What is an MBA?
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an internationally-recognized degree designed to develop the skills required for careers in business and management. The value of the MBA, however, is not limited strictly to the business world. An MBA can also be useful for those pursuing a managerial career in the public sector, government, private industry, and other areas.
Most MBA programs include a "core" curriculum of subjects, such as accounting, economics, marketing, and operations, as well as elective courses that allow participants to follow their own personal or professional interests. Some schools require that MBA candidates complete an internship at a company or organization, which can lead to concrete job opportunities after the program.
Quality business schools generally require that candidates have at least a few years of professional work experience before starting an MBA program. Applicants are also asked to submit Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, academic transcripts, letters of reference, and an essay or statement of purpose that reflects why they want to pursue an MBA. Non-native English speakers usually have to prove adequate English skills with TOEFL or IELTS scores, or through previous academic experience.
The MBA is currently the most popular professional degree program in the world. Today there are over 2,500 MBA programs offered worldwide; most are offered in English. First introduced at universities in the United States around the turn of the 20th century, MBA programs have evolved to keep up with the demands of the times.
While traditional two-year MBA programs are still common, especially in the United States, one-year programs have become increasingly popular. Part-time and online programs are also widely available for professionals not willing or unable to take a year or two off to do a full-time program. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs are part-time programs targeted at professionals with more years of managerial experience than traditional MBA candidates.
9 Career Benefits of an MBA Degree:
1. New job positions are open to you.
When you earn your MBA, the number of positions that are available to you rises dramatically. According to The Economist, job opportunities for MBA graduates are rising in 2016. Three-quarters of employers say that they plan to hire MBA graduates in 2016, while ninety-two percent are increasing the number of MBA internships that they offer. With that in mind, earning an MBA will qualify you to apply to higher-level positions and increase the career opportunities available to you.
2. New career paths are open to you.
Shifting gears and pursuing a new career path can sometimes seem like an impossible dream, particularly if you have been working in the same industry for a long time. Gaining new skills could easily be the catalyst you need to kick-start your transition from one career to another. Even if your background is not typical for the positions you are considering, an MBA will provide the education and skills needed to help you become a more qualified candidate.
3. Your earning potential increases.
A recent study showed that the average MBA graduate’s pay was 50% higher than their position before earning their degree. Even more impressive, in the five years after earning their MBA, the average pay increased by 80%. These figures clearly show the financial benefits of an MBA but they don’t address the personal satisfaction that comes with greater responsibility.
4. Your professional skills improve.
One of the key benefits of an MBA is that it improves your theoretical and practical knowledge of how businesses operate. A key component of success in business, or any endeavor for that matter, is having a compliment of “soft skills,” such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. As the saying goes – you need to be able to walk the talk. Whether you desire a promotion or plan to start your own enterprise, having these skills could be the difference between success and failure.
5. You enjoy greater job security.
Today’s job market is more turbulent than ever before, filling many with uncertainty and fears of being left out. Among the many benefits of an MBA is a more marketable skillset and greater job security, which may contribute to your peace of mind. The skills you develop in an MBA program will make you a valuable member of any team. Even if you leave your job, your business qualifications travel with you, increasing the probability of returning to work more quickly.
6. Your world perspective grows.
An MBA broadens your enterprise knowledge and helps you understand the nuances of operating in a global marketplace. Many of today’s best programs include an overseas immersion trip so that graduate students have a first hand look at how to manage a business in a global arena. Choosing a program that attracts international students will further add to the classroom diversity and enlighten the discussions. Don’t underestimate the advantage of this added benefit in today’s global economy.
7. You expand your professional network.
A strong professional network is one of the most valuable assets that you can have in business. In a survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 89% of recent MBA graduates said that attending business school helped them to develop a strong professional network. This kind of network enables you to gain access to new job opportunities and may come in handy if you decide to establish your own business.
8. You are more knowledgeable in areas most important to your career.
The right MBA program can teach you the skills you must possess in order to succeed in your chosen career. Specialized MBA programs, i.e., those that offer concentrations, can be useful for people who are focused on a particular career or industry. On the other hand, do not underestimate the value of a general MBA program. General programs teach a wide range of skills that are useful in almost any job function or industry, which may be important if you are considering a career change.
9. You become a respected member of your business community.
An MBA commands respect from colleagues and others in your professional community. The qualification itself carries a lot of weight, but it’s your expanded skill set that ultimately differentiates you. Whether you choose a program that offers concentrations or one focused on leadership and global management, you will be well served by the stature it conveys. Whether you are launching a new product, reorganizing a division, or starting your own company, you can do so confidently. Executive recruiters look for individuals who can provide vision and clarity while guiding a company or division through strategic challenges.