The Challenges & Rewards of an MBA
Gaining a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) isn’t easy and can require a substantial investment of time, money and other resources. The upside is that it’s a globally recognised qualification that can give your professional profile a huge boost and make you highly employable.
Just like other graduate qualifications, not all MBAs are the same and you need to look carefully at the available options that studying at different business schools can give you. A good place to start is by looking at the accreditations that the course carries.
The Association of MBAs (AMBA) accredit over 150 UK and global MBA courses and have criteria that they believe supports a good-quality learning scenario such as: student mix (a good balance of UK, European and international students), good staff-student ratios, access to good teaching and learning resources as well as entry requirements that usually mean having a good first degree and relevant workplace experience. The other well known global business school accreditation bodies are AACSB (based in the USA) and EQUIS (based in Europe).
Solid commitment is required to get through the notoriously challenging MBA course and get a return on investment on the fees you’ll have spent. Fortunately, there is flexibility available where learning schedules are concerned and MBAs can be studied full-time over 12 months or part time or as distance learning courses. In other words, MBA students should take the time to look carefully at the course content, quality and accreditation as well as available support and the fees they’ll have to find.
An MBA is designed to allow professionals from any number of disciplines to reflect on their own professional experience as it relates to management theory. (NB: Comparing an MBA to other Master’s level qualifications doesn’t fully explain what an MBA actually is.)
Because of the mix (required to meet accreditation standards) students are able to draw on experiences whilst learning about the latest management theory from highly regarded academic staff. MBA courses also involve at least one major project with a real ‘client’ (25,000 words is common), company visits, exchange programmes and other real life simulations, hence the necessary entry requirements.
There are lots of reasons why an MBA course is worth the fees but here are the main ones:
Enhanced Career Opportunities
It is estimated that 70% of the MBA graduates worldwide are senior managers or board directors. This type of position brings along a higher salary as well as further responsibility within an organisation. Imperial College Business School says that 91% of their MBA graduates find a job within three months.
An MBA is the ideal qualification for people with big professional ambitions since it is highly regarded and recognised the world over.
MBA students have superb networking opportunities. By studying business with other students with industry experience you’ll not only be swapping ideas but also getting to know other future thought leaders. This can only be a good thing and will also add to your employability. Similarly, teaching staff and guest speakers and the like are also likely to be highly connected.
Taking up offers of internships can also help, especially given that you’ll be able to demonstrate your developing skills and competencies in front of people that may be in a position to employ you once you graduate.
It’s important to emphasise that this is not like any other qualification and the new skills you gain as a result of studying for an MBA will be very valuable to employers. Studying for an MBA will put you in touch with the newest management techniques and thinking about best practice. An MBA also gives you the platform for further self-development and the ability to analyse processes and approaches, for example, in the context of a business and reorganise them for the better.
Genuinely new ideas are rare to find in businesses, especially in boardrooms where traditions take hold and prevent individuals from understanding the need to change things. In simple terms an MBA equips individuals with the tools to understand and implement that change.
Studying for an MBA is a holistic experience and it’s this that gives MBA graduates their enviable overview of the business world, enabling the development of solutions to emerging global business challenges through the integration of business and technology. Such a perspective means that MBA graduates are renowned as being adept at spotting subtle changes in business and being effective problem solvers.
In order to enrol in a high ranking UK business school you will require an appropriate undergraduate degree (not necessarily ‘business’). Some MBA courses have entry criteria that mean you’ll need at least three years of business experience within a corporate or managerial role to get on to the course but there are no specifics set in stone. Other criteria are likely to be:
A test designed by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, often used by business schools as an admissions criterion for graduate management programmes. It assesses a person’s analytical, writing, quantitative and verbal skills.
Your MBA application may require you to complete as many as three admissions essays. Essays may be in the style of a personal statement, or the business school may ask you to respond to a specific statement. Both styles of essay will serve to provide the school with information about how your values and goals have guided your professional and academic life so far.
What It Costs
MBAs can typically cost £18,000 in fees for studying with AMBA accredited schools. Looking at what the course is all about and any other relevant statistics regarding career progression etc will demonstrate if the course represents good value.
Best Place To Study For An MBA?
According to the Study International Magazine website, the UK is the best place to study for an MBA.
Unsurprisingly they suggest that studying an MBA in the UK can offer benefits such as higher pay and global employment opportunities.
“Most employers continue to consider an MBA from the UK’s best business schools as almost a guarantee of that individual’s high level of in-depth knowledge and overall business skills. MBA universities in the UK can offer the highest level of education and training for real world situations. A student gains a solid grasp of the ins and outs of businesses and learns how to motivate others.”