Life does not always work out as we expect. In fact, sometimes our outcomes exceed our expectations.
Commanding a top salary, landing a prestigious leadership role, building a professional network and making yourself more marketable throughout your career are usually the top reasons professionals pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
MBA graduates can materialize these goals and other growth benefits that enhance their personal and professional endeavors. Here are four of the benefits of earning an MBA degree:
1. You Relearn How to Think Outside the Box
MBA classes force you to sharpen the critical-thinking skills that can also help you in your personal endeavors. The GMAC 2021 Corporate Recruiters Survey reports that strategic thinking is the number one reason for confidence in business school graduates among corporate recruiters, with 74% expressing the importance of this trait. Equally important to thinking outside the box are skills in innovation, sought by 42% of recruiters.
This collection of traits falls under one umbrella: creativity. An MBA degree fosters this skill through projects that challenge students to apply a variety of methodologies. Plus, the opportunity to work with different people expands one's thinking 'toolkit' so that thinking outside the box is second nature. Social scientist Adam Galinsky found that exposure to other cultures results in higher scores on creativity tests. In one study, he found that students who had dated someone from another country became more creative, and reflecting on deep relationships with people from other cultures caused a temporary creative boost.
2. You Become a Better Problem-Solver
As mentioned above, strategic thinking is prized above all other reasons for confidence in business school graduates because it aids in problem-solving. Recruiters also value employees' ability to handle a complex global business environment, think innovatively and navigate the challenges of technological disruption, all of which relate to problem-solving competencies.
Business school professors teach specific methodologies that help to conceptualize, formulate and model difficult problems. Students learn how to attack problems from different angles and apply the techniques they learn in a safe setting, rather than experiment on the job and risk losing their jobs. Additionally, MBA students learn how to verify that solutions are effective, validate their findings, implement them and continuously improve their approaches.
Of course, these skills transcend the workplace and boardroom; they apply to all facets of life, like dealing with personal relationships, health and fitness and contributing to the larger community through social causes. Problems exist in every facet of our lives, and problem-solvers are exceedingly valuable in any context.
3. Your Worldview Expands
New ideas, exposure to international case studies and even diversity among your MBA peers expands your worldview beyond your everyday life. As previously mentioned, 48% of recruiters value business school graduates for their ability to handle a complex global business environment. In addition, recruiters value knowledge of general business functions, managing human capital and understanding human behavior, which are all key components of a well-developed worldview.
In your current position, you may be limited to a particular industry and role, but an MBA program expands your worldview with exposure to a broad swath of industries and roles, as well as through international case studies. Exposure to various faculty, alumni and peers in business school also develops your sense of perspective. Graduates often find that working with people from different backgrounds enhances their existing personal relationships and gives them the interpersonal skills they need to connect with others in more meaningful ways.
4. You Create Meaningful Friendships
Building a solid professional network is surely a perk of business school, and business leaders far along in their careers often credit their MBA degrees with helping them develop friendships that enriched their personal lives as well as their careers. MBA programs offer networking events hosted by clubs, associations and employers; student-led conferences; industry association events and affinity networks — all of which provide fertile ground for cultivating long-term relationships that last a career. When you cultivate the skills and confidence it takes to cement strong bonds with people, this benefit carries over into your personal and family life.
Sometimes we find out later on in life that the decisions we made earlier were more profoundly life-improving than we ever thought possible. An MBA program might be this opportunity you need.
Learn more about the University of North Carolina at Pembroke's online Master of Business Administration program.
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