For professionals looking to move into senior management roles, an MBA is becoming an increasingly popular strategy to gain an edge over their peers.
However, anyone considering taking on an MBA should consider how valuable the qualification will be to them.
Depending on your industry and role, an MBA could represent a sound investment of time and resources, but this will not be the case for all professionals.
The first thing to consider is that an MBA isn’t a quick win; it’s a very time intensive and costly qualification that isn’t suitable for everyone.
“MBA qualifications can be of value but professionals taking them need to be at the right stage in their career," said Marcus Blackburn, Director at Robert Walters.
"For more junior professionals, an MBA may not be the most effective investment, with professional qualifications specific to your industry often being more valuable early in your career."
"For those that do decide to enroll they need to appreciate that the bulk of what they learn will be outside of the classroom.”
Your professors are valuable industry contacts
In business school, many of the professors are leading business professionals who have held influential posts at blue chip organisations. Others have launched startups in various industries.
"Having these individuals as contacts can be hugely beneficial to your career. Ensure that you take the opportunity to build strong professional relationships with your professors, in addition to the academic aspects of your qualification," added Marcus.
You can attend interesting events through your MBA course
Make the most of events organised by the University to develop your knowledge and experience.
You will have the opportunity to attend seminars, discussion panels, workshops, or book signings that you would have not otherwise have access to.
These experiences can expose you to new ways of thinking and different business ideas as well as offering the opportunity to network and make valuable business contacts.
Your fellow classmates are great additions to your network
MBA classes are filled with people who want to better themselves, advance their careers, and achieve great things. Since you are all in it together, there is a sense of camaraderie that you don’t get in most other situations.
"Your classmates can form the basis of an entirely new contact network, one that is likely to span a range of indsutries and professions," continued Marcus.
"The opportunity you will have to work collaboratively with these individuals can help to produce exceptional business relationships outside of the classroom that can be utilised for greater career progression."
Having an MBA increases your credibility
While 'real world' experience is still hugely important, by having an MBA you will benefit from some degree of increased credibility.
Earning the qualification is an achievement in itself, but it also implies that you are an expert in your field, and that you have a certain level of dedication and work ethic.
"This increased credibility can be extremely valuable when are looking to progress your career and take on a more senior role," Marcus commented.
"In many cases, the jump from junior to senior manager can be among the most challenging in your career, and an MBA can be an effective tool to demonstrate your ability to take on the increased responsibility."
Having an MBA makes you more suitable for leadership roles
Not every business leader or executive has an MBA. However, it may be easier to assume or be considered for leadership roles if you have an MBA education behind you.
While enrolled in an MBA program, you will study leadership, business, and management philosophies that can be applied to almost any leadership role.
An MBA will give you greater earning potential
While not everyone will end up on a higher salary once they have their MBA, the statistics suggest it does help increase your earning potential.
At London Business School, recent MBA graduates landed average salaries that exceeded their pre-MBA pay by 149%. At the University of Oxford, the increase was 132.2%, and at The London School of Economics Business it was 122.2%.
"There is no doubt an MBA can help your career but it’s important to consider whether you are at right level of seniority to make the most of it, have the time to complete it, and have the disposable income to afford it," Marcus added.
"If you can’t answer a convincing yes to all of the above it might be worth thinking twice."
Are you earning what you should be? Request a free copy of the Robert Walters Salary Survey.