understanding costs better, and refining how he works with employees.

“It provides some reassurance and confidence with this uncertain business climate,” says Pietsch. “Management techniques do need to change as the workforce changes – as it gets older, or younger, with the new generation coming in. It’s basically about understanding the different generations and how they’re going to respond in the workforce.”

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