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Possibly the best known way for career growth for ambitious professionals is the masters in business administration, or MBA. Yet the golden standard for future executives is costly, time consuming and hard to attain.

While good local schools can be helpful for those with solid career plans, experts say, a real boost requires an MBA at one of the world’s 10 or 20 top schools where entry criteria are very stringent. Typical candidates have to pass international mathematics or language exams, need three or four years of middle management experience, and are usually 27 or 28 years old, said Dmitriy Bondar, head of MBA Strategy, which helps prepare students. 

This means that out of 500 to 600 applicants, only a fraction are serious contenders, he said, adding that two or three Ukrainian students accepted per top school is a good result. Moreover, such degrees typically cost $100,000 or even $200,000, said Bondar, which makes the investment very risky.

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