Question: What do you think is the number one advantage of an MBA? How does getting an MBA benefit your career?
The number one advantage? Well that’s hard. A ton come to mind: contacts, access to professors, name brand on your resume, access to promotions, etc. But the main reason if I had to pick one?
Credibility. Especially if you can go to a GREAT school (we call it Magic 7). Credibility. From your MBA experience you can actually go into ANY field. Now that isn’t easy, of course, to switch fields. But if you work hard (and if you’re a smooth talker) you can now, with a high-octane MBA, be credible in any field. Actually, credible in any conversation.
When a hiring manager is looking at two similarly qualified candidates, and one guy went to a great MBA program, he’s gonna pick the MBA. He is credible, not just because of the brand name, but because some intense amount of vetting went into HIS OWN MBA application selection process.
Once you get into your new career, with the help of an MBA, people will take you seriously. Your opinions have, presumably, been formed at the helm of a number of super smart people, great professors, even high-powered summer internships. Now, what you say matters in a way that it didn’t before.
Your degree is also pedigree that your future employers will come to rely on. They will introduce you as “Bob Smith, he got his MBA at Harvard.” This “credibility” is something that employers will get all the mileage they can out of, to be sure.
And one day, when you launch your own company, branch out on your own, the fact that you have this degree (on top of the impressive work experience you have mustered) will speak volumes as well and, again, give you instant credibility.
Credibility, if I had to pick one. And more and more, as you go to better programs.
What kind of impact can an MBA have in your earning potential, even if you decide to stay with the same company where you’re currently working?
Many people fall into a trap here. They say ‘well I may not even make more money when I graduate,’ so they don’t want to go throught the process of geting an MBA. This is short-sighted, and poorly reasoned advice. The MBA WILL pay back on its investment, but it may not necessarily do so in 5 or even 10 years. Of course, you have sat out two years of earning, and your new job (many are quick to point out) may not show $50K-$100K raises in pay.
But… so what? This is the LONG game, the MBA is all about the LONG game. (If you’re looking to make a quick buck, don’t even bother going. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg etc, they obviously didn’t.) The MBA WILL help you to make more money, for sure.
Within your same company, you will at the very least be given a promotion (And the credibility that we mentioned above). This will put you on a leadership track at the company, even if it takes a few years. After all, that is what great MBA programs are all about — LEADERSHIP.
Now once you LEAVE your company, the MBA will become worth its weight in gold. After all, job titles are hard to compare across companies. Small firms give out VP titles like candy, whereas at large banks, for example, such titles are impossible to nab. So an MBA solves this problem – by acting as a sort of currency that is equalizing across a number of other hard to compare factors.
And again, if/when you branch out, do your own thing—the fact that you have been selected by an elite program, and that you’ve been trained in the art of management, will give all your future investors great confidence and comfort.
– Jon Frank