The MBA degree has long been considered one of the most valuable out there. There are not many degrees that are virtually universally recognised around the globe. You will find that the MBA degree can open doors in countries on the other side of the world, such is its universal appeal.
However, many people have begun to question the value of the MBA in recent years. This has partly been driven by a general shift in attitudes towards the world of business, particularly with regard to perceived elitism. For many younger entrepreneurs, the notion that they must earn a particular degree in order to manage their own business flies in the face of the principle that any skilled entrepreneur can make a fortune irrespective of their background. By the standards of today, many people perceive the MBA as being archaic, even undemocratic.
However, a number of leading college deans around the world still maintain that the MBA is a very worthwhile investment. While markets in different parts of the world have had very different fortunes in recent years, the MBA has remained a solid investment for aspiring entrepreneurs.
What Do Students Learn?
During the course of studying for any university degree, students will learn a number of skills that are applicable to the world of business. For example, succeeding at university requires students to be able to manage their own time effectively, and to prioritise their workload so that they are focused on the most important tasks at hand. These same skills are called upon daily by entrepreneurs.
However, the MBA degree is unique in the depth and breadth of the lessons that it teaches students about business. The coursework for an MBA degree will involve a wide range of business-related topics. In fact, there are now MBA degrees that focus on these specific topics – MBAs that are focused on marketing or finance, for example. An MBA degree can prepare students to enter a specific industry such as the financial and banking sector, or it can prepare them to manage workers in a more general sense, equipping them with the skills that they need to lead a business in any industry.
How is the Course Structured?
The global nature of modern business means that the MBA degree has had to become similarly global. As a result, students can now choose to study an MBA in Dubai through a university in the UK, as just one example.
Not only does the advent of online degrees and distance learning mean that students can study an MBA from just about anywhere in the world, but it also means that students now have the option of studying part-time or full-time. Part-time studying is ideal for those that want to work and earn money while they complete their studies. It also provides a pathway to education for those that have traditionally been denied access. For example, if you are a single parent, then it is very difficult to make the necessary commitment to attend a campus course. Providing a part-time study option has meant that people who are, for one reason or another, physically unable to attend university, are now able to study like everyone else. As far as most leaders of industry are concerned, the more people who are able to study the MBA degree, the better.
There are two main types of part-time MBA that students can choose from. The first is the executive MBA, which is aimed at students who already have a significant amount of experience in the workplace, including at least some time in an executive or leadership role. This flavour of MBA tends to be more expensive, but is also generally taken up by students whose studies are being financed by a prospective employer.
The regular part-time MBA meanwhile, is aimed more at employees who are currently working full-time but do not yet have any experience in a leadership role.
A full-time MBA student will complete their studies much faster than a part-time student, of course. However, the number of MBA students who are in a position to study full-time is relatively small. Most of those with an interest in pursuing the MBA are already in work.
Who Should Study an MBA?
For entrepreneurs who aspire to work in a leadership or management role, the MBA is unquestionably a good investment. However, it is not a degree that is suitable for everyone. There are plenty of people for whom the MBA would be completely wasted. For example, a student who has no interest in working in a business-related field, or managing their own business, will not get much out of most MBA courses. There may be some more focused and specialised MBA courses available that are useful to people in other fields. But as a general rule, unless you are aiming to be a business leader, the MBA is probably not the best degree for you.
With that said, anyone who is aspiring to be a business leader will get plenty of value out of studying an MBA. The hiring managers for major corporations understand just how reliable the MBA is as an indicator of someone’s competence. In other words, having those three letters after your name on your CV can make a serious difference in how seriously your application is taken.
Of course, there are plenty of entrepreneurs out there who do not hold MBAs, and the degree is not a requirement per se for those who want to apply for management positions. There has also been something of a cultural shift over the last few decades, particularly in response to the rise of the big tech firms started by individuals who have little to no prior business experience. This culture shift has seen many mainstream businesses begin to look outside the box when it comes to hiring new managers.
As a result, an MBA will greatly increase your chances of securing an interview, but it will not guarantee you a job at the end of it. The MBA needs to be combined with genuine passion and talent if it is going to truly and meaningfully enhance your value.
The MBA degree is still one of the best degree choices for aspiring entrepreneurs and, in the long run, is definitely worth the investment. Just make sure that you have a clear plan for what you will do with it, otherwise you might find yourself with a degree but nothing to apply it to.