If you are considering studying for an MBA, it’s important that you understand exactly what you can get out of your studies, and how it can help you to achieve your goals.
Studying for your MBA can be expensive, and it will certainly take up a lot of your time and energy. It’s important to be certain that it’s the right choice for you if you want to stay motivated throughout the course of your studies and make the most of your investment.
Many people begin studying for an MBA simply because they are feeling unsatisfied in their current career, and they aren’t sure what else to do. However, if you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re hoping to get out of your MBA, you may not use the opportunity to its full potential.
MBAs can add a lot of value for students. We’ll talk here about the opportunities that an MBA can open up for you, to help you to decide if it’s the right path for you to take.
Exploration of New Sectors
If you are just starting out in your career, or you’re looking for a change, an MBA can be a great way to explore areas of business that you might never get to encounter otherwise.
One of the benefits of an MBA is that it will be staffed by professionals from a multitude of different areas, and your classmates will likely come from a variety of different backgrounds. This gives you an opportunity to learn what it’s really like to work in those areas and what you need to do, to succeed.
When you embark on your MBA, it’s a good idea to have done a little research beforehand to understand which sectors you think you might be interested in, or that might be a good fit for you.
Think about aspects such as:
- What are you naturally good at? You are much more likely to enjoy a fruitful career if you choose to work in an area where you can use your talents! No matter how interesting something might be, if you struggle with the work then work will always feel like a chore.
- What are you passionate about? Think about what is genuinely important to you. If your primary concern is how much money you can make, then think about the sectors which are likely to pay the highest salaries. If there’s a cause that you want to be part of, then think about how you can do that with your career.
- Are you someone who would be happy working most of the time, or is work-life balance an important consideration? Would you mind working evenings and weekends, or would you prefer to work during the week?
Think about these questions and use them to compile a shortlist of jobs and industries that you think would be a good fit for you. You can then use your MBA as an opportunity to learn more about them, and to build up the skills that you will need to thrive in your chosen career.
Most MBA courses will give you the opportunity to choose a specialization so that you can dive deep into an area that is interesting and useful to you.
If you are using your MBA to change or begin your career, your thoughts on which industry you would like to go into should inform your decision about which specialty is right for you. If you’re hoping that your MBA will help to further your career in a field that you’re already working in, you can use your MBA as a way to future-proof your career. You can use it to gain skills that will help you as you move forwards. For example, part of your reason for studying for an MBA might be to acquaint yourself with business analytics, so that you can make more informed about strategy going forwards.
The specialization offered by your MBA course should be a part of your selection process. For instance, you can study an AACSB accredited online MBA with Saint Bonaventure which specializes in accounting, business analytics, finance, and marketing.
These are all important skill sets for moving businesses forwards and being able to demonstrate your knowledge in these areas is likely to put you in good stead for leadership positions or even starting your own business in the future. Even if you intend to employ people to specialize in these areas, it’s essential that you have a broad understanding of them as they will inform your more high-level strategic decisions.
Advanced Interpersonal Skills
Your interpersonal skills are the way that you promote your own personal brand, and they are also the single biggest way that you can influence and change the culture of any business you work at.
Your personal brand is the image of yourself that you portray to the people around you. For example, if part of your personal brand is being flexible and helpful, then people are more likely to want you to work with them on a project than if you don’t demonstrate these qualities. In some cases, your personal brand is more important than your background and experience. We are emotional creatures after all, and whether or not we like someone can be a huge factor in whether we choose to give them opportunities.
An MBA is an excellent place to learn how to interact with other people in the best way to get the results that you want. You will learn theories based on psychology about how to interact with other people, and you will have the opportunity to put these theories into practice when you’re working with your course mates and instructors.
Good interpersonal skills encompass things like listening with empathy, decision making and problem-solving. These are skills that will help you to build better relationships with the people you manage, your co-workers, your customers, and the people to who you report.
Creating a Like-Minded Network
Human beings are designed to work as part of a community. That’s where we thrive. It can be tempting to try and solve every problem yourself and never ask for help because that makes you appear strong and independent. The fact is, it’s just not efficient to work that way.
We all have strengths and weaknesses and working in collaboration with other people gives us the opportunity to work to our strengths while improving on our weaknesses.
MBA courses give you the opportunity to meet like-minded people who are trying to thrive in their careers just like you. It’s a great opportunity to start working as a team to help each other improve. You’ll be able to help your team with practical problems, as well as providing emotional support and simple friendship. The community you build while studying for your MBA should last well beyond graduation day.
Having a network of contacts is also essential if you want to thrive in business. For example, if you want to try and get through the door of a particular organization, it’s a whole lot easier if you already know someone who works there!
Increased Starting Salary
According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), MBA graduates earn more than graduates without an MBA.
The median salary for most MBA graduates is $115,000 per year, which is 75% more than people who don’t have an MBA. This increased salary isn’t a given just because you have an MBA.
Recruiters value the skills that an MBA provides candidates, and it’s these skills that prompt a higher salary. As recruiters are looking primarily for a demonstration of skills, it means that online MBAs are just as highly valued as their on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you can demonstrate that you have managed your studies around other commitments, this is something that recruiters will look favorably upon as it shows you are able to prioritize and multi-task.
If you are hoping to get a higher salary as a result of achieving your MBA, this is absolutely possible, however, you must approach your studies with acquiring valuable skills in mind.
Do some research on the companies that you are hoping to work for, or more broadly within the type of industry you want to work in. You can use your MBA as an opportunity to meet people in the industry and understand from them what skills and experiences are the most valuable.
Skills You Need to Succeed as an Entrepreneur
If you are looking to start your own business, an MBA can be an excellent way to furnish yourself with the skills you need to flourish as an entrepreneur.
Your MBA will give you an excellent grounding in business strategy, as well as teaching you the techniques you need to communicate effectively and run a successful business.
The best way to use your MBA if you are planning to start your own business is to let your chosen college know your intentions when you apply. They will be able to direct you towards the best mentors in your chosen field, as well as contacts and course modules which are specifically helpful to people starting their own business as opposed to wanting to work in an existing one.