An MBA offers students the chance to nurture essential business skills that will prepare them to excel in the professional world. Although these degrees have become heavily associated with those interested in working within the business sector, their coursework has considerable value for those within various industries and backgrounds.
Despite the value an MBA can offer across industries, many people are unsure about whether to pursue an MBA with a non-business background. They ask themselves, “Should I Get an MBA? Can I get an MBA without a business degree?”
Let’s explore what professionals from all backgrounds should know about the value that this degree can offer.
Can You Get an MBA Without a Business Degree?
A Master of Business Administration prepares professionals to take on leadership positions within companies and organizations, meaning the degree has traditionally been associated with business majors. This master’s-level program provides rigorous coursework around building effective organizations and often builds off what students learn as business majors during their time as undergraduates.
That does not mean, however, that only people who have pursued business majors can then go on to earn an MBA. These degrees offer considerable benefits for professionals from a variety of different backgrounds. Here is what you should know about some common misconceptions about these programs.
Common Misconceptions About MBAs and Business Majors
Here are some of the most common misconceptions people have about the value an MBA can offer professionals.
You Must Have a Business Background
One of the most common errors people make is thinking that you must have a business background to pursue an MBA. While many people who previously pursued a business major go on to earn an MBA, it is not required. People can earn an MBA with many types of backgrounds.
Only Business Majors Can Understand MBA Coursework
The coursework for an MBA will undoubtedly build upon many of the topics discussed in a business major; however, it is optional that anyone interested in an MBA has obtained an undergrad degree in business. To succeed in an MBA program, students need more analytic and reasoning skills, which they can develop through various undergraduate programs.
An MBA Is Only Useful for Business Careers
An MBA provides insight and understanding that can help professionals navigate a variety of professional paths. Not only does it help business professionals understand the intricacies of effectively operating a business, but it also can help professionals understand how to analyze business strategy, improve their business skills, and equip them to take on managerial positions. Those with an MBA may also find that they are equipped to thrive in leadership positions in a wide range of businesses, from nonprofits to multinational corporations.
Lack of Quantitative Skills Will Be a Barrier
An MBA student will learn how to analyze data and make business predictions, but that does not mean professionals have to have these skills before they begin a program. Those who have not previously studied fields that nurtured their quantitative skills will find opportunities to build their capabilities during their MBA program. Many programs will offer foundational courses to prepare students for the rigorous coursework required to graduate.
The Network Won’t Be Relevant
Some people think earning an MBA means their existing professional network will not be relevant. However, since the skills and coursework required for an MBA can be used across industries, an existing professional network will continue to hold value and can help new MBA graduates find positions in the area where they want to work.
5 Benefits of an MBA for Non-Business Majors: Why Get an MBA?
If you did not attend business school and want to earn an MBA, you will quickly discover that this course of study offers various benefits. Here are just five of the most common advantages students will discover over the course of their studies.
1. Broadened Skill Set
Earning an MBA can help students build a diverse skill set that will help them across industries. An MBA program will include coursework in management, finances, analysis, and reasoning, which benefit all graduates, regardless of the field and position they pursue after their graduation.
2. Enhanced Understanding of the Business Aspect of Any Field
An understanding of business is required for optimal operation, no matter your field. Understanding the different business components, including strategy, finance, and leadership, will help professionals regardless of the field they wish to work in.
3. Entrepreneurial Skills
Entrepreneurial skills will benefit anyone who wants to start their own business or work for a startup. The hustle and foresight that entrepreneurs need to find opportunities for business growth and development will be emphasized throughout their MBA coursework.
MBA degrees carry with them a certain amount of prestige, as employers across industries recognize the hard work and dedication that goes into successfully completing an MBA degree. Having an MBA listed on a resume can help establish that credibility when looking for a new position or seeking a promotion.
5. Increased Earning Potential
One of the most significant advantages that graduates will appreciate is the increased earning potential. Those with an MBA have an average salary potential that is 77% higher than those with only a bachelor’s degree. This increased potential comes from the insight these professionals offer regarding business development and their ability to apply their knowledge to advance the organization’s priorities.
Examples of Non-Business Majors Who Can Benefit From an MBA
Now that you can see more clearly the reasons to get an MBA for non-business professionals, let’s look more closely at some of the non-business majors who will benefit from earning an MBA. Here are just a few professionals who will find that this course of study can help them build their career path.
Engineers already have mathematical skills that they can apply to an MBA program, but they will also have opportunities to advance their soft skills. For example, an MBA can help them learn more about leadership and communication, both valuable skills that can help them advance at their engineering firms.
Engineering firms also need to find new business opportunities and ways to advance their organizations. Professionals who bring business acumen and engineering capabilities to the table can quickly become very valuable employees.
Healthcare professionals do not only have to worry about providing outstanding patient care – they also have to operate as a business. They must think about cash flow within their organizations, how to attract top talent in a competitive field, and encourage patients to choose their facility. Therefore, an MBA can help those interested in healthcare build successful teams.
Educators also need to think about teamwork, leadership, and finding new opportunities in the classroom. An MBA degree helps to nurture creative thinking, problem-solving, and analysis, which can also help educators lead more successful classrooms.
Social Sciences and Humanities Graduates
Those who studied the social sciences or humanities may work in a wide range of fields. Regardless of where they end up working, an MBA can help encourage their reasoning and analysis skills so that they can take leadership positions within their businesses and help their organizations find new ways forward.
Information technology has become a critical industry, particularly as an increasing number of businesses shift toward an online workforce. Therefore, IT firms and businesses have begun to grow. Although IT professionals often focus most of their efforts on learning the latest cybersecurity best practices and software, learning the business insight that comes from an MBA will also benefit them. The skills that come from thoughtful analysis of the coursework can help them improve their organizations. Since IT professionals will then work with business professionals, having insight into how the business leaders think can also help them connect with clients.
Artists and Designers
Artists and designers often focus on building the creative skills associated with their job opportunities. However, learning business skills can help them find clients and give them the entrepreneurial mindset they need to succeed in their artistic endeavors.
Things to Consider When Thinking About Getting an MBA as a Non-Business Major
If you are considering pursuing an MBA as a non-business major, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to determine whether the degree program will be a good fit for you.
First, think about what you want to accomplish professionally. Regardless of your respective industry, if you want to position yourself for more leadership roles or even take on the responsibility of running your own business as an entrepreneur, then an MBA can be an excellent choice.
Secondly, remember the financial investment. It does cost money to earn a master’s degree. However, the return on investment is worth it for many students. Think carefully about your financial position and whether you can reasonably invest in this advanced degree.
Earning a new degree also requires a time commitment. Professionals should consider how much time they will need to dedicate to studying and attending classes. This will help you see how the degree program could potentially fit in with your life.
As we’ve established, you don’t need to have a background in business to earn your MBA. However, you do need to prepare academically. Reviewing the type of analysis and mathematics required for your courses, watching, or taking any review courses available, and studying for any required entrance exams will require some preparation. Consider how these fit into your schedule as well.
Finally, think about your professional experiences and how they fit with the coursework for an MBA. Consider how the degree will fit with the rest of your experiences and what you want to achieve.
MBA Admissions for Non-Business Majors
Hopefully, you now see that having a non-business degree doesn’t prevent you from earning an MBA. At The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Gary W. Rollins College of Business, you will find a variety of MBA programs available, including our fully online and our in-person/hybrid program. Students can select from a number of concentrations, including finance and healthcare, to help them graduate feeling confident that they have what they need to thrive in their chosen fields.If you are ready to start your degree program, contact us at UTC now. We look forward to hearing from you.