Wooden man stepping up onto a block with MBA on it

How an MBA contributes to career advancement

Posted on: May 24, 2022

A Master of Business Administration, commonly referred to as an MBA, is seen as a commitment to continued learning and a sign of professional excellence. 

Those who invest the time and effort into adding an MBA degree to their achievements see a rise in their professional stature, often moving into leadership positions, and potentially seeing a higher salary too. According to data from the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the global average salary of a graduate from an AMBA-accredited business school stood at £69,760. In the UK the mean salary of an MBA graduate was £86,225.

What do you learn on an MBA course?

The modules of an MBA cover key subjects which contribute to a fully transferable skill set that can support you whatever your career path. These include:

  • Sustainability in business
  • Supply chain management
  • Digital transformation
  • Leadership and people management skills
  • Organisational strategy
  • Business analytics
  • Operations management
  • Financial management
  • Strategic marketing
  • Organisational governance

An MBA will force you out of your comfort zone but it will also equip you with the in-demand skills needed to reach your career goals, giving you the tools to navigate the increasingly unpredictable business landscape. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) are common in today’s business world, testing the leadership skills and communication skills of CEOs, directors, consultants, and senior management teams across every industry.

Sustainability is a key area of concern for many companies with the continued shifting of focus from profit to people, purpose, and planet. This is also connected to navigating the supply chain crisis as logistics and shipping account for a high proportion of any business’ carbon footprint. In the International MBA Survey carried out by AMBA in 2020, 31% of MBA students versus 20% of MBA graduates cited learning about developing a sustainable business as a reason for embarking on MBA courses.

Social issues and problem-solving cannot be ignored in a world of increasing inequality. Even the social inequality within a single country considered to be “developed” such as the UK or the USA is stark. Social impact is an area that many graduates want to work in, not just those who have the edge with an MBA. Again, in AMBA’s International MBA Survey 2020, the number of MBA students who cited understanding how to run a business for the greater good of society as a reason for achieving an MBA was 27% – an increase on the 17% of MBA graduates who cited the same reason.

For those who have managed digital transformation before or during the global pandemic, there are always improvements to be made. Digitalisation is an ongoing process which requires depth of knowledge. This has become evidently clear to the business community and in recent research on lifelong learning, the most popular topic cited by MBA graduate respondents was data analytics for managers (47%) closely followed by digital strategy (45%).

If you’re interested in how start-ups can future-proof themselves or in developing your capacity for entrepreneurship and starting your own business, an MBA is also an excellent place to start learning. With a strong grounding in the core business skills of people management, project management, and finance and accounting, an MBA helps you get to where you need to be.

Career prospects as an MBA graduate

Successfully completing an MBA is a great way to increase your chances of career progression within your current employment or to aim high with a new job, perhaps even in a different sector. Promotion into senior management roles, particularly in fields like investment banking, often requires an MBA. But an MBA can help you to progress if you work in other fields such as healthcare, technology, and manufacturing, or in nonprofits and government to name just a few.

In the Careers and Salary Survey carried out by AMBA in 2016, out of 3,355 MBA graduates, 58% of the respondents were in senior management, board level or CEO roles following the completion of their MBA. Research conducted by AMBA’s strategic partner GMAC (the Graduate Management Admission Council) found that 84% of employers planned to recruit MBAs in 2015 compared to 74% in 2014. An MBA was the most desirable postgraduate qualification according to the recruiters and employers surveyed, and that trend shows no sign of changing.

In a more recent survey, GMAC reported that more than 4 in 5 candidates agree that a graduate business degree helps you stand out at work. This is consistent with pre-pandemic levels and the survey showed a global consensus on that point.

Studying for an MBA is not just about adding to your academic qualifications and employability though, it’s also about networking with like-minded peers and industry leaders from around the world. This creates a supportive group which can provide useful contacts while you’re studying and in the future through MBA alumni networks.

Full-time or flexibility?

While many students prefer face-to-face learning, the shift from full-time to part-time and online seems to be sticking even beyond the restrictions of the pandemic. Studying on a part-time MBA course can actually help your career development more noticeably because you can apply what you’re learning to the current real-world challenges that your company may be facing in real-time.

Flexibility is a really important factor for many professionals who have busy family lives and successful careers. Work-life balance is key for many people today in a way that it wasn’t just three years ago and a full-time MBA doesn’t fit everyone’s lifestyle. 

In November 2021, NYU Stern School of Business became the first of the top 10 business schools in Fortune’s ranking to launch a hybrid MBA program. Isser Gallogly, associate dean of MBA admissions acknowledged that, “Adapting, aligning with a changing workplace, and meeting the changing needs of working professionals” was a top priority. He added that, “The programme’s launch was particularly timely and relevant, given the rise of hybrid work and increased demand for the ability to customise the MBA experience for work and life.”

Choose career development, choose an online MBA

43% of MBA programmes were taught online in 2020 despite only 12% of programmes being intended to be taught this way. The University of Wolverhampton’s 100% online MBA was specifically designed as a distance learning course and has been developed to offer the highest levels of teaching and support.

With six entry points throughout the year, the MBA programme can be accessed from anywhere in the world and studied on demand, fitting around professional and family commitments. Learn as you continue to work and earn, while applying your newly gained knowledge to current projects with confidence. Find out how to apply today and start on a transformative path to more career opportunities with this specialist Master’s degree.

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