Contemplating a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program? One of your key considerations is choosing a focused program that specializes in a particular field or a traditional, general MBA. The versatility of a general MBA provides a time-tested base of knowledge in business and management fundamentals. General MBA programs develop time-tested leadership capabilities that apply across industries, departments and roles, including business acumen and soft skills.
1. Corporate Recruiters Seek MBA Talent
The general MBA remains a standard in corporate recruiting. If you are in the market for an online MBA program, consider these findings from the 2020 Corporate Recruiters Survey and the two waves of responses (Wave I: Feb 17 – March 17; Wave II: June 17 – July 17).
- The salary premiums earned by business management graduates held steady, even during the pandemic. The median salary of MBAs, at $115,000, is 75% more than those with a bachelor’s degree in Wave I, though it decreased to $105,000 in Wave II.
- Compensation levels are even higher for Fortune 100 companies and the big-three industries that hire the most MBAs — consulting, finance and technology. These three industries reported stable and increasing MBA hires rates, even during the pandemic.
- The $145,000 median salary of MBAs in the consulting industry is twice that of bachelor’s degree holders in Wave I.
- The percentage of recruiters planning to hire MBA graduates in 2021 is 89%.
- MBA graduates command a salary premium over all other graduate degree programs.
2. “Force Multiplying” Soft Skills
General MBA programs develop the soft skills that corporations value most in their leaders and leaders-in-training. According to the Princeton Review, these programs strengthen leadership, creativity, communication and critical thinking skills. U.S. News & World Report notes that in major corporations, MBA graduates are hired for these soft skills, which enable them to serve as a “conduit and bridge between departments.” Graduates are also trained to be liaisons between companies and their constituents, the media and potential business partners.
3. Transferable Business Acumen
In your industry and with your present employer, chances are you develop business fundamentals as they apply to your particular role. For example, you may have become an expert in accounting, human resources, financial reporting or marketing, but it is unlikely you are fluent in each area and can serve as a “bridge between departments,” in an executive capacity. However, a general MBA program offers you a chance to step outside of your industry and position to master a full suite of fundamental business capabilities.
MBA education gives you executive-level insights into business problems and the ability to facilitate productive discussions in order to develop solutions.
4. Job Security and Flexibility to Ride Out Economic Cycles
Expertise in a single industry can leave you vulnerable to job loss or stagnant wages. Many industries are cyclical, and leaders in those industries may have smaller networks as a result of industry limitations. Fortunately, for general MBA graduates, having versatile, transferable business acumen and soft skills makes them attractive candidates in more than one industry and even more than one function within an organization. It also enables them to network far and wide. When a national recession rocks every industry, an MBA education helps professionals succeed in business decision-making and finding new paths to profits.
5. Entrepreneurial Possibilities
MBA graduates are well prepared to excel in their respective industries, but they also have a complete set of business tools to transform ideas into viable businesses. They know how to raise capital, set up an accounting function and market their fledgling businesses for growth. Phil Knight (Nike), Scott McNealy (Sun Microsystems), Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg L.P.) and Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX) are among the many MBA graduates who have explored entrepreneurial possibilities and created hugely successful companies.
If you want to keep your employment options wide open, grow in your career and explore new possibilities, consider enrolling in a time-tested general MBA program.