With technological advancements moving so rapidly, being away from the workforce for two years to obtain a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) qualification may not be appealing to those who are looking to rise the ranks quickly.
In fact, some may even consider such a move risky. Before you dismiss an MBA as being no longer relevant, chew on this: The Economist’s latest ranking of full-time MBA programmes shows that 89% of students landed a job within three months of graduating. Also, the median basic salary of an MBA graduate was found to be close to US$100,000, which is an increase of 88% compared with their pre-study salaries.
Here are more reasons to believe that an MBA is still relevant today, regardless of industry.
1. Cultivates leadership competencies
That’s precisely the goal of an MBA programme. It emphasises leadership through its various theoretical and practical modules, which are designed to provide an immersive C-suite experience. It’s not often that young professionals get the opportunity to make executive decisions, manage departments, and develop and implement a strategy.
The MBA programme puts you in the shoes of senior management, gives you a business problem relevant to the industry, and lets you decide exactly how you would go about solving it. It also shows you the consequences of that decision, giving you a clear picture of the heavy responsibility that leaders shoulder every day. Verily, leadership is not just about the characteristics of the leader, but also of the people who surround the leader. This brings into focus the importance of soft skills and knowing how to navigate the many personalities and emotions that are to be expected at the office, which is something that an MBA programme offers.
2. Promotes adaptability
It’s often said that the more experience and education you have, the better you will be able to face the problems and uncertainties that often crop up in life. Apart from providing experiential learning, an MBA programme also offers exposure to high-level strategy and leadership opportunities, which ultimately offer you more options in life and insures you against possible employment shocks that are all too familiar when it comes to business cycles.
Research for MBA assignments is cross-disciplinary and focuses on current global issues, which cultivates your analytical and critical thinking. Think increased monetary prospects, a higher chance of landing the career of your choice, having career flexibility, a better quality of life, good social mobility and again, significantly reduced odds of unemployment. The MBA has helped many industry veterans make the career change they’ve always wanted but were unable to do. Through experiential learning, MBA students learn the language of business, especially the one that helps facilitate successful career changes.
3. Strengthens your business network
Probably the most important aspect of your MBA experience would be the people you meet and the friends you make, who will form your network of contacts in the future. Most universities today take in students from all over the world, offering you an international experience. Nothing can replace the lessons you learn by interacting, studying, collaborating and socialising with students of different countries, races and beliefs. It gives you a wider worldview and a better understanding of human relations, both of which are vital to successful leadership.
In fact, multidisciplinary networking is very much encouraged. A good example would be the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which boasts one of the largest alumni networks among business schools. It counts notable industry figures such as John Sculley of Pepsi and Apple, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, and billionaire financier Ron Perelman among its alumni. Imagine the doors that such networks could open!