If you’re hoping to build upon the education you’ve already earned in hopes of advancing your career, pursuing a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) may seem like an obvious next step. However, it can be difficult to take that next step with confidence when big-name CEOs and media sources are vehemently claiming that the MBA has “lost its magic,” MBAs are “no longer prized by employers” and even that the MBA is flat-out “worthless.”
Nevertheless, take note: For every critic of the MBA, there are supporters who show up in droves.
The truth is, MBA programs aren’t one-size-fits-all. While there are some benefits associated with earning an MBA — such as more job prospects and higher salary potential — there are other beneficial elements that are often overlooked.
We’ll dig into some of the lesser-known benefits of earning an MBA, but let’s first dig into some hard facts about how this advanced degree can transform your potential as a business professional.
An MBA can help you increase your earning potential and qualify for more jobs.
Is an MBA worth it?
There are a number of different reasons you might be considering an MBA — maybe you’re looking to make a major career change, maybe the job you’re interested in requires it, or maybe you simply feel as though you’ve hit a ceiling in your current position and are ready to bust through the glass armed with a brand new set of business skills.
No matter what your motivation, there are a few facts that remain true — most prominent is that an MBA can help you increase your earning potential and qualify for more jobs. In fact, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) determined in its annual survey of corporate recruiters and business schools that the job market for MBA graduates in 2016 was the best it’s been since 2010.
Of the 800 corporate recruiters surveyed, 88 percent said they planned to hire recent MBA graduates in 2016, compared to just 80 percent who actually hired MBAs the year prior. Survey findings also revealed that more than half of employers (54 percent) plan to increase the starting salary for MBA graduates, with 21 percent indicating the increase would outpace the rate of inflation.
From 2014 to 2015, the median starting salary for MBA-qualified candidates increased five percent, from $95,000 to $100,000. That seemingly small $5,000 increase may feel underwhelming until you pit the numbers against those relative to candidates whose highest education obtained is a bachelor’s degree. GMAC survey respondents reported paying bachelor’s-qualified candidates approximately $45,000 less than those with an MBA.
4 lesser-known benefits of an MBA
While the amplified job prospects and salary potential are obvious benefits of earning an MBA, a host of other benefits deserve a bit of limelight. Individually, the following four MBA benefits may not come with impressive numbers and percentages, but together they have the potential to make just as big an impact on your business career.
1. You can further expand your network
If you’re years removed from your undergraduate experience, you’ve likely stayed close to some of your college friends, but not all of them. As the years pass, phases of life transition, people relocate, and focuses shift to families and careers — in short, it can be easy to lose touch.
However, going back to earn a post-graduate degree as an adult is a completely different story. You’ll be surrounded by other business professionals whose career goals are similar to yours. After enduring a challenging advanced-degree program together, you can encourage one another as you embark upon future business endeavors and learn from one another’s successes. Who knows? Maybe one of your graduate school comrades will turn into an invaluable contact for future business-related projects!
2. It will increase your global awareness
Technology continues to provide more sophisticated ways to collaborate globally. With these upgrades, it’s become increasingly important for top business professionals to maintain a certain level of global competency.
An MBA program can help broaden your perspective and expand your horizons, both professionally and otherwise. Cultural awareness and competency are of the utmost importance in an evolving global economy, which makes them sought-after skills in businesses both large and small.
To become great, the first step is to learn what made others great.
3. Earning an MBA multiplies the amount of experts you’ll learn from
Not only will pursuing an MBA afford you the opportunity to learn from an entirely new collection of knowledgeable professors, but it also allows you to glean important wisdom and advice from other accomplished executives.
They say to become great, the first step is to learn what made others great. From the webinars assigned by your professor to the business professionals and top executives who speak directly to your class or give talks on campus, earning an MBA is an excellent opportunity to learn from the success of others in the business world.
4. You can learn how to build and refine your personal brand
At the end of the day, no matter what company you work for, you still have your own personal brand. That is to say, we are the most important executives of our own organizations — ourselves.
While a personal brand is more possessed naturally than created from scratch, we all have the opportunity to fine-tune, build upon and mold the brands we’d like to put forth into the world. This might look different for everyone, as some may find it most important to focus on their client-facing skills while others may prioritize behind-the-scenes organization and timeliness.
Whatever you need to work on regarding your personal brand, business school can help you do that! What’s more, some programs are specifically designed to help you identify your needs in this arena. For example, the MBA program at Hodges University proudly partners with author and public relations expert Cyndee Woolley to incorporate seven essential steps to building a powerful personal brand into its MBA curriculum.
Add these personal branding skills to your toolbox and you’ll undoubtedly have an edge over your peers once you hit the ground looking for that advanced business position.
Are you ready to discover your career potential?
If you’re ready to move on to a new career, climb the ladder within your current path or simply build upon the undergraduate education you earned years ago, an MBA might be the answer you’ve been seeking. From higher salaries and more job opportunities to lesser-known benefits like increasing your global competence and fine-tuning your personal brand, the outcomes of an MBA are hard to ignore.
If you’re curious to learn more about how an MBA could fit into your specific schedule, financial situation and career aspirations, take a look at Hodges University’s Master of Business Administration program page for more information on a post-graduate business program that’s perfect for working professionals.