The Masters of Business Administration, or MBA, is now over 100 years old. Harvard University launched the first MBA program in 1908, and hundreds are now available around the world.
The MBA is an internationally-recognised degree that develops the skills required for a career in business, although the core curriculum of an MBA is useful for managerial roles in a variety of fields. Plenty of resources exist to find MBA programs worldwide, such as FindMBA, which provides support for applicants as well as detailing course options at hundreds of schools from prestigious universities such as Oxford to business specialists such as the London School of Business & Finance LSBF. But what are the benefits of an MBA?
Higher earning potential
Let’s look at the big one first! MBA graduates have a qualification that can open many doors to attaining high level management positions, and the salaries that come with them. MBA holders earn average salaries that are as much as twice as high as those of other graduates. They also recoup, on average, one third of their course fees within a year of graduating, with student debts generally paid off within four years.
Broad range of skills
Most of the bad press around MBAs will criticise their focus on the finance side of business, but course structures have changed a lot in the century MBAs have been taught. Business strategy, leadership and organisational behaviour are now key parts of the course, alongside the essential traditional analytical skills.
MBAs utilise unique lecture methods that allow students to develop, and better understand their strengths and limitations in a way that will allow them to bring more value to a business – whether it’s one you join, or one you start yourself. An MBA could also prepare you for launching your own start-up, helping you write a business plan and acquire venture capital.
Just like with any university course, an MBA provides an opportunity to make connections that will stay with you for years to come. On an MBA, however, these connections will become valuable business contacts that should serve you well throughout your career. You will also gain access to a valuable alumni network that can provide support during transitional periods and job searches.
Although an MBA shouldn’t be a requirement for any particular job or field, the head-start it can give you is very valuable. An MBA qualification sends a message to future employers that you are a driven individual who is already business-savvy, reducing the need for time consuming on-the-job training that still won’t give you as firm a grounding as a focused two years of study. There are also a wide range of “niche” MBA courses available, including those that concentrate on emerging markets or sustainability, meaning you could find yourself first in line as an expert in newly-developing fields.
As with any course, whether undergraduate or post-graduate, it has to be the right fit for you, and at the right university. Take your time to research both carefully, but keep an MBA in mind if a successful career in business is your goal.