NFL Players Tackle The MBA

Why An MBA Is Still Valuable

You might be dissuaded to pursue an MBA following the recent plunge in applications.

But experts say an MBA still stands as one of the best ways to open doors to opportunities down the road.

Darren Ravens, an author at Mail & Guardian, recently outlined a few reasons why it’s still a good idea to pursue an MBA despite the recent decline in applications.

Making A Difference

The MBA cohort today is vastly different than it was in the past. Today’s MBA cohort comprises of individuals with strong social and environmental consciousness.

According to GMAC’s 2016 Global Graduate Management Education Segmentation Study, 12% of MBA applicants are driven to make a difference.

Surrounding yourselves around those willing to make a difference is huge.

Experts say an MBA can open the door to networking opportunities.

“The degree is important, no doubt, but success is also rooted in how students capitalize on the opportunities during their MBA studies that can make the difference,” MBA grad Chris Szpryngel writes in a Wired article. “Specifically, the student’s ability to network efficiently with the right people, in and out of the classroom.”

Versatility In Skills

On top of networking, experts say the MBA gives individuals a solid foundation in a variety of skills.

“Unlike many postgraduate programs, which are skill-specific, an MBA is versatile and the skills you learn, particularly soft skills, are readily transferable,” Ravens writes. “This will become increasingly important as the 4th Industrial Revolution takes hold.”

Moreover, today’s MBA education is encompassing of a variety of skills that go further than just quantitative finance analysis.

Ravens says the modern MBA is shifting towards “a broader focus on strategy, organizational behavior and leadership, which includes an emphasis on these softer skills.”

“Soft skills” are the ability to work within a team and among a variety of people.

According to GMAC’s annual Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, an in-depth study on what recruiters look for in MBA grads, the most in-demand skills from MBA grads are communication and teamwork.

Dr. John Mervyn-Smith, chief psychologist at The GC Index, tells the Association of MBAs that collective teamwork is necessary for long-term success.

“The key to achieving long-term success is to transform individual action into collective power. In order to do this effectively, you need to not only understand how you can best contribute and make an impact but also how other team members make their impact – only then will you be able to place them in the right roles and right environments.”

Making Career Jumps

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons an MBA is still valuable is its ability to open doors to new careers.

A 2016 GMAC study found that 52% of alumni of MBA programs were employed in industries or job functions different than their employment prior to an MBA.

“Rebooting your career in this way is a tactical move,” Ravens writes. “Most top-tier business schools offer expert career coaching and support to help you career pivot and it is worth maximizing this opportunity. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, examine gaps in your current skill set and those needed to shift into a new role.”

Sources: Mail & Guardian, GMAC, Wired, GMAC, The GC Index, Association of MBAs