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This MBA specialisation in Digital Business prepped this professional for 4IR

SOURCE: RUBY BECK/AFP
There are many MBA specialisations, but here's why one graduate chose one in digital business.


By U2B Staff 

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An MBA hasn’t lost its luster. Today, universities are offering a growing range of MBA specialisations for graduates and professionals who are looking to earn a highly competitive salary, while also carving out for themselves a niche in the increasingly competitive employment market. 

In the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) salary survey – which contains annual salary projections for the Class of 2020 college graduates in the US – they’ve forecast that the average salary for this year’s MBA graduates stands at about US$79,043.

This is more than US$20,000 higher than the projected salaries of business undergraduates at US$$57,939.

The figure is considerably higher for MBA graduates from elite institutions.

Last year’s Harvard MBA graduates had a median compensation package of US$172,090, up a healthy 7.4 percent over totals just the year before, reported Poets & Quants.

Meanwhile, Columbia Business School 2019 graduates earned a median base salary of US$150,000, according to data from CBS’s 2019 Employment Report. A total of 41 percent of their 2019 graduates are non-US citizens.

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Graduates with different MBA specialisation often go on to enjoy rewarding careers across various sectors.

“From technology to finance, real estate to social enterprise, our students are making an impact across sectors and industries. Through on-campus recruiting, skillful networking, and job postings, Columbia MBA graduates found full-time positions in a wide variety of businesses and functions across the globe,” said the report.

Some of their students have gone on to start their own companies, while many have joined startups and new ventures in roles such as business development, operations, data analytics, and growth marketing.

The startups were in various areas, including software, fintech and digital health, to name a few.

MBA graduates reap what they sow

MBA specialisations
MBAs can have good ROIs for graduates. Source: Alex Edelman/AFP

The appeal of an MBA and the personal and professional growth that comes with the experience is part of what drew Jose Enrique to pursue an MBA thousands of miles away from his home country in Mexico all the way to Germany.

Enrique, who graduated with an MBA in Digital Business from EU Business School in Munich, was previously working in construction but said that he “wanted the experience of something different” and “to open” his mind. 

 

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After speaking to others who had studied abroad, Enrique was inspired by the positive changes they had experienced and the impact it had on them.

Digital business is a niche MBA specialisation, but a book he had read, Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, prompted him to choose this specialisation over finance. He added that students without digital skills could enrol in the course and still keep up to speed. 

EU Business School websites notes that the programme prepares students “to thrive in an online business context, examining a broad range of topics from online architecture to usability, while covering many of the relevant issues that managers face in internet-based environments. Students will be well-equipped to start their own online business, join an existing company or invent new ways of doing business online.”

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One of the out-of-classroom benefits for graduates such as Enrique, who was the only Latin American student in his cohort, is the networking opportunities that come with being an MBA student. He met students from all corners of the globe, from China to Afghanistan and the UK, which has helped him in his career. 

During a trip to Hungary, he was unable to secure tickets to an event where CEOs of major companies would be attending. But thanks to a friend from his cohort, he managed to meet three of the CEOs during the event for free. Because of a contact from his MBA, he had the opportunity to live and work in Leeds, England, including with one FinTech startup, Rebuildingsociety.

Enrique has since founded a company, BREAT, which builds technology for real estate developers to optimise the potential of their projects. 

“We do that with data and with finance,” he said. With so many trends in the market, they help real estate developers identify trends and decide what to build – and what not to build – by tapping on reliable data, as part of the work they do.

“So it’s a lot of big data, machine learning and experience on connectivity,” he said, adding that they are still at the MVP (minimum viable product) stage. Some of the other skills he has gained include sharpening his negotiation skills, learning about business structures in addition to learning to deal with different people and their diverse perspectives.

It’s clear that an MBA that equip professionals with an arsenal of skills that will serve them far into the future.