Getting an MBA will surely come with a range of memorable and worthwhile experiences, though most people don’t get an MBA for its own sake. This makes sense, as the degree requires an enormous investment of time, energy, and money. The motivation for getting an MBA typically involves benefits over the course of the rest of your career (if not the rest of your life).
For most MBA candidates, the degree is like a stepping-stone or even a springboard to the next step in their career. But is it worth it? Here we take a look at the different ways an MBA will help get you ready for the next step.
BUILD TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
With more MBA programs than ever before, more and more people are being afforded a world-class and well-rounded business education. An MBA will deepen your knowledge of the economy at large, in addition to many specific industries and types of organization. It will also equip you with skills relevant to nearly every step in the corporate hierarchy, including finance, economics, management, branding, marketing, and more. These skills and insights will stay with you throughout your career, and you will be able to implement them in virtually any professional setting.
BUILD SPECIFIC SKILLS
In addition to equipping all their graduates with certain general business skills, MBA programs also offer many opportunities for their students to deepen their specialized knowledge. Depending on the program you attend, you can formally and informally deepen your knowledge of specific industries, as well as specific roles and skills necessary within the corporate structure. This will help make you a much more valuable potential employee and will help put you on a path toward specialty and seniority.
BUILD MANAGERIAL SKILLS
Okay, you can file this under transferable skills, but the managerial skills you develop in an MBA program are valuable enough that they deserve special attention. MBA students come to grad school with a wide range of experiences. Some have only been in the workforce for a year or two out of college. Others already have senior positions.
The MBA is designed to help you advance further in your career, and one of the ways it’s designed to help you do that is by giving you the skills and knowledge you need to be a more effective manager of other people and operations. Climbing the corporate hierarchy means, of course, you will have more people working underneath you, and you will have oversight over more important parts of the company.
PREPARE FOR (AND CAPITALIZE ON) TOMORROW
The one constant of the business landscape is that there is no constant. The world is always changing—and it seems that, amidst the digital revolution, it’s changing faster than ever before. And as the world changes, so does the economy. Many are predicting that the coming revolution in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have an even more revolutionary impact on public and economic life in coming years. According to one recent study, as many as 30% of the jobs in the current economy are under threat by AI in coming years.
But don’t despair yet. Automation will tackle mainly two different types of jobs: the ones that can be easily reduced to simple and repetitive patterns, and the ones who will need even more personalization. Some companies, for instance, are already using AI to teach new skills in a tailor-made way – you can now use such algorithms even to prepare for the GMAT.
An MBA can help you start (or become) well positioned for the economy of tomorrow. For one thing, many predict that the advances in AI and robotic technology will put an even greater premium on employees who can bring certain hard-to-replicate traits, such as managerial expertise and long-term strategy-making skills. These are precisely the skills you will develop as you work toward your MBA. The MBA is such a versatile degree—and such a versatile array of skills—that it can simultaneously offer you increased specialization but also increased adaptability going forward.
Learning more about business and the economy at large—in addition to specific industries in particular—will also help you anticipate changes before they materialize. This will help make you a better employee or entrepreneur.
Perhaps most importantly, future changes can present opportunities in addition to challenges or threats. Learning how to take advantage of technological change is one way getting an MBA will help you prepare for the next step—and all future steps—in your career.
IMPROVING YOUR COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY
MBA programs cover many different aspects of business management which means you will find yourself required to use both sides of your brain and to solve different kinds of problems using different sets of skills.
In fact, this is what the GMAT actually tests so improving your cognitive flexibility is a task you should take upon yourself when you start preparing for the GMAT.
NETWORK LIKE CRAZY
Networking is one of the most important elements of the MBA experience. This isn’t just because of the opportunity to personally schmooze—although that shouldn’t be overlooked. A formal environment that brings together many ambitious and competent people will yield many new relationships that might potentially benefit everyone involved. In your time, you will likely meet many people who might become interested in hiring you, or in working alongside you—you will very possibly meet future employees of your own.
But don’t dismiss these benefits as mere nepotism. The benefits of establishing a broad, deep, and diverse network of businesspeople are profound. The educational benefits may be most important. You will be exposed to an amazing array of diverse kinds of experience and expertise, which you would never be able to find or learn about entirely on your own.
YOU WILL BECOME MORE COMPETITIVE
Thus far we’ve described many of the ways an MBA will help prepare or enable you to take the next step in your career. But does it work? Is it worth it, in the end? The answer, at least today, seems to be a resounding yes. MBA graduates’ hiring opportunities and salaries have both continued to escalate in recent years. This is partly a result of the educational impacts of the MBA curriculum. But it also has to do with the fact that the accreditation—in addition to whatever reputation-capital your particular school has—sends a powerful signal to the marketplace about your skills and your ambitions.
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