The immediate benefits of a top MBA program

By Susan Petty

From improving your transferable skills to bolstering your professional credibility, there are many benefits of obtaining an MBA. But, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your hard work won’t be realized until after you’ve received your diploma.

From day one at business school, you’ll start to understand the payoff of your decision to obtain an MBA. Consider the following rewards you won’t have to wait for.

Participation in discussions

Classroom participation is not only useful for collective and individual learning, it also helps refine your soft skills through the practice of questioning, listening, and responding effectively to conversations.

Participation in MBA classrooms is carefully orchestrated. To encourage deep thinking, critical thinking and communication skills, instructors may call upon students with expertise in a subject to explain a difficult concept or strike up a different conversation by asking a student without background on the topic to guide the conversation. This style of fluid communication requires quick thinking and the ability to observe problems from multiple dynamics. The individual attention paid to every student ensures they are grasping critical concepts which will sharpen your intellect quickly.

Collaboration with peers

For many MBA students, going back to business school is an excellent opportunity to network and to grow their Rolodex with like-minded connections. Starting the process through collaboration with other students, whether in study groups, group projects or co-curricular activities will ramp up your networking initiative quickly. In fact, Berkeley Haas promotes collaboration for full-time MBA students through our Teams@Haas program, a semester-long study group designed to maximize diversity and prepare students to work in a global context across a wide-array of boundaries.

Further, while earning your MBA, you have immediate access to faculty and alumni who have connections with people inside your industry. By forging relationships through collaborative measures early in your MBA program, you’re able to spread your reach immediately and create promising opportunities for the future.

Improved research skills

The first year of business school is notoriously difficult. From the get-go, you can expect a high volume of coursework that requires research, analysis and evaluative feedback to peers. The fast-pace of year one helps you quickly improve your basic research skills like creative and lateral thinking as well as critical evaluation and synthesis abilities across a range of business disciplines.

The combination of these skill sets is a significant business advantage, and it’s what helps MBA students be more effective within an organization. It will also help you pull ahead of the prospect pack when applying for internships or jobs.

‘Real life’ experiences

Upon entering your MBA program, ‘real-life experience’ will instantly introduce itself.

MBA programs offer hands-on electives or applied innovation courses in the first year, which allows students to gain experience from top companies on topics ranging from corporate innovation initiatives to global consulting work. Furthermore, top business schools bring in leaders from well-known and influential organizations as guest speakers, keynotes at events, and judges in student competitions so you can gain insights and collect feedback from elite businesspeople.

New perspectives

Though core work will vary from year to year in B-school, the first year is typically dedicated to providing a broad overview of the major areas of business. By gaining a holistic view of business at all levels, you can start to understand more comprehensive business practices that will inform your perspective about how companies operate.

Additionally, top MBA programs will have a diverse student body with varying cultural, professional, and personal backgrounds. The blend of students in your classes will prompt you to think of your established business practices and beliefs differently and allow you to challenge why things are done in a particular way.

New perspectives are an invaluable lesson that can immediately impact a number of your life’s decisions: from the way you respond to interview questions, to the way you think about your professional trajectory.

Internship opportunities

Top business schools have deep relationships with organizations in their area, and can also help MBA students and graduates land internships and other career development opportunities, starting from the first year at business school. And, at high-ranking business schools, it's common for recruiters — looking for promising interns — to begin their recruiting period on campus as early as October, meaning you won’t have to wait long before realizing your MBA ambitions.

Though you might not have your piece of paper in hand for a couple of years, the skills you gain from your MBA program are noticeable from day one. Are you interested in learning more? Find out if Berkeley Haas is a good fit for you today.


Posted on June 4, 2019
Themes: MBA Benefits
Susan Petty
Susan is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. She has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and advertising, having worked in several different industries including technology, travel, healthcare -- and many others from her media planning days at J. Walter Thompson where her clients included Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle, and Ford. She enjoys advising prospective students and guiding them through their personal MBA experience.