Prepare for an MBA with these business skills

MBA students can acquire business skills through the MBA programme itself and also through free MOOCs available online.

By U2B Staff 

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An MBA can add specific business skills to your toolkit that can help you progress in your career. MBA programmes can add the right skills to your resume and open new and bigger career opportunities and promotions.

The financial and time investment of completing an MBA is worth considering before making the decision to enrol into this programme. Ultimately, successfully completing an MBA can lead to improved remuneration and compensation.

It is true that MBA programmes come with a financial and time cost factor – a good MBA programme from a reputable higher learning institution can set you back by about $100,000, on top of the two-year investment, on average.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, many business schools are offering fully online MBA programmes. The cost of an online MBA programme varies according to business school and the field of specialisation.

In 2019, the average cost per credit for the online MBA programmes offered was $326, according to the U.S. News & World Report. The overall cost for an online MBA can set you back by $60,000 to $120,000.

Considering the high cost of completing the MBA, prospective students may find it useful to get a feel of the programme before signing up for it. There are several courses that a prospective MBA student can take for a small fee or even for free to prepare themselves for the entire programme.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a good option for those who are considering enrolling in an MBA programme but are not quite sure where to begin and would like to get a feel of what the entire programme entails.

Besides the time and cost factor, many prospective students may find that MBA enrolment dates have been delayed or scrapped for the time being. It would be beneficial to all those affected to start with MOOCs while waiting for the situation to stabilise and while waiting for on-campus university programmes to resume.


Not all MOOCs are made equal

MOOCs have been around for quite a while now, so the concept may not need explaining. There is an abundance of MOOCs available online, and it is essential to ask yourself a simple question before enrolling in a programme because paid or otherwise, the quality of content that is consumed is paramount.

It is important to note that while MOOCs are generally offered through online course providers such as Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, or Udacity, the courses available on the platforms are mostly created and conducted by universities.

Standford University, Harvard University, and NYU (New York University) are just some of the largest online course providers. Besides universities, organisations such as Google, Microsoft and British Council also develop online courses for general consumption.

A more discerning student will be able to identify and choose a course that is developed by an accredited institution of higher learning or business school to help them prepare for their MBA journey.


Which courses will be beneficial to prospective MBA students?

Understanding the contents and components of an MBA is pivotal when choosing the right courses that will prepare you for your MBA journey.

In general, courses offered through MBA programmes teach the basic facets of domestic and international corporate practices and helps learners build business skills in a variety of specialisations.

The skills developed through an MBA programme is widely applicable in various sectors including finance, marketing, technology, and the global economy.

In general, an MBA programme provides knowledge in economics, stock market patterns, and consumer behaviour as well as accounting, financial risk assessment, and cost control.

An MBA programme also focuses on developing leadership abilities, management techniques, employee relations, and workplace psychology, as well as teaches business strategy and decision-making to develop effective leaders and managers.

The MBA also provides the skills that enable professionals to become global business leaders through courses on international business operations, including opening and expanding overseas businesses and business-to-business sales.

Marketing, advertising, and information technology are some of the other topics that are taught in an MBA programme.

According to Laurie Pickard, author of Don’t Pay For Your MBA: The Faster, Cheaper, Better Way to Get the Business Education You Need, there are three types of courses that will be beneficial for prospective MBA students.

All these online courses and classes are available through MOOCs that can help you upskill yourself in preparation for an MBA.

Courses in project management

Project management is a widely sought-after skill that is in demand across industries. In an MBA you will generally learn about how you can implement organisational change, and how project management skills will come in handy in terms of managing time, cost, and quality trade-offs.

An MBA will provide a prospective MBA candidate with the tools and techniques that help to identify the processes involved and provides guidance on how to achieve these goals.

A great way to prepare for this would be by taking an online course in project management that will give you the skills to not only supervise progress but also to lead a new initiative or team.

Courses that develop business skills in marketing and finance

An online course in marketing will prepare a prospective MBA candidate with customer decision-making, product positioning, and market segmentation skills. Knowledge in how companies communicate strategically and position their brands in a market niche will give you an edge and help you ace your MBA studies.

Enrolling in a finance preparatory course is also highly beneficial to prospective MBA candidates. MBAs get both their worldview and skills from understanding and deploying financial logic which is one of the most important business skills for a leader.

Choose an online course or class that will help you read a balance sheet, interpret a cash flow statement, and use terms like ROI, NPV, and IRR with confidence before enrolling in an MBA programme.

Courses that develop business skills in negotiation and strategy

MBA prospects need negotiation skills that will help you represent your organisation in high-level discussions. Enrol in courses that teach you the strategies that professional negotiators use that will help you master this skill even before you complete the MBA programme.

Strategy is also another highly sought-after skill that you will learn in any MBA programme. A great way to prepare yourself for this is by enrolling in courses that teach the applications of strategy in various fields including finance, entrepreneurship, and marketing.

A sound MBA programme will prepare you with the skills to analyse your company’s competitive position within a market that will help you understand your competitors and identify opportunities to help your organisation grow. Preparatory courses that equip a prospective MBA candidate with these business skills are extremely beneficial in the skills-development journey.