There has been debate for some time about whether or not a Master Business Administration (MBA) is still a worthwhile degree, as opposed to an expensive investment with little return in the long run. The fact is, there are a number of reasons why, if you’re the right candidate, getting an MBA still matters, and while you read our advice, you must also be willing to look inward to judge whether or not it’s a degree that will matter for you.
As far as learning about how to steer your ship aright and make money in the process, an MBA will see you in good stead. You will learn not only how to manage and how to lead, but about finance, economics, law, marketing and the global business scene. All of these aspects and the courses which address them are designed to make you a well-rounded individual who can handle anything the day throws at you. Where would goods and services be without people in charge who know how to successfully budget, maintain a vision for an effective advertising campaign, hire and promote the right people with the best skill sets and impress foreign would-be business partners with sharp analysis of international economic crises? Only in MBA programs will all this be addressed as part of a rigorous curriculum.
The skills listed above are good not only for recent undergrads with a new diploma looking to make their way in the world; having all that in your arsenal is incredibly powerful when you’re looking to change careers and make an impact on future employers. Even from the resume stage, someone who has years of experience in one industry will look that much more professional and employable with the added skill set an MBA brings to the table.
No, not every single person who receives their MBA is going to go out into the world and divide and conquer. But like all master’s degrees, the MBA fine-tunes and builds upon previous stores of knowledge and experience, helping to imbue the individual with a sense of confidence and vision for their future work. Some people can take that power and lead his or her peers toward the next step: progress.
It’s not like MBAs get handed out like free hats at a baseball game. They are hard work and obtaining one puts you in a small minority – actually, just getting into one is a coup, as thousands apply every year and only a fraction actually get in. Furthermore, completing an MBA, particularly at some of the most prestigious schools in the country, demonstrates not only ability, but commitment, perseverance and ambition.
Snowballing off the above paragraph, the fact is, the world of MBA is a bit like a club, and when you’re in…you’re in. You may not like it, but because the system has been in place for over 100 years, you’ll have an easier time networking among influential and powerful people if you’re part of their world. On a more down-to-earth level, communicating with and impressing your professors will go a long way, too, toward making connections with who have the ability to affect and change what comes next. And that’s also not to dismiss the dynamic and talented classmates you’ll encounter and the friends you’ll make from among your peers. Who knows what the guy sitting next to you in Exchange Rate Theory will one day do? And he might be looking to hire…
As if to outline the importance of the diverse education you receive with an MBA, all sorts of dual degree programs have developed. The MBA/MHA (Master of Health Administration) combination merges modern health care issues with business acumen, producing better, more efficient hospital management leaders who keep essential human services running the very best they can; and other programs, like the MBA/MPA (Master of Public Administration) or MBA/MS in Urban Planning, highlight the need in lots of public service-based careers for employees to have formally studied how to lead, manage, organize, analyze and budget.
So an MBA isn’t for everyone, though if you have taken the time to realize your goals and have a clear vision for the type of career you want, you are the type of person for whom an MBA still matters.
Alice Ramey is a contributing writer and recent MBA graduate with a concentration in sustainability who is presently working as an analyst for an energy management company.