Many mid-managers across the world, probably even before they become one, envision a near future milestone to pursue an MBA. A Masters of Business Administration is considered the highest accolade degree you can achieve, unless you are interested in research (in which case, it is the obvious PhD).
The MBA was first founded at Harvard Business School in 1908, which already gives you an idea of its novelty, followed by introducing Case Studies in the program in 1924.
From its onset, the core reason why candidates looked to pursue an MBA was to develop or enhance job-friendly skills. Of course there are now multiple reasons to aim for one, so let’s discuss some fundamental aspirations to pursue an MBA.
It is said that candidates looking to change an industry and/or job function and/or location crave an MBA degree. Although to a large extent that is true, there are other factors that can drive you to chase an MBA.
1. Developing Management Skills
It is most critical to acknowledge the goal of pursuing an MBA, which comes down to speedy career development. Although the MBA is no shortcut, not a cheap one at that, it does help develop numerous skills that are a must for the next leap in one’s career, such as leadership, communication, team work, entrepreneurship or even strategic thinking. Even more importantly, becoming internationally aware or developing marketing, finance or IT skills has become core to management skills, since you are expected to have a birds-eye perspective on any business. Through its curriculum, an MBA is formulized for you to gain these soft and hard skills.
2. Achieving your next Ideal Role
It might be a simplistic conclusion that MBA graduates are expecting salary enhancement, but it might be wrongful to assume they are not. Somewhere in the overlap, what an MBA graduate is really looking for is the perfect next role, which is a notch above the last and could likely not be achieved without surpassing the milestone of an MBA. This could very well mean that you are looking to vertically accelerate from your previous role, but it could also mean you are looking for the skillset to transition into another industry without intrinsic knowledge of it, and/or move horizontally to another job function. In many cases, it also means you would like to find you next role in another city or country. Nonetheless, you must have your goal in place before deciding to pursue your next role, so that you find it easier to achieve post an MBA.
3. Entrepreneurial Ambitions
Most average MBA programs boast of their 5 years work experience candidates, so many, true to form, have developed entrepreneurial desires, whether straight after an MBA or at least 10 years post-MBA. Many developing countries, particularly China and India, show a surge of startups given their growth acceleration, and yes, it might seem easy to open an entrepreneurial venture. However, it seems that more than 80% startups in India die within the first-three years of inception . Hence, not only are MBA hopefuls considering starting up ventures, they are also looking at running one successfully in the long run. The MBA is heavily relied upon to hone these skills via entrepreneurial case studies, assignments of innovative new product development and future projections, international networking opportunities, and maybe even International Entrepreneurial Competitions such as The Hult Prize.
4. Becoming a Global Leader
All of the above lead to the emergence of a Global Leader, who is a multi-cultured problem-solver at its core. These skills are mainly acquired by running leadership and other workshops parallel to the MBA program, which most schools do. Apart from that, sitting in a class that discusses global case studies with candidates from various backgrounds and industries putting forward their own perspectives and concluding a joint solution gives one vast insight into becoming global and a solution-producer at any stage of any business. Networking through an MBA program is an intense by-product, but its usage is what makes it consequential in obtaining global outlook. Whether this is internal networking through peers and professors or external through recruiters, guest lecturers and social platforms, schools create an environment that improves vision toward problem solving. This thorough skill helps most MBAs work in a post-MBA environment more readily and confidently.
The essence of pursuing an MBA might be different for different individuals, but the outcome, if the MBA is taken maximal advantage of, will directly or indirectly be a mix of all of the above.