Is an MBA still relevant? Ask this question to several people across a variety of industries and you’ll get a number of different responses.
Is an MBA Still Relevant?
It’s a popular question these days. Even Forbes, the global media company devoted to finance, has gone back and forth on it, posting back in 2016 about reasons not to get an MBA and then posting again in 2019 about how to determine who should get an MBA.
So the question remains…is an MBA still relevant?
The answer is a clear, firm…maybe. It might just depend on your chosen industry and career goals.
The myth that everyone needs an MBA to “make it” in business has been debunked time and again, but are there still really good reasons to pursue your MBA? Read about some reasons why alumna Elaine Ruh pursued her MBA.
Why Should I Get an MBA?
Specialized for Your Career Goals
The modern MBA can be specialized to suit your needs. In fact, many programs have core courses that align with both the university’s philosophies along with industry-required skills. Then, outside of this core content, you can choose the path that best aligns with your goals. These different paths we call specializations, which are a great way to show competency within your industry. For example, Concordia University offers 14 specializations for the MBA program. These specializations build expertise that translates into greater impact in your field and stronger outcome potential.
Grow your skill set
Taking MBA courses gives you the dedicated time and space to dabble in different areas. If you’re already in finance, you’ll have a chance to explore management or marketing at a high level, for example. If you’re pivoting in your career, an MBA can be a great way to solidify your skill set so that future employers understand that you’re competent in business administration.
Beyond the subject matter, getting your MBA can help you develop other skills, too. You will experience significant growth as a communicator throughout your time as an MBA student. Whether it’s written communication through research papers and discussion posts or it’s verbal communication in presentations and discussions, expect to grow as a communicator.
In addition to communication, you’ll grow in your understanding of data. Business Analytics is a buzzword these days, and for good reason. You should expect to be challenged when it comes to working with data. After all, you can expect to be responsible for some level of data analysis and communicating your findings to a variety of stakeholders in the future.
What experience are you hoping for?
Understanding your why is critical to your success in any graduate program. Working out why you want to pursue an MBA enables you to focus on the habits that will lead to your successful outcome and keep you motivated. You will need to set aside time specifically for growth in business-related skills. While that may sound intimidating, it also can be really freeing. When you have classes to attend and deadlines to meet, it’s a commitment to bettering yourself. Leadership formation and personal growth happen gradually and over time.
While the coursework is central, a lot of the learning and personal growth during your MBA happens through networking and interacting with classmates. Everybody brings their own life experience, knowledge, and story with them to class. By engaging in class discussions, whether virtual or in-person, you will broaden your mindset. You’ll have to remember how to organize your ideas logically and disagree charitably. When hearing your classmates share their work or their perspectives, you’ll be growing as a listener and a thinker.
Learn from Industry Experts
Additionally, relationship-building goes beyond your peers. Many MBA professors are adjunct professors, and that’s usually because they’re current, industry professionals. You have a front-row seat to watch an industry expert teach from their own experience in the field. These professors teach in their spare time because they love what they do, and they’re passionate about inspiring and preparing the next group of leaders.
Networking opportunities make an MBA extremely relevant today. While networking can be more straightforward these days due to LinkedIn and other social media advances, often connecting directly with a guest speaker from your Strategic Management course or interviewing for an internship your professor recommended can open up opportunities for you that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
Yes, an MBA is still relevant! But is an MBA relevant for you?
Hopefully, by now, you have the understanding to answer this question. If not, tell us your story, and we can advise you through our industry knowledge whether or not the MBA meets your personal and professional goals.
This blog was originally published on October 27, 2020. It has been updated to reflect current information.