3 myths about the value of an MBA

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  • : Will you receive a return on investment in pursuing a part-time or online MBA? The answer is maybe. There are a variety of factors that can impact your return. Learn about them here.

3 myths about the value of an MBA

Year after year, it’s the question asked by hundreds of thousands of people around the world: Is an MBA worth it? As an MBA becomes more popular than ever before, it’s also quickly becoming a degree that critics, naysayers, and cynics alike love to bash. We explore three commonly held myths about the value of an MBA and take look at what the evidence says.

  1. MBAs are no longer relevant.

Today’s economy demands that workers specialize more than ever before in their chosen function. But among a group of highly-skilled subject matter experts, how do you differentiate yourself and show that you are willing to learn how to bridge the gap from technical expert to leader?

For all the advancements and changes in the American workforce after the Great Recession, high quality managers and leaders are as rare as they’ve ever been. As long as there are companies that don’t use “flat” org structures, or as long as imperfect managers exist, there will be a need for management education. Employers report that “soft” skills—think people skills—are more difficult to screen for and hire than technical skills but are just as critical. Prospective hires who can balance the quantitative with the qualitative are more likely to stand out.

  1. Online MBAs are worthless.

The idea that a graduate program must be completed on campus to be valuable is rooted in the past. Online programs are delivering value to students who demand a high level of flexibility in how they complete their coursework. In 2019, Poets&Quants, a web resource that covers news about business schools, conducted a large-scale survey of online MBA students to gauge their level of satisfaction with their programs. Their findings contradict the idea that pursuing an online MBA isn’t valuable.

  • Nearly 40% of graduates surveyed reported having received a promotion at work and more than half said they gained an increase in pay as a direct result of their participation in an online MBA program.
  • University of Utah MBA Online graduates report even rosier outcomes. An average 55% of graduates received a promotion during their program, and students report an average 34% salary increase by graduation.

While there has been a proliferation of online graduate business programs in the last decade, the quality of such programs has been the biggest question. Savvy prospective students recognize the difference between the programs offered by accredited, longstanding business schools and the ones offered by newer, for-profit schools.

  1. There’s no ROI with an MBA.

Will you receive a return on your investment in pursuing an MBA? The answer is maybe. There are a variety of factors that can impact your return:

What are the norms in your industry?

Some industries such as banking, corporate finance, and management consulting are the traditional homes of MBA graduates. In other industries such as sales, education, or medicine, an MBA may provide valuable knowledge but offers less direct pathways for advancement. For everyone else, the answer will likely lie somewhere in the middle.

MBA students of today are most likely to work in industries like technology or products/services. Some of our most successful MBA alumni at the University of Utah are those who came from highly technical roles (engineering, computer science, etc.) and leveraged what they learned to transition into leadership at their companies.

 Which program format is right for you?

Part-time MBA programs allow students to continue to work while they pursue their degree in the evenings or online. This means that students don’t forgo two years of income — an option that many who question the ROI of an MBA don’t take into account. Furthermore, many students work for companies with tuition sponsorship options built into their benefits, further driving down the cost for the degree.

Are you ready to hustle?

An MBA will equip you with the skills you will need to be a leader and change maker but ultimately it is up to you to put them to use.

The Eccles School’s Professional and Online MBA programs offer executive career coaching to all current students to help them achieve their goals, ranging from working toward a promotion, changing companies/industries, or starting a business. What they can’t do is earn that promotion for you.

On top of career coaching, our programs offer regularly scheduled networking activities, career assessments, job opportunities postings, expert entrepreneurship advice, and more. The time commitment to fully engage in these opportunities may not be feasible or necessary for everyone pursuing a part-time MBA, but the point remains: Career advancement does not come solely through a desire to advance, it requires action.

Full-time MBA programs often have the reputation of delivering the greatest level of career advancement and most students in those programs do experience incredible career transformations. But why is this? It’s because of the time and effort full-time MBA students invest in activities that will advance their career. If you are willing to invest a comparable amount of time and effort to career advancing activities, you are also likely to see significant results.

To learn more about the Eccles School’s four MBA program options, visit here.

2020-01-21T15:58:27-07:00December 20th, 2019|

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