To see what the opinion of MBA alumni is on their degrees, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) surveyed a sample in 2016 and found that 95% of graduates saw their degree as being of good, excellent, or outstanding value. They also asked if given the chance would they pursue an MBA again and 93% of the alumni said that they would.
There is a lot of debate on whether getting an MBA degree is worth the investment or not. Countless articles have been written about reasons on why you should or should not go to graduate school to complete an MBA. Few of these articles present the real benefits of MBA and what it means for your future.
Why should I pursue MBA studies?
First of all pursuing MBA means studying every aspect of managing a business.
The MBA is an all-encompassing business degree, where you learn the theories and practice of:
- Supply Chain
- Statistics and Analytics
The curriculum of the MBA covers all these topics in the core courses that students are required to take. Many universities, in addition to the core courses offer specializations or majors where MBA students decide on what elective courses to get so they can study one or two of the topics above in more depth.
This does not mean that the MBA is a Master’s Degree that only offers a general view on business topics. On the contrary, it gives in depth insights about every facet of business management. This is to prepare students for the real challenging world of business.
The MBA is a huge commitment for anyone. It takes two years to complete and it can cost from $25,000 to $105,000 in tuition and fees. However, most graduates report getting their investment back in around three and half years.
In the world of constantly developing technology and the emergence of online courses, it does not mean that you cannot take all these courses online and even for free without committing to the two year MBA degree. But getting the degree means developing a lot more skills than what you would learn in an online course with hundreds or thousands of participants.
Getting the MBA degree means constantly learning and pushing yourself towards making connections and developing professionally.
So is an MBA worth it and what are the benefits of an MBA?
Benefits of an MBA
More Career Opportunities
Amongst the first reasons for doing an MBA is the fact that it gives you more career opportunities.
An MBA opens doors for its graduates. It does not guarantee you will get the job, but it will get you noticed. And in an increasingly competitive job market, getting noticed is the first step towards getting hired.
The MBA will look great on a resume and recruiters will be more likely to further inquire into your experience and invite you for interviews.
If you are aiming for a specific job, you will have more chances to get hired if you prove your qualifications through an MBA degree.
The MBA is great degree if you are aiming to switch careers. If you are an engineer, but you think that in the future you might be promoted and your job description will require you to have business knowledge, the MBA skills will assure your boss that you are ready for that promotion. The benefits of an MBA to an employer are noticeable too because you will learn how to increase the profitability of a company, so if you have that skill you will automatically be more valued.
Earn a Higher Salary
The more education you have the higher will your earning potential be. In the world of business, the MBA degree is one of the most respected and prestigious degree and it comes with quite the salary. Almost all CEOs have an MBA degree with different specializations and their earning are sky high.
According to GMAC, from 2015 the median starting salary for new graduated MBAs was $100,000 and 90% of graduates said that the degree had increased their salary.
This does not mean that the degree will automatically make you a millionaire. You will have to work for it and show that you are able to apply the skills and knowledge you have learned in school. But it does mean that your starting salary will be higher than what you would earn as someone with only a Bachelor’s Degree. And if your starting salary is higher, the potential for promotion and earning even more is there too.
So if you are after the riches then an MBA degree is definitely for you.
Start Your Own Business
If you have an idea which you think might turn out into a successful business, an MBA is a must have degree. Many entrepreneurs fail in implementing their ideas and turning them into profitable businesses because they don’t know how to conduct strategy, how to manage their finances and accounting, or how to market to their target audience.
The MBA teaches you all these skills, so you that you can apply them into taking a business from a start-up into a successful venture.
Become an Expert
The MBA has an intense curriculum with credits amounting to around 54 for the entire two years. You get to learn new methods of doing business, read case studies, and apply those skills. You will have to do projects for almost all classes to practice what you learn and at the end of the two years you can call yourself an expert.
The specialization you will get will also be helpful in determining your areas of expertise. This means that not only can you put what you have learned to the test by changing and improving existing or new businesses, but you can also teach it.
MBA graduates are often called to give training sessions and workshops in different business topics because they are deemed as experts in the field. So one of the benefits of an MBA is commending excellent knowledge on business topics and being able to apply them.
Develop managerial and analytical skills
The curriculum that the MBA has teaches various practical skills of managing a business but the most valuable ones are managerial and analytical skills.
You will learn to:
- analyze a business and its components
- deconstruct a department to figure out where the problem is
- devise strategies on how to solve it
In addition, due to the immense availability of data, you will acquire various software skills and will be able to:
- gather primary data and find secondary sources
- sort through data to find patterns and trends
- be able to make recommendations based on those patterns and trends
These skills are highly valuable and businesses are constantly looking for people who can apply them successfully.
Become a better Team Player
Real working environments mean that you will most often have to work with people you do not know. These people will be your coworkers, supervisors, and clients. You may not always have the same opinions and agree on everything, so you have to be able to manage the situations of disagreement and become a better negotiator.
During your undergraduate studies, you might have always been allowed to choose your own team members and that does not reflect how it will be when you are employed. During your MBA however, professors will constantly encourage or even demand that you work with people you do not know, often assigning team members randomly.
The MBA program is heavily based on team work and almost all projects, including your capstone might require you to work with another three to four people. This will make you more resilient to pressures from team work and you will learn to better manage your time, workload, and disagreements when working with others. The MBA will definitely make you a better team player, something that other degrees or an online degree will not offer completely.
Be able to present yourself and your ideas
In today’s environment, how you present yourself and your ideas are key to how likely you are to succeed. If you get nervous and become too stressed when you have to talk to others or present in front of an audience, you will be less likely to get promoted and climb the corporate ladder.
An MBA program will require you to extensively present your work and your projects in front of your classmates, professors, and others. By the time you get your degree, you will have presented so many times that the nervousness and stress will have subsided considerably. You will become an excellent public speaker who can present ideas and project eloquently and can handle audience questions without stumbling for words.
In addition, an MBA will teach you how to pitch for yourself. You will improve on how to give an elevator pitch for your own skills and be able to meet recruiters and tell them exactly why they should hire you. Besides having to do this for different classes, the career office of the university will most likely have workshops and individual sessions to work on your ability to become a better salesperson for yourself.
During the two years that you will complete your MBA degree you will meet countless people. These people will be your classmates or other students, professors, university staff, company recruiters, and industry leaders.
In addition, if you attend networking events organized by your university or local community, you will also meet other people who can have a great impact on your career.
The people you meet during your MBA have the potential to be your business partners, employers, and friends. These will be valuable contacts during your entire career and it would be a good idea to periodically check in with them and see what they are doing.
The network that you build during an MBA does not compare to the networks you can build in any other degree. The MBA is a degree oriented towards meeting and talking to people so you can tell them about your ideas and explore the professional connections you can have with them. So the benefits of pursuing an MBA will definitely be due to the large network of diverse people that you meet.
Is an MBA worth it?
We mentioned all the benefits that the MBA degree can bring to its holders. Yes, the MBA is worth the time, expenses, and effort if you are planning to work in a business related field. It is also worth it if you can get it from an acclaimed university rather than a smaller, less prestigious institution.
The MBA will bring you better opportunities, but it is up to you to explore them and give your best at taking advantage of them. Your degree will guarantee you success only insofar you make an effort to apply the skills you learn and become valuable to your employer.