What Is an MBA, Really, and Is It Any Good?

mba education businessEveryone in business recognizes those three valuable letters: MBA. They highlight a person’s education and achievement; they unlock doors to prominent positions; and they initiate a person into a world filled with wealth and prestige. Indeed, everyone knows the results of obtaining an MBA – but almost no one truly understands what an MBA is or what it takes to get one.

A Master of Business Administration is an advanced business degree that equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in business. Yet, despite the hundreds of posts around the internet that laud the extensive relevance of MBA degrees, not everyone in the world should devote time, money, and energy to pursuing one. To learn whether you would benefit from earning an MBA, you should use this helpful guide to everything MBA.

What You Learn From an MBA

The primary goal of an MBA is to prepare a student for a career in administration. As opposed to more technical degrees that give students skills to design, build, or otherwise create products or complete projects, an MBA degree helps students become successful business leaders – which means giving them the tools to manage budgets, organize operations, and oversee other aspects of business. The three most important areas of study tend to be finance, marketing, and leadership.

Finance. Fundamentally, a business exists to make money. However, business leaders must know how to acquire and invest money before profits can grow. MBA programs have courses in accounting, economics, and business finance to help students manage money effectively.

Marketing. An awareness of the importance of marketing has only developed in the past few decades, but now marketing is an essential skill for business leaders. Marketing campaigns are increasingly complex, so MBA courses in digital marketing, advertising, and branding are exceedingly useful.

Leadership. Many leaders are born, but many more leaders are made. MBAs prepare students to serve as leaders by imbuing them with valuable skills including communication, motivation, credibility, and more. Even in online MBAs, students practice leading teams of workers to accomplish goals.

What You Gain During and After

online mbaBusiness-related knowledge and skills aren’t the only benefits of earning an MBA. In fact, knowledge and skill aren’t the only tools business leaders need to find success. During and after achieving an advanced business degree, students are given opportunities to experiment with their business ideas, cultivate an extensive and valuable network of contacts, and improve their prospects for employment and lifelong earnings.

Sandbox. For many students interested in becoming entrepreneurs, MBA programs offer a sandbox environment for pitching and refining business ideas and concepts. Using expertise from professors and peers, students can perfect their plans and make mistakes without fear of lasting repercussions.

Network. In business, knowing the right people is often as important as knowing the right information. Business schools are ideal environments for making connections with valuable professionals, including instructors and fellow students. Later, students can use their networks to find open positions, acquire funding, and get advice.

Career. MBAs typically begin their post-graduation careers in management positions that earn them at least 50 percent more than their pre-MBA jobs. After just five years of work, that number increases to about 80 percent.

Is It Worth It?

The benefits of MBA programs are compelling, but not everyone will experience these benefits even after earning the degree. If you don’t have a deep desire for a career in business, particularly the administration side of business, you might feel more fulfillment from other advanced degree programs. MBAs tend to be practical rather than theoretical, so those interested in learning for the sake of learning might prefer other degree tracks. MBA programs can be costly, and those who don’t plan on putting their knowledge and skill to work will waste their time and money.

However, if you have experience in a business environment, want to improve your prospects and earning potential, enjoy the responsibilities of leadership, and are dedicated to completing a two-year program, an MBA is right for you. Hopefully, this guide has helped you learn about those three crucial letters and whether they will bring you success.

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