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Good Signs for the Economy in 2013

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — U.S. Bankers see an improving housing market, and a stronger economy in 2013, but only incrementally so.

Specifically, The Mortgage Bankers Association takes an across the board look at the U.S. housing market, and does so in a thorough and forward-looking forecastpublished on the MBA‘s web site.

There forecast has no shortage of insights. For instance, the U.S. has added 4.8 million renters since 2008, and has lost 1.7 million homeowners. The association also has a few predictions for 2013 related to the housing market — predictions that suggest the housing market specifically, and the U.S. economy in general, should see more slivers of sunlight in 2013 than in 2012.

Here’s a snapshot from the MBA:

There will be more U.S. mortgage originations. The MBA expects $1.3 trillion in mortgage originations in 2013, mostly stemming from homeowner refinances in the first six months of the new year. It also has revised its 2012 mortgage origination estimate upward, to $1.8 trillion. “We expected 2012 originations to be front-loaded in the first half of the year, with refis falling off with rate increases,” explains Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist. “Instead we saw the refinance market grow during the year due to a combination of low rates, thanks to QE3 and slowing global growth because of continuing problems in Europe, and adjustments in the HARP and FHA refinance programs. We expect 2013 refinance originations to play out like our original expectations for 2012, with a long tail of refis extending through the first half of the year followed by a rapid drop-off in the second half.”

There will be more home purchases. The association sees more outright home purchases in 2013 than this year, a good sign for the economy. “We expect a 16% increase in purchase originations in 2013 over 2012, with every quarter in 2013 exceeding the same quarter of 2012,” Brinkmann says. “The increase in purchase volumes will be driven by continued modest growth in the economy, an increase in owner-occupied sales financed with mortgages as opposed to cash purchases by investors, an increase in new home sales and a small increase in average home prices.” Overall, the group sees new home purchases rise to $585 billion in 2013 up from $503 billion in 2012.

Mortgage rates will remain low. Don’t look for residential mortgage rates to rise in 2013, mostly due to continuing efforts by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy, the MBA says. “Mortgage rates are likely to stay below 4% through the middle of 2013, principally due to the announced ongoing purchases of mortgage-backed securities by the Federal Reserve under its QE3 program,” Brinkmann says. “The Fed has committed to buying $40 billion of agency MBS per month until the labor market shows significant signs of improvement.” Those purchases should help keep interest rates down, a big priority for the Federal Reserve in its effort to keep the credit pipeline primed as much as possible, Brinkmann adds.

The U.S. economy will grow, but only on a limited basis. The MBA expects U.S. gross domestic product to grow a bit more in 2013 than in 2012. “[Our] forecast is based on expectations of very modest increases in economic growth in 2013 relative to 2012, but growth nonetheless,” Brinkmann says. “We expect gross domestic product to rise 2% in 2013 versus only 1.6% in 2012, about equal to the growth rate in 2011 but well below the 3.1% growth rate we saw in 2010.” A stronger housing market, a “small” hike in consumer spending and stronger businessinvestment should help push the U.S. economy forward, the MBA says.

 

The jobs picture will improve, but again, only moderately. The MBA expects the U.S. economy http://www.bankingmyway.com/save/median-income-down-consumers-fleeing-banks to churn out about 125,000 to 150,000 jobs in 2013, with a projected upside of 1.8 million new jobs for the entire year. “[But] that growth is well below what we need for a robust market in home sales, construction, and purchase originations,” Brinkmann says.

The MBA adds all bets are off if the U.S. Congress ignores the imminent “fiscal cliff” coming Jan. 1, when large tax increases and spending cuts are scheduled to go into effect. If Congress fails to act, the MBA says it will affect the U.S. economy severely and likely cut up to 4% off its overall growth forecasts.

Overall, it’s a moderately positive outlook from the nation’s banking leaders. Considering what U.S. consumers have seen over the past few years, at least it beats falling back into recession.

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Should You Pursue a Green MBA?

America has hitched a ride on the green bandwagon and businesses are doing their best to keep up. As being environmentally friendly becomes the norm, companies are changing the way they operate in order to meet consumer demand. If you will be applying to graduate school soon, you may want to consider a green program rather than a more traditional one.

Traditional MBA vs. Green MBA

The first question to ask yourself is, “What is a green MBA?” Though every degree is different and every program takes its own path, a green MBA is one that weaves sustainability throughout its curriculum. For instance, instead of taking a class on sustainability in business, each course you take will be linked to environmental responsibility. A traditional economics class may focus on numbers and figures, but a green economics class will teach students how economics relates to the environment and social responsibility. At the end of the program, graduates will understand how every aspect of business relates to the green industry.

What are the Benefits of a Green MBA?

Graduates with a green MBA may find themselves more employable than those who take the traditional path. As more Americans turn to green living, and more businesses turn to sustainable practices, graduates with a green MBA will be highly desirable. Instead of having to teach new employees green practices and the benefits of sustainability, companies will employ graduates who already have the knowledge and can immediately implement what they have learned in order to benefit the company.

Is a Green MBA Right for You?

A sustainable MBA isn’t the right path for every student, and there is nothing wrong with following a more traditional path. If you have an interest in a niche career, such as sustainable management or consulting, a green MBA program will be highly beneficial. If, on the other hand, your interests lie more towards finance and marketing, a traditional program may be the right choice. The first step in deciding whether or not a green MBA is right for you is to consider the career path that you want to follow.

What School’s Offer Green MBA’s?

If you are interested in learning more about a sustainable MBA program, or if you have already made your decision to enroll, the following schools offer top notch coursework: Colorado State University, Baingridge Graduate Institute, Presidio Graduate School and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The admissions office at any of these schools will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information.

