Most people decide to study for an MBA after mature consideration and careful planning.
As we proceed in the list of reasons “for” and “against” enrollment, one encouraging point that is worth noting is the continuing dynamics of the MBA labor market. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of opportunities for graduates worldwide increased by 13%, which is not far from the long-term average of 15%, which has been recorded in the annual QS reports since 1990.
It is always helpful to get an idea of why people choose to study for an MBA instead of other forms of business education or professional qualifications. To help you with the “pro” check, here are the seven most common reasons why candidates choose to study for an MBA, based on the answers provided in the QS survey among candidates.
Speed up your career and change your job
It’s no surprise that most MBA applicants apply because they want to improve their career prospects. More than 63% of QS candidates surveyed chose this as their main motivation, with 58% citing managerial or leadership as their immediate career goal after earning an MBA.
A career change after completing an MBA also appears to be a growing trend, whether intentional or not. On an imaginary scale, 40% of applicants choose to study for an MBA because they want to change the industry in which they work, their job function, the place where they work, or a combination of these three factors. A doctor can earn an MBA to do less practice and instead focus on senior management. Someone who works in corporate finance can use an MBA degree to move into investment banking.
In cases where the economy or business is disrupted, an MBA qualification can give students more flexibility by opening up more opportunities for them.
Gain new skills
The MBA has undergone some transformation in the last few decades, as top business schools are transforming their business management degree programs to tailor course content to the evolving demands of employers and the global economy. In the past, MBA studies have focused more on hard skills and quantitative analysis in areas such as operations and finance, and graduates have been “perceived as short-sighted data-centric officials.”
The four skills that today’s MBA employers place special emphasis on are: interpersonal, leadership, strategic thinking, and communication skills. For 59% of applicants who say they want to acquire new skills, it is gratifying that it is top business schools that focus on teaching what is relevant and what is in demand. MBA graduates entering employment today are likely to be better equipped as leaders, communicators and business strategists because they have a developed set of soft skills.
Increasing your salary potential and return on investment
Students naturally want a return on their investment, yet less than a third (30%) of MBA applicants said a salary increase was the main reason for studying an MBA. Salary is still the driving force because candidates want a return on investment, but personal values come into play a lot. People want to work for companies that they admire and share the same values with. Calculating the financial side of your MBA return on investment is not an exact science and depends on many factors, such as the salary you give up when you leave your current job, the cost of the MBA program you ultimately choose, measured by the salary you graduate from. you achieve.
According to a 2020 survey by QS on the return on investment in MBA studies, the vast majority of applicants have a higher salary after graduation. In North America, for example, full-time students will be reimbursed for an average of 44 months. In Europe, where programs are often a year shorter than their North American equivalents, this number drops to 30 months. Based on an extensive analysis, the average pre-graduate salary increase for full-time MBA students in Europe is 84%, compared to 75% in North America. When considering the return on investment in an MBA, it is again important to take into account the different length of the program and the class profiles in the two regions.
Start your own business
Approximately 31% of applicants have decided to study for an MBA because they are considering starting their own business and would like to acquire entrepreneurial knowledge in order to be able to start their project with a certain degree of certainty. Business specialization is offered by many top business schools, and more and more institutions seem to be meeting the demand of students by building innovation centers and laboratories for start-ups, where professionals can provide support and advice and colleagues can brainstorm.
Top business schools and professional network development
Half of the applicants cite building a professional network among the main reasons why they apply for an MBA, which is probably a very far-sighted motive. It is estimated that up to 85% of today’s jobs are filled through networking. Most, if not all, business schools reasonably promote the size of their alumni network and cite it as a key selling point on their websites. Of course, the more elite the business school, the more prestigious the network.
Opportunity to change something within the organization
There are companies and organizations that are willing to partially or fully sponsor the MBA studies of their employees. The formats of part-time, online and executive MBA programs allow students to work and study simultaneously. Much of what they learn in the classroom can then be applied immediately in the workplace, which allows candidates to influence the running of the business in the first week (with the likely consent of senior management).
Of course, not all students who want to change something in their organization are sponsored by their employers – many of them self-financing. An MBA qualification can be a means of gaining promotion or developing and refining expertise to the point of accelerating business development.
MBA qualification value and self-development
The self-development and educational value of an MBA qualification is important to the vast majority of us. In the survey of applicants, these are the main motivating factors for 28% of applicants. An MBA is not just a qualification on paper, but the entire student experience; skills and new information he has learned, people and teachers he has met on his journey, relationships and knowledge that can offer career benefits in the short term and that can contribute to the success of an MBA graduate throughout life.