As someone who works in a business school and talks to candidates, I can tell you that one thing certainly attracts potential candidates is the glamorous salaries that appear in rankings published by prestigious media. Although the salaries in every school, profession and country may differ, it is true that the salaries of the world’s top business school graduates are shocking, to say the least. In one of the latest EMBA rankings, salaries where up to 460,000 US$, with graduates from the top ten EMBA schools with salaries between 250,000 and 460,000 US$. After doing a little research, I made a list of graduates’ salaries and the countries where the top BS where based. The result was that top salaries where offered to participants from programmes based in (decreasing order): Hong Kong, China, Korea, France, the UK and the US. It seems that Asia is giving us all a run for our money!
Next, I looked at the per capita income in the countries with the top business schools (in US$): Hong Kong (49,800), the US (49,000), the UK (36,600), France (35,600), Korea (32,100) and China (8,500).
Finally, I work out that the salaries of a graduate from an excellent Chinese BS are 34 times the average per capita income, whereas in the US, graduates’ incomes are just 3.5 times the average. This research led me to a series of questions: What sort of social contribution are business schools making? Is it ethical to provide quality management training to graduates who are only looking to achieve a high salary? Are we contributing directly or indirectly to making the gap between the rich and the poor wider in societies around the world?
I want everyone at EADA to think about this. Without ignoring that we form part of the business school educational sector, we have values and can stand for a real social contribution. Faculty, administrators, candidates, participants and corporations have to think about what type of society we want to see in the coming years. I can see a red flag waving – let’s be careful.