Why The MBA Is More Relevant Than Ever

In recent years, the MBA market has experienced a downturn with applications in the U.S. down nearly 25%. For many young professionals, an MBA seems out of reach in large part due to the cost of the degree.

“It might become harder and harder for some universities to justify a residential, two-year MBA because I think the time is over when people could basically just buy the three letters behind their name for their resumes,” Wharton Vice Dean Nicolaj Siggelkow in a recent interview with Poets&Quants. “That’s really hard to justify at $150,000.”

Patrick Mullane, Executive Director of Harvard Business School Online and Harvard Business School Executive Education, doesn’t disagree with that. The degree is expensive, but Mullane argues that the MBA education is well worth it. In an op-ed for Forbes, Mullane highlights some of the main benefits of an MBA and explains why the degree is more relevant than ever before.


One of the biggest benefits of B-school, Mullane argues, is the diverse environment it offers to young professionals.

“Since you’ll be in a class with varied backgrounds, you’ll connect with people who might one day become business partners,” Mullane says. “Their understanding of different disciplines will help you—and them—do more than you otherwise could. One plus one truly is greater than two in this scenario. Even if you don’t partner with classmates, you’ll have access to a network you can call on when you need expertise beyond your own.”

Diversity in thought is critical for leaders—especially if they’re intent on solving some of the world’s biggest problems.

“No challenge fits into a single lane,” Mullane says. “Want to run an organization trying to stop and reverse climate change? You better understand the chemistry of carbon, economics, project management, government, and leadership principles. Want to start a company that makes medical devices? You’ll need to know something about biology, federal regulations, marketing, and venture capital. Want to help a large tech firm develop and execute an AI strategy? Knowledge in software development, ethics, strategy, and scaling a product or service is critical.”


No other graduate program teaches leadership like MBA programs do. And that’s why, Mullane says, an MBA degree is more relevant than ever.

“The single scarcest resource on the planet today is strong, competent leadership,” Mullane says. “Imagine a world where all leaders throughout the ranks of corporations and nonprofits had outstanding leadership skills. As importantly, envision a world where our politicians had those skills. After all, business is a training ground for many elected officials. In the 117th U.S. Congress, “businessperson” is the second most cited prior profession after “public servant.” The MBA does more than most graduate degree programs to help seed the world with leaders at a time when they’re more essential than ever.”

Sources: Forbes, P&Q

Next Page: 3 key focus areas for your MBA application.

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