Want an Edge in the Job Market? Get Yourself a 'CMBA'

Job candidates have traditionally gotten paid a premium for getting a CPA or an MBA. But, if you get them both, your resume can begin to sound a bit pretentious, e.g., Jonathan H. Doe, CPA, MBA. So wouldn't it be great if someone created a new credential that goes by something short and snappy like CMBA (an acronym for Certified Master of Business Administration).

If you like the idea, you will be happy to hear this is exactly what the International Certification Institute (ICI) and Thomson Corporation are planning to introduce on September 3rd as students and professors head back to campus.

Thomson Corporation, a $7 billion company that specializes in computer-based testing, is designing a five-hour exam on which the credential will be awarded. Cost to take the exam: $450. Content: approximately 300 questions covering finance and accounting, economics, operations and marketing and management.

In some ways, it's like the bar exam for law students, except that no professional association or regulator is requiring or endorsing the credential. Instead, the sponsors are positioning it as a useful tool for employers to help them select the best and brightest MBAs in their recruiting programs. At the same time, the expectation is that students will see the exam as a way to gain an edge in the job market by putting together a resume that will really "knock 'em dead."

Of course, not everybody agrees it's a great idea. Some say companies never cared about scores anyway. Others say the top 20 schools probably won't see the value of the credential because they already feel they have a brand-name monopoly.

But, in the final analysis, it's the numbers that tell the story. MBAs are said to account for 25% of all graduate degrees, and there may be as many as 2.5 million MBAs in the world today. If this idea sells, it could all add up to a huge market and a lucrative business opportunity.

-Rosemary Schlank

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