4 Reasons an MBA Can Get You Hired

On-campus and online MBA programs have become quite popular in the business world – and with good reason

By Greg Scott Neuman
Posted 2012

Online MBA Programs
Online MBA Programs

Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees have played a part in the business world for a long time, but over the past few decades their importance has skyrocketed. AACSB-accredited MBA programs have emerged as the standard, and online MBA programs are becoming increasingly popular as the web-based format matures. Now, most business professionals consider an MBA to be an essential prerequisite for attaining high-level management and executive positions.

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But why, exactly, do employers consider MBAs important? Here are four reasons:

1. Business knowledge. This one seems pretty obvious, and it is. Earning an MBA means that you should have a thorough understanding of advanced business concepts and practices. Most employers prefer that you graduate from an AACSB-accredited MBA program, because the AACSB ensures that the schools it certifies adhere to strict teaching and curriculum standards.

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There are specialized MBAs in a variety of areas. Most teach core concepts during the first year, then concentrate on a specific area of business during the second. So a marketing MBA will give you specialized knowledge about marketing, while an executive MBA will emphasize leadership and management. Employers will generally look to hire MBA holders whose concentration closely matches the position they’re applying for.

2. Teamwork. Regardless of specialty, all MBA programs teach teamwork. It is critical to success in today’s fast-paced, highly competitive business world. Employers want professionals who can work well with others – following or leading as necessary. MBA students also learn how to challenge and disagree with others in a constructive way, which is important for producing quality results. A team that can identify and correct problems without creating personal friction is a huge asset to any organization.

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Some MBA specialties place more emphasis on certain aspects of teamwork than others. For example, an executive MBA program is going to concentrate on leadership and management skills, because graduates will typically be headed for positions where those abilities are essential.

3. Problem solving. MBA programs teach students how to identify and solve problems by seeing the big picture, asking the right questions, doing essential research and coming up with a solution that actually works. Graduates are professionally trained how to do this, often in different ways and using different processes.

Solving problems often involves flexibility and unconventional thinking as well. For example, maximizing creative talent (graphic artists, interactive designers, copywriters, etc.) is a responsibility that frequently falls on marketing managers. But when something isn’t working on the creative end, there can be a lot of ambiguity. Where is the problem? In the design? The copy? Is someone simply not able to do the job, or is there a problem with how well the creative team understands the product? MBA programs are designed to teach you how to find answers when the questions aren’t straightforward.

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4. Critical thinking. MBA programs also teach you how to think critically: Approach ideas with a skeptical eye, separate good information from bad information, and understand how a given action can affect different areas of the business (and the business as a whole). Like problem solving, there usually isn’t an official class in critical thinking; instead, it’s a skill learned and practiced throughout the entire MBA program.

Case studies, which are a part of many individual MBA courses, are excellent for developing your critical thinking ability. They are also generally real-world examples that reflect current business issues, which is yet another benefit of MBA-level studies.

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