Are you considering studying an MBA, but you’re not sure if it’s going to be worth the time and money?
An MBA is a big investment. As well as the actual cost of the degree, you have to factor in your loss of working capacity, and the stress of juggling full time study with part time work for the duration of the course.
You want to know that when you graduate, all your hard work, time and money is going to pay off.
Of course, every person’s situation is different. If you already have ample opportunities to advance within your company, enrolling in an MBA may be unnecessary. The good news if you’re studying an MBA is that all the latest research points towards ‘it’s worth it!’
Here’s what the studies tell us, about what you stand to gain from your MBA.
1. You will earn more with an MBA than without an MBA
Research by Relish and TransparentCareer published earlier this year found a surprisingly higher gap between the earning capacity of MBA students before and after graduation.
The study aggregated more than 11,000 self-reported salary data points from MBA students and graduates worldwide, who use the Relish MBA specific, job-finding site. Data was captured showing salaries of students before they entered business school and after they graduated, between 2009 and 2018.
On average, MBA graduates saw a salary jump of $36,742. Overall, users of the site reported a pre-MBA salary of $79,505 and an average post-MBA salary of $116,248. That’s almost a 50% increase. Even in low paying industries, graduates experienced significant salary increases.
Just when you think that news is good, wait until you see the Australia specific results of the QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2019. Australia has come in at number 5 in the top 10 countries worldwide for graduate MBA salaries.
According to that study, graduates in Australia earn on average up to 77% more after gaining an MBA!
2. Your career will progress faster with an MBA
Every year, the Graduate Management Admission Council conducts a survey of thousands of global MBA alumni, assessing the impact that their education has had on their careers. The results found that an overwhelming majority of business school graduates reported faster career progression than their peers without MBAs. Overall:
- 86% found that they progressed faster than their peers who did not go to graduate business schools, because of the skills they developed during their qualification.
- 84% found that they progressed faster than those without MBAs, because of the added credibility of having a qualification itself.
- 70% of graduates say they would not have obtained their current job without the skills, knowledge and abilities obtained via their MBA.
- 39% of graduates are now working in an industry different to the one they worked in prior to their MBA, and say their course helped them to break into their new field.
3. Good MBAs teach soft skills that employers want
The economy is undergoing incredible changes, such as the growing importance of data, AI and diversity in workplace culture. For businesses to survive these changes, they need managers equipped with ‘soft skills,’ (such as communication, empathy, problem-solving, relationship management and creative thinking) who are confident and flexible leaders in the face of uncertainty.
The Financial Times 2018 MBA Skills Gap Survey asks employers from 72 of the world’s largest firms for information on what skills they look for in MBA graduates.
The result? Instead of looking for employees with competence in specific, task-based areas such as financial management or strategic planning, the top 5 skills that employers identified were all ‘soft skills’:
- Ability to work in a team
- Ability to work with a wide variety of people
- Ability to solve complex problems
- Ability to build, sustain and expand a network of people
- Time management and the ability to prioritise
Old school MBA programs used to focus on technical skills like accountancy, but no longer. These days, any MBA program worth it’s price tag focuses instead on fostering these transferrable leadership skills that are so in demand.
A typical MBA will include group assignments, problem solving projects and other activities that develop these soft skills. In fact, MBAs graduates are in demand for precisely this reason: MBA courses of today teach soft skills. Unlike more specialist degrees, an MBA education is broad, diverse, and focused on people, communication and leadership.
A Torrens MBA, for example, challenges students to complete a range of group practical projects delivered through subjects such as Dynamic Leadership or Management, People and Teams.
4. Your MBA will give you access to networks you need to find work
Several studies conducted over the last several years have confirmed what everyone already knew intuitively: that people mostly get jobs through their networks. The exact numbers differ, but it’s clear that networks are essential to a successful career.
One LinkedIn survey states that 85% of jobs are secured via networking as opposed to other avenues. Another survey by ABC media in America sets the figure at 80%, while yet another Australia-specific survey states it could be anywhere between 60-80% of all jobs in the country.
An MBA is an incredibly valuable way to develop professional networks, and MBA students know this.
In fact, in one 2017 Financial Times survey of 9000 Alumni, networking is stated as the third main reason that students enrol in an MBA in the first place, after ‘the education itself’, and ‘increased earnings’. Between 50 – 60% of students said that they used their MBA networks to secure work after graduation.
An MBA offers students networking opportunities in several different ways.
- Other students
- Professors and teaching staff
- Industry partners and industry events
- Internships and work placement opportunities
- Alumni networks
Of course, when it comes to providing networking opportunities, not all MBAs are equal. Just because a school has a list of illustrious Alumni on their website, doesn’t mean you’ll be actively connected with them via any official program.
Make sure before you enrol that your MBA of choice offers internship opportunities, a supportive team of staff and has an active alumni network in operation.