After completing their undergraduate degree, many new graduates face the next big challenge in their educational path: deciding whether or not to continue their studies and complete an MBA. And they have good reason to be skeptical.
Graduate studies can be quite expensive, but in the long run, the benefits of holding an MBA far outweigh the disadvantages.
There is high demand for MBA graduates. According to the QS Intelligence Unit’s 2016/17 annual survey of employers worldwide, there has been a 13% growth globally in jobs that require an MBA degree. The countries with the biggest markets for jobs requiring MBAs are the U.S., India and Brazil, with the majority of openings within the finance, consulting and technology sectors. Just take it from Dell’s university relations and diversity manager, Maria Crabtree: “By hiring MBAs with expertise in specific areas, we know that we’re bringing in team members that have had the appropriate training necessary to add value and succeed.”
A large part of the value proposition for employers is soft skills, such as communication and critical analysis. These are developed during MBA programs through debates, collaborative activities, case-study analyses and presentations.
Increased pay is surely one of the main reasons to pursue an MBA. Graduates can expect a significant increase in salary after graduation, as employers acknowledge the advanced and specialized skills acquired during the program and financial investment in tuition fees. On the other hand, it is important to have realistic salary expectations during the job search process.
In comparison, the average salary for MBA employment in Western Europe has surpassed expectations this year. Switzerland, Belgium, the U.K. and Ireland have the highest salaries in the region. In Belgium, graduates can expect an average salary of $129,000. Interestingly, however, citizens from Western Europe are more often contacted by recruiters based in the Middle East and Africa. Western Europe happens to be the region that recruits the most internationally, making them by far the world’s most outward-looking region in terms of MBA employment. Great news for non-Europeans.
Move up the Corporate Ladder
Another great reason to study an MBA is to move up to a high-level management position or change industries. Without additional studies, this career change is next to impossible. As reported by Fortune, 40% of S&P 500 CEOs in any given year have an MBA. Many employers search specifically for MBA graduates in the hopes that they will grow with the organization.
“One of the key things for MBAs is that we’re trying to bring in people who can be future leaders within the company.”
University Recruitment Lead for the Americas at Cisco
Specialize in a field that you are passionate about! Focusing on a specific field gives graduates the opportunity to add to their existing business knowledge, since the specialization courses of the program prepare students to change to a new industry or start their own company if they wish.
“I thought: now I have the background, I have the experience, and I also have the schooling and the degree. So, in 2000-2001 I became independent and I founded my own company, Trade Resource GmbH.”
EU MBA alumna, Founder & Managing Director at Trade Resource