You feel confident that you have strong potential as a leader — and you are eager to make your mark in the competitive world of business. First, however, you need a prestigious degree that will give you an edge as you pursue your professional dreams.
The Master of Business Administration could be your ticket to success. This widely respected degree has propelled many passionate individuals to new heights. Keep reading to learn what you could gain from following their lead and seeking your MBA.
Why Get an MBA?
The MBA has long been one of the most in-demand degrees, both from the perspective of students and employers. This degree represents exceptionally high educational and professional attainment. As such, it is widely regarded as the mark of a skilled and passionate professional with undeniable leadership potential.
There are many reasons to get an MBA, but sheer reputation almost always comes into play. Pause a moment and think of the first few adjectives that come to mind when you picture a ‘typical’ MBA candidate or graduate. Chances are, you automatically assume that this individual is highly driven and highly competent. Good news: this is how employers will think of you if the distinction of an MBA enters your resume.
This is where the concept of the MBA advantage comes into play: this idea reflects the widespread understanding that MBA graduates are expected to achieve greater career heights and satisfaction, no matter which fields or niches they enter.
We delve into this advantage below, revealing not only the myriad of job opportunities that become available once you secure your MBA, but also, the personal benefits you could enjoy both as you work towards your master’s degree and long after you’ve graduated.
Benefits of an MBA
Ask ten different MBA candidates or graduates why they sought this prestigious degree, and you’ll receive ten different answers. Most, however, will reference at least one of these main sources of motivation:
- Career opportunities. The MBA is a diverse degree that emphasizes foundational leadership and analytical skills but also allows you to specialize as you see fit. Available specialties and concentrations prepare you for many exciting fields, ranging from finance to business analytics and even healthcare administration. Equipped with an MBA degree, you will be prepared to enter almost any sector or work environment imaginable.
- Networking. The cliche ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ doesn’t entirely apply to MBA programs — targeted industry knowledge and a strong leadership skill set definitely matter — but there’s a grain of truth in this exaggerated statement. MBA candidates are well aware of the myriad of networking opportunities that their programs provide, even as compared to other graduate-level opportunities.
- Personal confidence. Few academic endeavors are as rigorous as the MBA, which is not only difficult to qualify for in the first place, but also, involves intensive coursework. Challenges abound, but these are accompanied by unique opportunities to build confidence. With every success (no matter how small), MBA candidates feel more self-assured. The biggest boost arrives with graduation, when MBAs emerge knowing that they have joined a small and elite group of accomplished individuals.
The MBA Advantage in the Job Market
If you crave a step up on the career ladder, there are few paths more reliable than the MBA. Below, we’ve highlighted the specific ways in which the concept of the MBA advantage can give you a boost in today’s competitive job market:
Stand Out Against Other Job Applicants
These days, a bachelor’s degree often represents the absolute minimum level of educational attainment required for professional positions — even for many entry-level jobs. This must-have degree could help you get your foot in the door, but it doesn’t necessarily stand out on a resume — especially when you hope to move into higher-level opportunities.
An MBA, however, should get employers to sit up and take notice, simply because it reflects years of hard work above and beyond what’s required to earn your bachelor’s. The MBA also stands out when compared to other graduate programs, in part because the application standards — and the courses themselves — are so rigorous. Employers assume that, if you can withstand these challenges, you can also handle the many complications inherent in your field of choice.
Enhanced Career Mobility
The MBA provides a clear path to advancement, allowing you to break out of entry-level positions and move into middle management or even executive roles. It can also be a great tool for facilitating lateral career moves, which might otherwise prove tricky to pull off if you lack years of experience or a targeted professional network. Meanwhile, you will also gain an entrepreneurial mindset that could propel you into success if you pursue your ambitions as a startup founder or venture capitalist.
Benefits of an MBA to a Company
There’s no denying that professionals benefit from graduate-level education, but the same is also true of the organizations that employ them. This has long been the case, but all signs point to this inherent demand accelerating.
Research highlighted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), for example, reveals that recruiters’ intention to hire MBA candidates and graduates has steadily grown throughout the course of the last decade. Recruiters cite many reasons for feeling confident about MBA candidates, such as:
- Strategic thinking
- Strong communication skills
- Versatile skill set
- Ability to handle today’s complex global business environment
- Ease of navigating technological disruptions
The Personal Benefits of Getting an MBA
The MBA tends to be a career-driven degree, but there are also many personal reasons to seek an elite education. We’ve already touched on the potential for greater self-confidence, which could be accompanied by a variety of other personal benefits:
- Exposure to diversity. While MBA candidates are, as a whole, incredibly talented, passionate, and driven, that’s where the similarities end. These amazing students bring a wealth of experiences and perspectives to the table. Through exposure to such differing mindsets, you will find that your deeply-held assumptions begin to evolve. This should prepare you to work with a variety of people as you take on leadership roles.
