MBA: Is it worth the effort
A Master of Business Administration or MBA is a degree course that usually takes two years to complete on a full time basis. Over the past two decades it has become the gold standard for degrees that will serve to enhance a junior executive’s career in management. It has become widely relied upon by UK and European businesses to keep their staff in step with the latest advancements in business development.
But is an MBA, which takes up a lot of time and is one of the most expensive degree courses on offer, worth the effort? Some colleges try to demonstrate its value by showing the increase in salary to be expected by their graduates over a period of tree or five years post-graduation. That unfortunately does not take into account the fact that ambitious and clever individuals might be achieving such increases without a degree.
What is an MBA? Essentially an MBA is designed to help graduates adapt their business management practice to a wide variety of situations, thus preparing them for any eventuality. Style and methodology of teaching differ from one provider to the next, but broadly speaking assessments are usually based on assignments; individual and group presentations, as well as exams.
Studying for an MBA is an expensive undertaking. At the top end, amongst UK and European course providers, it could be as high as £57,000 for a two year full time course. Course structure can vary depending on the institution and type of course. There are Full-time courses as well as part-time courses that are more suitable for executives who are already employed and want to set some time aside, usually evenings, to complete the course. Business schools encourage, some of them require, applicants with actual work experience (typically between 3-10 years) to join their programmes because they would be most likely to benefit from the degree.
So what are the benefits? Well, there are many, beginning with an almost immediate increase in salary. In fact salaries could almost double over a period of five years after graduation. Another benefit is greater networking opportunities. The MBA classroom is an ideal place to meet like-minded people and potential business partners. At the very least the degree should lead to a general improvement in the general understanding of business and management. It could also open up many career opportunities and promotion to executive levels of management.
A lot depends on the attitude and needs of the students current employers. Some of them would be hoping that their executives would gain new insights that would help their businesses while others might be seeking to retrain people for roles if they are restructuring their companies.
Understanding what the employer needs before embarking on a major commitment like gaining an MBA, is therefore vital for career progression. However, the general consensus is that regardless of the multitude of varying circumstances, the MBA degree is well worth the effort and would lead to an almost immediate improvement of career prospects.
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