Earning a professional business degree, or an MBA, can have a number of both expected and unexpected benefits in your life. In fact, those benefits often extend beyond your career and professional goals and are applicable to your non-work life as well.
If you’re on the fence about pursuing an MBA or attempting to weigh the benefits of earning an MBA against its cost, consider these 16 benefits. Some of them may surprise you.
16 benefits of an MBA
1. Increased self-confidence
One study surveyed MBA graduates about their perceived financial and nonfinancial costs and benefits of their professional degree. Surprisingly, increased confidence was one of the highest-weighing and most important nonfinancial benefits of earning an MBA degree.
The feeling of accomplishment and the education and skill sets gained by earning this degree can improve anyone’s confidence as they make their way through the business world—and through life. By earning this degree while also balancing work, family, social life, and other personal commitments (and not losing your sanity) you will find an immense sense of reward and personal achievement.
There are different ways you can establish credibility in your firm and in your industry. You could volunteer for a project at work that stretches you beyond your comfort zone and shows off your hidden talents to company management. You could begin a solo side business or co-found one with family or friends to establish early credibility as a budding entrepreneur. But the academic version of street cred in the business world is the MBA degree.
3. Transferable skills
Much of the knowledge and hard and soft skills you gain from earning your MBA is applicable across many industries. You become more skilled and versatile regardless of your industry or job title thanks to widely applicable qualities like leadership, critical and analytical thinking, creativity, and communication. Unlike career-specific advanced degrees like a teaching credential or a medical degree, an MBA can transfer easily to many industries and offer you a wide array of careers throughout your life.
MBA graduates often possess an innate and insatiable curiosity. They know there is always something more to learn, and they endeavor to learn it. Earning the degree hones their ability to dig into competitive analyses, study emerging industries, and stay on top of all the newest developments, technologies, and trends in their industry. As Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
5. Strategic thinking
The strategic thinking skills you learn while earning your MBA are not only applicable in the business world but across various areas of your life such as your personal goals and finances. You’ll be able to think outside-the-box and weigh multiple options or solutions in your mind while you work to fix a problem.
6. Better communication
MBA graduates often find themselves communicating better at work with colleagues, bosses, or employees. But these communication skills can also apply at home with your significant other, kids, parents, or siblings, as well as in social situations such as networking events or company functions. Being a better communicator is essential in everyday life, no matter where or when you communicate your needs and ideas for solutions.
To earn your MBA degree, you have to attend classes and study sessions, complete assignments on time, and push yourself to work through rigorous, complex coursework. Possibly, you have to do this while you continue to work. All of this takes a level of self-discipline that you may not take to naturally, but can cultivate with time and effort while working through the MBA program.
8. Better time management
A side effect of better self-discipline is the ability to better manage time. That could mean better understanding of your capabilities for producing work in an allotted time so you don’t overextend yourself, burn yourself out, or overcommit and underdeliver. It could also mean being more efficient during work hours to get more done in less time or with less effort.
9. Broader worldview
While earning your MBA, you address big business issues and real-world business challenges which hones your ability to look beyond your role and see how organizations operate as a whole. This also increases your exposure to diverse perspectives on global, social, and business issues as you collaborate with students whose backgrounds, experiences, and career goals differ from yours.
10. Network of colleagues
While earning your MBA, you come into contact with faculty and fellow students and alumni of the program who begin to form—or add to your existing—network of colleagues. These include people both within your industry and outside of it, and are often spread out across the world, which can translate to promising opportunities in the future.
11. More job opportunities
Many companies now require or prefer candidates with an MBA for a number of roles. Earning this degree significantly expands the number of potential job opportunities for which you qualify.
12. Differentiation as a job candidate
Even if an MBA isn’t a minimum requirement, the degree can be a powerful differentiator when you’re competing against dozens of candidates all vying for the same position—especially when they are all impressive in their own way. But as impressed as employers may be about managerial accomplishments in the field, the fact that you’ve earned an MBA degree is likely to take your application up a notch in the minds of potential employers.
13. A re-energized career
Sometimes you can get stuck in a rut career-wise. Earning an MBA degree can pull you out of a funk, re-energize past career goals, or help you uncover new ones as you work through the program. Whether you’re trying to improve your job position and salary options, or enter the world of entrepreneurialism, this experience could be the motivation you need to jumpstart a new career.
14. Higher income
The financial benefits are generally why many people enter MBA programs, but since higher income and signing bonuses are definitely some of the most significant benefits of earning your MBA, we thought it should be included in this list!
15. Better management of personal finances
A sharpened financial acumen is another draw for many MBA applicants, as they can apply these skills to their own personal finances and investments in addition to any business pursuits. Through their coursework, students become better at assessing risk, understanding how inflation and interest rates work, and responding to economic changes and market fluctuations.
16. Increased creativity
The coursework for an MBA may seem based in facts and numbers, but the entire experience often ends up sharpening creative thinking and inspiring creative endeavors for MBA graduates. Thinking outside the box is just as important for business as it is for art or music.
Did you expect all 16 of these different benefits to come out of earning your MBA? Remember to keep these in mind as you weigh your decision and take the next critical step down your career path.