Ask the expert: EducationDimitrios N. Koufopoulos, Programme Director–Global MBA, University of London
Why an MBA still matters
Q. Is the MBA still relevant in today’s business world?
A. The business world is rapidly changing, but the MBA is a long-lived degree, and for good reason. Before, an MBA was like a passport into a powerful position. Nowadays, we’re noticing employers demanding more evidence of specific skillsets and the ability to apply those in business. At University of London, our Global MBA encourages specialisation. For example, you can specialise in accountancy and emerge with a Global MBA that reflects your specific knowledge. That’s what makes employers take notice, because you’re proving that you have skills that will translate into the workplace.
Q. What are the benefits for CIMA members of studying the MBA?
A. It’s true that an MBA covers similar topics to those explored in CIMA papers. That’s why University of London works in close partnership with CIMA, with accreditation available for our graduates. We offer exemptions for CIMA members with professional-level papers. Up to five out of the 11 modules are possible exemptions for CIMA members — meaning they enjoy a streamlined learning process. Ultimately, CIMA members can graduate faster and take their career to the next level. So they’re actually at an advantage compared to other prospective students.
Q. Why are online degrees growing in popularity?
A. Thirty years ago, when I was seeking opportunities to study for a postgraduate degree, I wrote to English universities asking for information. It took up to three months for a response. The internet has made things much easier. Not everyone can drop their life and catch a flight to study abroad. That’s why online learning matters. You can carry on working, keep your apartment and your friends, all while gaining access to a world-class institution with cutting-edge digital learning tools. University of London also offers the option to study the Global MBA at our local teaching centres in India and Singapore. It certainly would’ve made my life a lot easier back in 1988!
Q. What advice would you give CIMA professionals looking to take the next step in their careers?
To reach director level, you must integrate diverse skills and cognitive abilities. Ask yourself not “How can I get rewarded?” but “How can I keep improving?” I tell my students that as well as an in-depth understanding of accounting, they’ll also need a broader understanding of how businesses work beyond the balance sheet. Employers promote accountants to senior positions when they understand leadership, innovation, and finance. That’s why MBAs are still so popular. An MBA gives you the best overview of business, which is what management accountants need to take the next step up.
Find out more about taking your CIMA membership further with University of London’s Global MBA. Visit london.ac.uk/courses/global-mba.
Dimitrios N. Koufopoulos is the Programme Director of University of London’s online Global MBA and a visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London. He is a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and a fellow of the Centre for Distance Education.
The world’s oldest provider of academic awards through distance learning, University of London challenges and inspires students from around the world. Its Global MBA is the University’s flagship business programme, with four intakes per year.