If you're thinking about going back to school for your MBA, it's important to identify what your goals are and how earning your graduate degree can support them.
Whether you are hoping to advance within your current company or find better opportunities in a new organization or industry, an online MBA can be a powerful tool for supporting the goals you've set. MBA degrees are also important to employers. In fact, interest in the MBA among employers has never been higher.
According to a 2015 report by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 84 percent of companies plan to add recent MBAs to their workforce. Employers are keener than ever to look at candidates with a master's in business administration, and large percentages of hiring managers say their organizations have ramped up plans to add staff who hold MBAs. Economists predict this type of trend will only continue.
Here are 6 ways an online MBA can help you achieve your career goals.
1. Gain management and leadership skills
Students in an online MBA program are taught management-level skills that prepare them to lead both for-profit and non-profit organizations. An MBA program allows students to hone their leadership skills by providing the theoretical underpinning to back up their business decisions and by teaching them the importance of looking at the big picture. MBA students learn to make decisions in the service of an organization at large to help achieve its strategic objectives, a necessary quality in any leader. An MBA will teach specific techniques to help you lead teams effectively because you will be trained to manage a wide range of professional responsibilities through strong leadership.
2. Improve your credentials
The fact is, there's a certain amount of prestige that comes with having a Master's degree in business administration. The degree signals to employers that a person possesses the discipline, knowledge, and capabilities desired in upper-management candidates. What's more, some jobs require an MBA as a minimum qualification.
3. Break through roadblocks
Do you feel like you've reached a ceiling in your current career? Maybe you've maxed out your knowledge or technical skillset based on your education and experience to this point. Perhaps you rose through the ranks too far and too fast, and now your youth and inexperience have turned into liabilities. Achieving an online MBA degree can help overcome these roadblocks and keep your career on an upward trajectory, as it will provide you with business knowledge that is a must. MBA programs are designed to teach students how to widen their field of vision and assemble strategic approaches to the major challenges and opportunities facing an organization. Additionally, having strong financial literacy and learning how to gather and interpret data are aspects that you will learn about, and will always be useful, regardless of your specific job function.
4. Become a better coworker
When it comes to large-scale operations, no single person can do all of the work alone. Delegating tasks and working with others is absolutely critical to achieve organizational goals. MBA students are taught to recognize the techniques that help teams work together effectively and apply that approach throughout an organization, which will make you a better coworker. MBA students often collaborate on assignments to learn how to work in cross-functional environments.
Additionally, an online MBA program exposes students to a wide range of critical business functions including finance, marketing, human resources, and more. While it's unlikely that you'll find yourself working directly in every single one of the disciplines your online MBA courses cover, having exposure to and knowledge of these sectors will improve your overall skillset and allow you to understand and potentially contribute to all areas of an organization. Broad business knowledge will also make you a better cross-functional collaborator.
5. Broaden your career options
If you're like most people who go back to school, you're probably strongly motivated by a desire to change or advance your career. Not only can an online MBA give you the credentials to possibly be promoted within your current field, it may also open doors to a wide range of industries or positions that may have been unavailable to you before. Employers are able to use an online MBA as evidence of more than passing interest or youthful spontaneity. An MBA proves you have both the business skills necessary to succeed and the commitment to improving yourself to bring more value to your employer.
Beyond specific skills and knowledge that can be acquired while pursuing an online MBA, the fact that a person has worked toward and successfully achieved their Master of Business Administration demonstrates a high level of ambition, determination, and ability that alone can cast a job candidate in a more favorable light. Whatever your passion, an online MBA program is designed to teach you management skills that apply to many different types of organizations and industries.
6. Keep working
For some people, taking two years off from a job in order to attain an MBA just isn't an option. If you need – or simply want – to stay in the workforce while going back to school, an online college MBA program can provide the flexibility to make this happen. You can access course materials when and where it's most convenient for you, which can minimize or even eliminate potential breaks in your employment.
Everyone has their own career aspirations and reasons for going back to school. The broad-ranging benefits of an online MBA can serve your goals in number of ways and may even be a primary reason you could land the job of your dreams.