- Promotes lifelong learning. Your academic journey should not end when you graduate with your MBA. Rather, this represents an exciting beginning to a new phase in life, in which you harness your passion for learning and continue to pursue new skills and knowledge. For many MBA students, this will involve seeking high-level certifications or participating in continuing education programs.
- Giving back to the community. While the MBA may seem like an inherently personal pursuit, many candidates seek this degree precisely because they want to give back. This was the leading motivation identified by a small, but important subset in a longitudinal GMAC study, with nearly one-quarter of candidates stating their intention to “increase impact on communities.” This, in turn, can be personally rewarding, as the most satisfying professional pursuits are often those that help people or communities in need.
Jobs You Can Get With an MBA
Name a career field, and you will almost certainly find at least one job opportunity that calls for (or can, in some way, benefit from) an MBA degree. Exciting opportunities exist within a variety of sectors and at all rungs on the career ladder. We’ve highlighted a few of the most compelling options below:
High-Level Corporate Positions
Pair an MBA with several years of experience in the corporate sector, and you could rise through the ranks to secure one of today’s most coveted leadership roles. These often include recognizable acronyms beginning with the term “chief,” such as:
- Chief executive officer. CEOs set the tone for how entire organizations function and are perceived. As leaders responsible for overseeing other leaders, these high-level professionals shape emerging startups, major corporations, and everything in between. This is the ultimate professional aspiration for many business school graduates.
- Chief operating officer. Day-to-day functions take a step up under the oversight of COOs, who often serve as the CEO’s second in command. These executives may take responsibility for a variety of key functions, such as marketing, sales, or production.
- Chief financial officer. Responsible for cash flow and risk management, CFOs ensure that the businesses they serve consistently remain operational and profitable. Their work often centers around extensive financial reporting, both internally and externally.
- Chief strategy officer. Heavily involved in developing and promoting corporate visions and missions, CSOs keep a close eye on the big picture. They may also act as important liaisons with outside stakeholders.
Entrepreneurship and Startup Culture
While it’s possible to achieve entrepreneurial success by navigating the school of hard knocks, this approach is certainly not advised. If you want to carve your own path as a business owner — or otherwise get involved in the exciting world of startups — you can gain a significant edge (not to mention, a stronger network) by enrolling in an MBA program. Opportunities worth considering include:
- Venture capitalist. Do you want to support high-potential initiatives? As a venture capitalist, you can provide much-needed financial support for emerging companies. Should these ventures prove successful, huge financial rewards are possible.
- Founder or co-founder. As the ultimate entrepreneurial opportunity, founding a startup allows you to bring your own unique vision to life as you turn unique ideas into profitable ventures.
- Strategy consultant. Bring unique perspectives to the table as a strategy consultant. In this role, you can identify concerns or solutions that may not immediately be evident to startup founders or other stakeholders.
Perhaps you hope to enter an MBA program following years of success in the corporate world. This approach allows you to address any existing gaps in knowledge or leadership skills while continuing to draw on the impressive resume and skill set you have already developed. Equipped with your MBA, you may find it easier to secure a promotion in your niche of choice.
- Marketing manager. The most dynamic campaigns are often driven by talented marketing managers. They identify trends, handle budgetary concerns, and work with heads of other departments to coordinate strategies or contracts.
- Supply chain manager. Today’s complex logistics are carefully tracked and optimized by supply chain managers, who are charged with acquiring, producing, and distributing a variety of materials and products.
- Human resources manager. Responsible for a variety of administrative concerns, HR managers facilitate effective strategies and procedures within vital arenas such as recruitment, hiring, staffing, and compensation. The MBA often provides a step up for current HR specialists who aspire to take on leadership roles.
- IT manager. Offering much-needed oversight for a variety of technological systems, IT managers implement strict security protocols, oversee systems testing, and research trends or new technologies worth investing in.
Stand Out in a Crowd with an MBA From UTC
The right degree can dramatically improve your career prospects. UTC’s Gary W. Rollins College of Business allows you to build on this potential by entering a highly regarded MBA program. We offer both flexible and fully online formats to accommodate the needs of today’s working students. Get in touch to learn more about our MBA program and the role it could play in shaping your career path.