Could an MBA Degree be the Way Forward? |

Could an MBA Degree be the Way Forward?

By QS Contributor

Updated October 13, 2017 Updated October 13, 2017

Vishnu Narayanan Suresh

While I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree in engineering, I had huge hopes of working in a ‘core sector’ job. I had dreams of solving real-world issues. Since I was an undergrad in mechanical engineering, the dreams usually revolved around designing the best engine or improving flow-efficiencies in pipes.

Some of us (maybe most of us) can relate to this sense of higher purpose during the undergrad times. But how many of us get to truly pursue that dream? For various reasons, many fresh graduates (and engineers in particular) opt to take up a job that is not strongly-related to their degree. In some cases this could be an intended choice, while in other cases it could be the outcome of the stress-filled placement season.

Such a graduate develops strong skills in his or her field of employment. These work skills and experience generally tend to make one drift away from one’s base degree. How, then, can we enhance these skills? What if we do not like the field and want to change it? What if we are unsure about where we’d like to go ahead in our work life? One potent solution to these questions is to pursue a MBA degree using the right strategies. I’ll try to explain this for each of the above scenarios.

a)  MBA specializations can help enhance value in an existing industry

MBA degrees are quite varied in terms of the content taught and in the skills imparted to the student. This is thanks to the multitude of MBA specializations available, such as finance, healthcare management, IT, non-profit, accounting, media-marketing etc. If you, as an employee in an IT company, wish to stay in the same industry but take on larger responsibilities then choosing the right suite of MBA specializations could help you advance your career.

b) An MBA can help with a career change to a different industry

You have identified an industry you’d like to be in in your next job, but your skills do not match up. A general MBA degree in itself could open up many new doors for you, but a specialized MBA course will give you additional leverage for a career change. A well-recognized example is the public/non-profit MBA, which can help to bring about a career change for any student (irrespective of background) by engendering a set of skills and tools to use core management principles to address society’s most challenging problems. Another great example would be the entrepreneurial MBA, which again gives a student a great set of tools to understand what it takes to turn an idea into a fruitful venture.

c) An MBA degree can help you find the right career path, and increase your compensation package

When you complete your MBA, the situation is similar to when you finish your undergraduate degree, in that the job offers made to you will define your career path. During the course of your MBA, you gain exposure to a wide spectrum of interests, ideas and specializations. This very exposure might help you identify the career path that most interests you. The various clubs, team events and seminars on offer will also play a helping you answer that lifelong question, “what should I do?” However, it goes without saying that you have to be open to ideas and actively participate in the above-mentioned activities/clubs! After all, without leaving one’s comfort zone and identifying your weakness and strengths, it is difficult to grow. These options therefore best fit an active, open-minded and ‘hungry’ student.

Although these are just three benefits I’ve outlined, I’m sure there are many more cases out there I’ve not talked about. The main message here is that an MBA degree can be of great value to a wide variety of candidates - I hope this article has helped you see the potential benefits of an MBA. If you’d like to discuss these in more detail please feel free to drop me a line in the comment section below.

By Vishnu Narayanan Suresh

Vishnu is a 24 year old MBA aspirant from India, currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, where he works as a senior consultant for EXL Services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Bombay. He is a keen runner, with a half marathon best time of 1 hour 52 minutes. Follow him on Tumblr.

This article was originally published in February 2014 . It was last updated in October 2017

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