By Michele Paludi and Maribeth Gunner Pulliam
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years? Do you picture yourself applying your leadership skills to direct an organization’s vision? Are you someone who enjoys applying data analytics to solve organizational problems? Do you want a career in consulting to improve organizations’ performance and business systems? If you answered “yes” to any of these statements, pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is the career path for you.
An MBA is essential for pursuing several management-and leadership-related careers, including: human resources vice president, supply chain manager, management consultant, social media consultant, project manager, accountant, marketer, and security risk analyst. Employees with MBAs work in health care, nonprofits, hospitality, government, education, military, sports, manufacturing, and international development. The MBA is designed to provide a quality education to facilitate career advancement, especially for those who work in middle management positions in business, the private sector, the public sector, and in nonprofits.
An MBA positions individuals for success; this degree provides the skills and competitive edge needed to accomplish ones’ career goals. Employees with MBAs are high in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment of management-related occupations will grow 6 percent from 2014–2024, resulting in approximately 506,000 new jobs. In addition, organizations planning to hire MBA graduates are up: four out of five organizations want to hire MBAs!
MBAs also command higher salaries. The Graduate Management Admission Council noted in its 2015 research that the median starting salary for new MBA graduates in the United States was $100,000. The Council also reported this figure was an increase of 5.3 percent over the previous year and double the salary of graduates with only a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, MBA students are promoted earlier than peers, have the skills to become an entrepreneur and/or consultant, and have skills to transition to several fields.
What courses are typically covered in an MBA curriculum? All the different functions and activities within an organization, e.g.: accounting, finance, operations management, marketing, leadership, organizational behavior, human resources management, entrepreneurship, ethics, managerial economics, quantitative analyses, and global business. The curriculum offers the requisite theories, research, decision-making skills and ethics to fit into the business community. MBA students learn how to critically analyze case studies, solve complex business problems, and deal with ambiguity. There are also opportunities to have a concentration within the MBA in an area of interest, e.g., human resources, leadership, and accounting. Concentrating within a specialized area shows prospective employers mastery in one or more aspects of business.
MBA graduates have a large skill set, including effective communication and teamwork, that are highly desirable by employers across industries. These versatile skills make them effective in addressing organizational needs with a thorough understanding of ways their unique role impacts the entire organization. Furthermore, MBA students think strategically and globally in all aspects of business. An added benefit students receive from MBA programs is the development of a business network that will assist them with skill enhancement, as well as exposure to different cultures and business practices.
With an MBA, students are able to communicate and perform ethically and professionally in business situations, and can integrate various roles of accounting, marketing, finance, management, and economics into strategic business analysis. Students can investigate real-world business problems and generate recommendations for action. If your interests and abilities are focused in advancing in the field of business, and you want a career trajectory that allows for continued growth, opportunity, and success, consider an MBA.