3 reasons you should get an MBA in 2021

An MBA can guarantee high paying returns and is highly sought after by employers

By U2B Staff 

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When the pandemic first struck in early 2020, MBA providers feared the worst. International students could no longer travel abroad, universities had to be closed, and budgets were slashed.

There was a mad dash to make courses available online albeit fears that students would defer their plans for online MBA programmes in 2020 as well.

The Financial Times gathered data from 13 of the top 20 schools on its ranking list and found that they had all attracted more applications for the MBA cohort starting later this year compared to the same period last year.

According to the article, Insead had the biggest jump this year with a 57% rise in applications on 2019 levels for the coming academic year, while Iese Business School in Barcelona reported a 12% rise year on year and a record number of applications.

Other top schools such as MIT Sloan School of Management also rebounded with double-digit percentage increases in applications since lockdowns were introduced in March 2020.

The Financial Times noted that during times of recession and economic uncertainty, people tend to take a career break to update their skills and build a professional network at business school.

When the economy is strong, the demand for MBA courses tends to be low because potential applicants have more opportunities to seek promotions rather than turn to executive education.

This is the case in the US, where the strong economy in the past few years before the pandemic was a major factor in declining MBA applications in the US.


1. An MBA opens doors to new career opportunities across industries

An MBA qualification is a ticket to career advancement across industries and is still seen as an asset in today’s competitive world for employees who want to stand out from the pack.

Over the last three years, an increasing number of US business schools have incorporated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) elements into their MBA curricula, making STEM MBA programmes increasingly popular.

MBA programmes equip learners with leadership skills, increases their prospects of earning higher salaries, and helps them climb the corporate ladder, to name a few.

Its popularity has led to a wide number of MBA-related programmes including specialisations in finance, entrepreneurship, Islamic finance, and sustainability, among others.

It undoubtedly acts as an industry-agnostic qualification that opens doors for professionals seeking a career change.

When deciding on an MBA programme, it is important to note that accreditation plays a significant role in graduate success: MBA graduates who complete accredited programmes are more likely to enjoy good prospects for employment in any industry.

85.2% of those who graduated from the 131 MBA programmes ranked by U.S. News found employment within three months.


2. An MBA provides networking opportunities

An article published by LinkedIn states that 80% of professionals consider networking important to their career success and more than 60% of professionals find that with regular communication their professional network gives them more opportunities.

There are three ways to build your professional network while getting an MBA: the first way is by networking with the other students in your MBA class, the second is by networking with the other people you meet on campus and the third is by making connections with alumni members.

Networking with the other students in your programme is important as it will help you build connections with people from all over the world, and who will go on to work in other parts of the world and who will also go on to assume various roles across the globe.

The connections you make with your class members will be invaluable in terms of the rich experience and knowledge that you can share and use to your mutual benefit.

These connections will also open new opportunities and provide you with insight or knowledge that helps you in applying for roles as you climb up the career ladder.

Subsequently, these individuals will go on to assume larger and more powerful managerial roles in their organisations and this can open significant inroads for you to work with your dream organisation.

There is a wealth of benefits in maintaining these connections by staying in touch with them, given the value that it can bring, not only for the present but also for the future.

The people you meet on campus while pursuing an MBA are also valuable assets to your professional network. These individuals could be faculty personnel who are also employers, and other students from different programmes.


3. It opens doors to high-paying careers

An MBA is a highly sought-after qualification designed for those who are looking to upskill themselves professionally to land themselves high paying careers.

One of the most appealing elements of an MBA programme is the substantial salary increase that you can expect post-graduation. According to the QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2019, MBA graduates can expect an average salary increase of 77%.

This report is supported by findings by The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a global association of leading graduate business schools.

The council, in partnership with MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance and European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) released its Business School Hiring Report based on findings from the annual Corporate Recruiters Survey.

The report shows trends in hiring and compensation for MBA and business master’s graduates based on responses received from over 1,200 employers in 45 countries worldwide who work directly with participating business schools.

In the US, the median annual base starting salary US employers offer new MBA hires in 2019 is US$115,000. This is more than double the median for new bachelor’s degree hires (US$55,000) and the highest ever recorded in the US.

MBA starting salaries predominantly differ by field and by specialisation. Consulting is one of the more lucrative and competitive fields for an MBA graduate. An MBA graduate that specialises in consulting prepares them to become an expert ready to offer an outside opinion for challenges faced by companies and in the US, experts in these sectors and are very well paid.

MBA hires in the consulting sector can expect to earn annual salaries of up to US$135,000 across industries. The 2018 MBA Motivations & Aspirations Survey found that more than one in four MBA graduates choose to embark on a career in management consulting upon graduating.

Management Consulted, a firm based in the US reported that Deloitte, part of the big four consulting firms, paid up to US$125,000 per annum for its consultants with MBA qualifications. Ernst and Young, paid a base salary of up to US$155,000 for its consultants while PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) paid US$150,000 per annum. Accenture, on the other hand, paid consultants with an MBA qualification a base salary of US$105,000 per annum.