You know earning an MBA might increase your salary and give you new career opportunities. But here are a few more reasons to consider this degree that are often overlooked.
Everyone knows getting an MBA might increase your salary and give you access to new career opportunities. But there are others reasons that aren’t discussed as often why business school might be worth your investment.
If you’re on the fence about enrolling in an MBA program and aren’t sure whether it’s the right move for your career, here are a few underrated ways you’ll likely benefit.
1. Make important connections that will help your career
When you go through a rigorous program like an MBA, it’s inevitable that you’ll form strong bonds with your fellow classmates and even a professor or two.
The good news is that these relationships can prove beneficial throughout your career since you’ve built an instant network of like-minded business professionals you can consult with, discuss new opportunities with and perhaps even work directly with in some capacity. What’s more is that the school itself can offer an array of alumni career services, so be sure to ask about such offerings when doing your research.
2. Have a chance to be the boss
There really is no better forum for getting the chance to take on a business leadership role and polish your negotiating, delegating and directing skills (without your job being on the line) than in an MBA program. That’s because you’ll likely have to work in teams to complete projects, so you’ll get the chance to assume various roles you might not otherwise get to take on in a corporate setting. These lessons and simulations can help prepare you for the real thing and get you used to navigating challenges and dealing with different personalities.
3. Meet prominent business leaders
You can learn a lot by reading case studies and articles in business journals and blogs, but nothing beats hearing true tales from the trenches and strategies for success straight from CEOs and other business executives. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
MBA programs often give students access to these business minds by hosting seminars and guest lectures. Think of these events as extra credit that can raise your career GPA. And if you really work those opportunities, you might even add a few quality connections to your network.
4. Cultivate your business specialty
Though many students pursue MBA studies to achieve general business knowledge, some discover a passion for a specialized area such as finance, marketing, e-commerce or international business. The different study tracks and elective classes available in business school can help shape your career and open your mind to new possibilities.
5. Overcome your fear of public speaking
You can’t succeed in business without the ability to present your ideas — at a staff or client meeting at the very least. The pressure to be “on” will only increase if you’re not comfortable speaking to a group.
Throughout MBA programs, students spend time in front of the classroom making presentations to their peers; you may even be required to take a speech class. These exercises will help develop the confidence and speaking skills necessary to command a room and make sure your message is heard.
The decision to go to business school is not one that should be taken lightly; it’s an expensive and time-intensive pursuit. But don’t make the decision based only on dollars and cents, or because you think you “need” an MBA. By taking into account whether some of the fringe benefits above might propel your career forward, you can better assess whether an MBA is right for you.
Dawn Papandrea is a Staten Island, NY-based freelance writer who specializes in higher education, careers, personal finance, and parenting. Follow her on Twitter @DawnPapandrea.