In addition to signaling to the professional world that you are proficient in various business management disciplines, an MBA provides a means to advance or change a career.
While we (and probably everyone you've talked to) will offer advice and suggestions as to the factors that will make the MBA valuable in your career, only you can properly assess the benefit the degree offers you. The MBA is an expensive investment, but the benefits (or scholarships) can outweigh the costs. You need to carefully assess your financial situation and readiness to make this investment that could reap incalculable dividends well into the future. Most importantly, you need to have a clear goal before you set out on your journey, not only for personal reasons but also because business school applications include essays intended to assess your readiness for and objectives in applying to that particular school. The major factors that have impacted the decisions of many of our former students are:
Developing leadership and social intelligence
One advantage of business school is that it allows you to polish your soft skills, such as active listening and persuasion, while flexing your analytical, cognitive, and quantitative muscles. Leveraging or balancing your strengths with obvious developmental areas within a team or group setting often results in amazing growth and professional insight. Many business schools create opportunities to explore the different structures that are common to business, providing students ample opportunities to work in teams, as manager or as a team member. These experiences allow you to develop the managerial skills that help people excel in business.
Building stronger network affiliations
MBA programs incorporate many activities and events that create opportunities to build relationships that will last long after you have completed your studies. This exposure to new friends and business colleagues who share similar interests and goals can pay dividends for the rest of you career and life. Business school will greatly increase personal and professional networks.
Collaborating with diverse professionals
One of the most important components of a rewarding business school experience is your ability to work cooperatively in groups of smart people ranging from as small as 25 to upwards of 90 students. Whatever your preference, your success will be tied to your capacity to work in teams made up of really bright people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse points of view. If you are a soloist used to working alone, business school may not work for you.
Learning in a structured environment
While the experience and education gained in the workforce are necessary and valuable, the workplace is not particularly conducive to intellectual exploration. As you find the need to develop new skills in order to get the position you want or start the business of your dreams, the opportunity to explore business in a structured learning environment that an MBA offers grows in appeal. In business school, you can acquire the knowledge and expertise you do not have and cannot gain on the job from brilliant faculty and intellectually stimulating peers.
Gaining greater financial flexibility
Having an MBA, and most advanced degrees, enables you to command a higher salary in most industries or professions. However, most people with an MBA are compensated according to industry standards that vary depending on their academic background and work experience. Since standards vary based on industry, MBA holders with similar credentials will earn widely varying compensation depending upon their chosen industry and the perceived value they bring to the company or firm. Much depends on the industry and your ability to negotiate your compensation package upon receiving one or multiple offers. Be sure to investigate your desired profession for the role played by the MBA and the earning potential it may bring.
We recommend that you talk to a mentor or a person who holds the position you want after completing business school so that you can learn what elements most influenced his or her decisions. There are also a great number of websites that discuss the process of applying to business school and the value of an MBA. These discussions range from personality assessment tools to preparing for business school and careers. We have compiled a list of them on the left margin of the page.
There are also several popular periodicals that will help you better understand industry and political trends. As you apply to business school, you will come in contact with admissions officers, students, alumni, other applicants, and business leaders. It is important to be aware of trends in your field in order to hold engaging conversations with these current and future leaders of industry. Reading these publications will also help you with your critical thinking, writing, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
Click here to view a list of the more popular and widely recognized business publications.
- Black Enterprise Magazine
- Business Week
- The Economist
- Fast Company
- The Financial Times
- Hispanic Business Magazine
- Institutional Investor
- International Financing Review
- Investment Dealer’s Digest
- Investor Business Daily
- MBA Magazine
- The New York Times
- Red Herring
- The Wall Street Journal