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What is an MBA, and Is It Actually Worth It?

By University Staff

What is an MBA, and is It Actually Worth It?

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UPDATED September 9, 2021

The number of companies looking to hire MBA graduates has been climbing steadily for years – up to 92 percent prior to the 2020 pandemic – and the widening appeal of advanced education is not limited to employers. Whether you’re looking to enhance your career, grow your professional network, gain invaluable management skills, or simply expand your business acumen, a Master of Business Administration can help you secure your future.
 

“The purpose of an MBA is to give you the tools you need to go back out into the work world and be more productive and have more opportunities than ever before,” says Steve Forbes, chairman, and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media. “Part of it is practical knowledge, but part of it, too, is giving you the self-confidence that by completing this course, you can face situations that are unanticipated. We always face a crisis, so it’s about pursuing opportunities and dealing with inevitable challenges that come your way in the business world.”

What’s more, earning an MBA can help you shift perspective and learn to look at challenges as opportunities.

“One of the things that marks a leader is seeing things that others don’t,” Forbes adds.

While getting an MBA is worth it in many cases, pursuing this degree is a serious commitment. When deciding whether or not to invest in earning an MBA, it’s important to weigh the challenge with the benefits and educate yourself on what an MBA is and the value of earning an online MBA. Read on to learn more about what an MBA is, the benefits of an MBA (including the skills you learn in an online MBA program), how long it takes to earn an MBA, the career opportunities available when you earn an MBA, and other reasons why earning an MBA is worth it.

What is a Master of Business Administration? 

A Master of Business Administration is considered an essential degree for managers and executives across many industries. An MBA program will immerse you in current business topics and includes a balance of theory with practical, real-world skills needed to compete and thrive in today’s highly competitive global business environment.

If you are looking to expand your understanding of finance, analysis, operations management, business law, global marketing, and economics, taking them from fundamentals to realistic and practical applications, an MBA might be right for you.

Benefits of an MBA Degree

In the ever-changing and challenging realm of business, an MBA carries some significant benefits that can act as scaffolding when building a plan for a successful career. Some of these benefits may include:  

  • Potential to better attract employers
  • A stronger professional network, leading to better opportunities and more career stability
  • The flexibility to change careers or start a new career
  • A better understanding of teamwork and team dynamics, making you a more effective coworker
  • The grounding to help you overcome career and business obstacles
  • Opportunities to hone natural leadership acumen and pursue greater professional and personal growth

is an mba worth it infographic

What Skills Will an MBA Teach Me?

When you enroll in an MBA program, you will develop your leadership skills, innovative mindset, and entrepreneurial spirit. Typically, your courses will focus on vital business administration topics like human resources, finance, budgeting, analysis, operations management, business management, business law, global marketing, and global economics. 

An MBA program should include a balance of vital business administration topics, such as finance, budgeting, analysis, marketing, human resources, and business law. Your curriculum will strengthen your understanding of these concepts and also train you to think and act like a business professional. 

In the end, you’ll graduate with a foundation of soft and hard skills that are applicable to nearly every industry. These skills include:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Oral and written communication
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism and work ethic
  • Career management
  • Global and intercultural fluency

Upon completion of an online MBA program, you should be able to:

  • Prepare written and oral communications to create professional presence, articulate a vision, and bridge diverse perspectives and cultural differences that impact businesses
  • Integrate critical thinking and inventiveness to form strategies and overcome business challenges in both domestic and international business settings
  • Utilize leadership skills in situations involving collaboration, self-advocacy, and business-critical decisions
  • Formulate financial analysis and business knowledge in marketing, data analytics, economics, operations, project management, human capital management, and emerging technologies to drive decision-making
  • Critique the use of legal and ethical principles and the influence of politics in the business environment

What Can You Do with an MBA?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster than average growth of business and financial occupations through the end of the decade, citing factors that include globalization, a growing economy, and a complex tax and regulatory environment. Although there are many possible fields of employment, specific employment will depend on your undergraduate degree and work experience. However, MBA graduates are most often found at public and private companies, nonprofits, government agencies, and many become entrepreneurs; and many hold titles such as:  

  • Business Development Manager
  • Leadership Development Manager
  • Executive Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Management Analyst
  • Treasurer and Controller
  • Chief Executive

How Long Does It Take to Earn an MBA?

Like any college program, your MBA is an investment in your future, and an investment requires commitment. Earning an MBA at a traditional university will likely take two years if you pursue your degree full-time. Some schools also offer accelerated one-year programs, which can be more intensive. 

If you need greater flexibility to balance the requirements of school, work, and family, you may consider an online university, such as the University of Arizona Global Campus, where you can earn your MBA at your own pace, taking one course at a time for six weeks at a time with 24/7 tech support and resources. Some institutions also offer opportunities to increase your speed to a degree, like the SMART Track program at UAGC, which allows you to earn credits toward a master’s degree while pursuing your bachelor’s degree at UAGC. 

If you’re asking yourself, “Is an online MBA worth it?” you will want to be sure that your degree program is accredited and aligned with the standards set forth by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. These standards ensure that you are getting the quality education that you deserve.

Are Online MBA Programs Respected?

Since their inception years ago and their increased accessibility in recent years, making earning a degree more of an option for working adults, online degrees have become more valuable and respected. Although some hiring managers and HR professionals initially believed that an online MBA meant you were not receiving the same level of education as you would in a traditional MBA program, this is a misconception. Online MBA programs provide the same rigorous education as a traditional classroom with the added benefit of learning how to effectively navigate a world that is becoming more digital. These additional skills are highly valued and can make an online MBA a great addition to your resume.

Is an MBA Right for Me?

As you consider your MBA, it is important to ensure you understand the requirements for admission. In all cases, you must first earn your bachelor’s degree before going for your MBA. A 2.0 undergraduate GPA is required, and some schools also require you to pass the GRE or GMAT. However, as online degree programs have made education more accessible for working adults, some institutions like UAGC  – Global Campus do not require these tests to enroll. 

It’s also important to compare an MBA with other business-related degrees, as the curriculum can vary from one program to the next. Additionally, consider how a master’s degree expands upon an undergraduate program. A bachelor's degree in business, for example, covers a broad range of specializations (HR, finance, operations management, and more) and examines how they function together. In contrast, an MBA program goes much deeper into the concepts and best practices that drive business decision-making, critical thinking, ethics, and analysis. At UAGC, emphasis is placed on career preparation as defined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), including digital technology readiness, professionalism, teamwork, and cultural fluency.

If you want to make business leadership and strategy a crucial part of your career, an MBA from the Forbes School of Business and Technology® may be the most appropriate choice for you. As with all big commitments, it’s important to prepare with your head and your heart. Knowing what you want and what will help you achieve your goals is the crux of the holistic approach. Learn more about the Forbes School of Business and Technology® MBA admission requirements. Then, contact UAGC today to start your journey to becoming a more powerful business leader.
 

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Sources:

* Burning Glass Technologies. burning-glass.com. Labor Insight™ 2021.

** Burning Glass Technologies. burning-glass.com. 2021.

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Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.
 

 

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