What Employers Want From MBA Graduates

Executives Say An MBA May Still Have Value 

There are many ways to maximize the value of an MBA. Getting involved in extracurriculars, networking with professionals, and exploring academics are a few ways one can make sure their MBA is put to good use, Stacey Blackman—owner of a leading MBA admissions advisory—says. However, one of the best ways is to seek advice from those who have already done it.

Ilana Kowarski, an education reporter at U.S. News, recently spoke with four executives on their takeaways from their MBA experiences.

Nicole Sahin is CEO of Globalization Partners, an employment services firm. She earned her MBA at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Sahin says MBA students should seek significant work experience prior to starting an MBA program. In pursuing work experience before starting an MBA, students can use the knowledge they gain from experience to succeed in their courses.

Sahin started her career in the non-profit sector only to realize that an MBA in the for-profit sector could be just as meaningful in offering a positive contribution to society. She became an entrepreneur in order to make her impact. “Business doesn’t have to be evil,” she says. “You can choose what kind of company you work for and what kind of company you build.”

Les Williams is chief revenue officer at Risk Cooperative, an insurance brokerage firm. Williams earned his MBA at Harvard Business School, where he says he learned the value of “staying silent in a business conversation unless you have something significant to say.” Taking control and learning to speak sparingly in MBA courses gave Williams’ words more weight for professors and classmates to take him seriously.

His advice? Network as much as you can during your time at business school. “It gives you a really big network so whatever you are interested in down the road, it will take you there,” he says.

Dave Wright is the Managing director in the private banking and investment group at Merrill Lynch. Wright earned his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His takeaway from his MBA was to spent time with classmates who inspired him. “One of the terrific benefits of business school is that it surrounds you with people who are driven, and it raises your game,” Wright says.

Wright advises students to look at their MBA as an investment. It’s expensive, but Wright is a “huge proponent” of the degree. “It broadens your skill set and surrounds you with like-minded people who will push you further and higher, but it definitely requires some sacrifice,” he says.

Peter Faricy, Vice president of Amazon Marketplace, an e-commerce platform owned by Amazon, agrees. Faricy got an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Although an MBA can be expensive and a huge commitment, Faricy says the degree is the smartest move for aspiring executives. “If you enjoy business roles and you want to do this for the long haul, I put the MBA in the no-brainer category,” he says.

An MBA isn’t a golden ticket to the top. With preparation and planning, one can ensure they make the most of their investment.

Sources: US News, US News

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