How useful is an MBA? |

How useful is an MBA?

By Aisha K

Updated March 24, 2023 Updated March 24, 2023

Widely viewed as one of the most sought after postgraduate qualifications, the allure of the MBA attracts professionals from a variety of industries and backgrounds.  

But with average fees of £51,625 for full-time programmes, along with the significant amount of time and discipline required during your studies, you may be wondering if an MBA is worth the cost and effort. 

Whether you want to launch your own startup or secure a senior leadership position, here are four ways an MBA education can prove useful.  

High return on investment 

Arguably, one of the biggest benefits of studying an MBA is the increase in earning potential which can offset tuition fees.  

According to a 2022 survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), MBA graduates working at US companies will earn a median annual salary of US$115,000 compared to US$75,000 for bachelor’s degree holders.  

Hiring projections also remain strong with 97 percent of US-based recruiters expecting their demand for business school graduates to increase or remain stable over the next five years.  

As well as gaining business knowledge from industry experts, a high ROI can also come down to the dedicated careers services provided at many business schools.  

WHU (Otto Beisheim), ranked as the third best business school in Germany in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2023, helps its students find strong graduate outcomes through outlining a career path that matches their personal ambitions. 

A spokesperson from the school said: “We offer a ‘Triple M Career Roadmap’ which is broken up into three parts:  

  1. The ‘me’ part, helps students to identify their VIPS (values, interests, personality, and skills). They are asked to complete a range of self-assessment tools and are offered individualised sessions with a coach who will support them throughout their MBA journey.   

  1. The ‘market’ part is all about getting to know the market and potential employers, especially in Germany. The students learn about the requirements of different industries, companies and about their cultures and hiring practices. They learn how to conduct research, network effectively and create a strong online presence.   

  1. The ‘match’ part is about matching students with the market. Once they know what their VIPS are and what they want their next career step to be, they learn how to create effective CVs and cover letters suited for the German market. Mock interview sessions with their coaches prepare them for real-world situations so that they can make their next career move with confidence.” 

Networking opportunities 

Cohorts are often made up of nationalities from all over the world, meaning students can understand diversity of perspectives and make useful connections.  

Konstantin Magaletskyi, a recipient of a QS scholarship and graduate of the MBA programme at Chicago Booth, said the relationships he formed during his MBA proved to be invaluable in his career.  

“I co-founded my own private equity firm which focuses on green investments. During my MBA, I was discussing launching a green recovery fund with a classmate  from Chicago Booth. 16 years later, that classmate became my business partner, so it’s been great to see how our shared interest has come to fruition in the long term” he said.  

Career change 

An MBA can be a great asset if you want to progress in your current role or move to a new industry, particularly if you’re from a non-business background. Dean Mark Nelson from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business, said: “On occasion, we’ll come across tech professionals, for example, on our EMBA programmes who got promoted to managing teams and products. While they’re an excellent individual contributor and an expert in the field, they don’t have much knowledge of accounting, finance, or marketing, and yet they’re expected to make those decisions. 

“Studying an MBA is a clear indication that you’re willing to invest in yourself. When you have someone with managerial experience and you add an MBA qualification and a Cornell network of almost 300,000 alumni, it’s a great position to be in if you want to move up or change industry” Mark said.   

Broader skill-set 

In addition to business-specific knowledge, the intensive nature of the MBA can facilitate learning of soft skills that are crucial in the workplace.  

Team-based learning can help raise awareness on topics such as diversity and inclusion, according to Dr Manoj Thomas, EMBA Director at the SC Johnson College of Business. “We’ve realised that a lot of sensitivities about diversity issues come up in team-based activities.  

“Unlike a corporate setting, students are assigned to a team and are working together all day, often in shorter, intense periods. If a team member says that they feel excluded, that becomes a very powerful way of giving feedback to the rest of the team to reflect on why that person may feel that way. That type of experiential learning is valuable when it comes to recognising issues on diversity and inclusion in the workplace” he said. 

This article was originally published in March 2023 .

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