Career Opportunities

The career possibilities with a sustainable MBA are wide open. Many graduates look for work in the not-for-profit industry and others work within a company’s sustainability departments. Companies like UniLever and PepsiCo employ people to work specifically on making products and practices more environmentally compliant. Students who graduate with a green MBA may also choose to work with smaller companies that focus solely on green products and services. Graduates may find that salaries in the field of sustainability are not as exorbitant as those in the traditional field, but the rewards of working in a green job can often lead to greater job satisfaction.

Green degrees are the wave of the future. As businesses become more concerned with sustainable practices, companies are looking to hire graduates with a certain skill set. If you are interested in taking a less-traditional path towards your MBA, a green path may be the right choice for you.

Steven Lowell is a business-savvy freelance writer, who blogs about educational opportunities. If you are interested in getting an advanced degree, Steven advises that you look into a marketing mba online.

 

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Better Than an MBA: Top 5 Alternatives for Business Graduate Students

The Masters of Business Administration degree has long been hailed as a key to unlocking a future of corporate executive status. However, the growing cost of MBAs and the recent downturn in big company appeal has caused many to look for alternatives to the traditional graduate level studies. Here are the top five alternatives to a traditional MBA.

1. Specialized Studies

Many Fortune 500 companies are stepping out of the traditional business mold and are looking for graduates that have done the same. Experts agree that there is a growing trend in hiring business graduates that have chosen to pursue specialized graduate work such as studies in finance or human resource management meant to compliment an alternate field of undergraduate work. By establishing a foundation in engineering or a science, many students are then pursuing business oriented masters level degrees that develop their ability to apply their expertise toward real-world productivity.

2. Start a Business

Entrepreneurial experience is considered by many to be the best introduction to business management. The debt one would potentially accrue from entering an MBA program could alternatively serve as seed money for a personal business venture. The potential of founding a multi-million dollar business is as slim a guarantee as is landing an powerful executive position with an MBA and little real-world knowledge. Owning a business is a full immersion in the complete inner operations of business, and it is an opportunity to learn on the job. It may seem overwhelming, but it can arguably be the greatest investment in a business management education that one can acquire today.

3. Climb the Ladder

An MBA is advantageous to those that pursue it, but the real challenge is still in finding a company that is hiring. Many companies prefer to promote from within, and the opportunities that an MBA prepares one for are not necessarily the positions that companies are looking to fill with recent graduates. Instead, consider taking an entry-level position or internship once completing an undergraduate degree. Then, upward mobility can be a focus and an option. Employers often identify young personnel eager to move up within the company. That can translate into pipeline training and a guaranteed future. There is even the potential for tuition assistance should the need for an MBA become necessary while climbing the company’s ladder.

4. Industry Specific Path

The principles of good business are quite universal, but the specifics of how they translate into each industry can be somewhat exclusionary to those that have pursued MBAs. To bypass this potential pitfall, consider studying in a program specifically tailored to a specific industry. Many programs provide an opportunity to focus on a specific industry’s skills and experiences. By doing this, one is more likely to be prepared to assume a role in an established company.

5. The MiM Option

A growing trend for many interested in joining the world of business is the Masters in Management degree. The MBA is an overview course of study that can prepare and individual with a sampling of all the components of business practices, but a MiM is more specific to operations. MiM graduates are ready to face challenges related to the direct supervision and leadership positions within a business’ existing structure.

Bruce Martin is a freelance blogger, who investigates graduate-level study options. If you are interested in an MBA or one of the options listed in this article, he suggests that you click here to find out more.

 

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Starting a Business From Scratch

by jenniferadams1985

If you’re thinking about going out on your own and starting your own business, there’s a lot to think about. Although there are plenty of how to books which make it sound easy and make it sound like you could very easily just work a few hours and spend the rest of the time on the beach, the reality is somewhat different.

No matter what industry you’re in, it takes time to build a business up. It takes time to build up clients, to make yourself known to customers within the industry and to establish yourself. It also takes quite a bit of time to get into the swing of things.

Things don’t always go as planned

You may have a fairly good idea of how things are going to work and what your customers want, but oftentimes, probably more often than not, you will find things going very differently to what you had written in your business plan. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the reality is more people starting out in business don’t realise what their customers want. Or they think they do, but then come across something that isn’t already in the market and focus on a new idea. Either way, starting a business isn’t just a case of copying what those who are successful are already doing.

Writing the business plan

The business plan is a big milestone. Although some modern entrepreneurs don’t believe in writing a business plan, there is still a lot to be said for getting your ideas on paper. As mentioned earlier it may be the case that your business plan isn’t what the market needs and so you might want to change things later on. This is fine. Make sure you’re comfortable with change and make sure your business plan is concrete yet adaptable to your market.

All the Small Things

The small things like finding an office, getting into a routine, organising a phone line, business electricity and all of that can take up a surprisingly large amount of your time, particularly at the beginning. Part of the reason for this is because you are very cost-conscious and don’t want to overspend too early. This is good but do keep an eye on the amount of time you spend on each task. It’s also worth networking with others who have recently gone through the same process to see if they can provide you with any tips of advice.
Finally, enjoy it. Although it’s a stressful time, it’s also an exciting time and one, hopefully, you will look back with great fondness.

Jennifer is a part of the digital blogging team at cashzilla.co.uk who work with a growing number of finance brands. For more information about me, or to keep up to date with the latest in finance news, check out my posts at cashzilla.co.uk or visit my Twitter account, @cashzilla.

 

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