The MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree is probably the world’s best known and most widely recognised postgraduate degree.
Although most people consider an MBA for the prospects of an increased salary, other reasons for doing an MBA is to build up a personal and professional network, gain cutting edge strategic and technical business skills and widening of potential career opportunities.
The MBA becomes a great way to build up existing competencies – the theory learned can be utilised to find practical solutions to any variety of business issues.
Some of the reasons why an MBA might be right for you:
If you are an accountant and stuck in a unfulfilling role with a seemingly impenetrable glass ceiling, an MBA could be the add-on qualification that opens up the door to more exciting managerial positions.
If your current career path is not fulfilling your career aspirations and interests , business school can give you the opportunity to explore your options, then provide you with the training you need to change careers entirely. This is where it can be especially useful for CA’s – complementing your strong technical and financial expertise with other valuable skill sets such as marketing, strategic planning, entrepreneurship etc can open up doors to new and previously unimagined career paths.
Starting your own business
Interested in starting your own business, but not sure that you have the necessary expertise to launch a succesful start-up? An MBA can prepare you to do everything from writing a business plan to acquiring venture capital to launching an IPO. Research has shown that the failure rate for small businesses started by an MBA is about 50 percent less than the standard failure rate. However others would say that you do not need an MBA to be successful in starting your own business, and that you will learn much more by actually just starting something, especially if you already have an accounting qualification and experience. But for many the valuable network you can build up during an MBA will give you the inspiration, collaboration, support and partnership that was lacking in you having the guts and resources to start your own thing.
Developing technical skill and business knowledge
An MBA programme will put you on the fast-track to career advancement by offering you the chance to develop a wide range of general business knowledge and a broad base of technical skill in a relatively short period of time.
Exploring exciting emerging fields
an MBA can lead to an exciting career in a newly emerging field, such as brand management, information technology, e-commerce, or green tech.
Networking is a key benefit. Business school teaching styles encourage teamwork and, over the course of an MBA programme, you’ll develop important relationships that can serve you well throughout your business career. And no matter the school, you can often get plugged into a network of alumni working at a wide range of companies.
An MBA is a costly course and the investment in time and energy that are associated with the study loads are legendary.
As with the decision to become a CA, probably the most important thing to think about when considering an MBA is the reasons for getting one – are you unsure of who you are and what you want out of your career and are hoping that an MBA will give you the answer? If this is your driver for doing an MBA then it’s probably not the best way to invest your time and money.
It is important to know what you want to get out of your MBA and what you want to use it for, and why you cannot acquire what you need without it.
- If you need a network of highly driven, like-minded people with complementary skills sets in order to start your own business then great, an MBA can be the right move.
- If your current company mandates an MBA in order for you to progress into your dream position then yes, an MBA can be what you need to do.
- If you have a specific business idea but are lacking specific skill sets to successfully execute it and you choose an MBA that will give you those skills, then yes, it could be worth it.
But if you just feel stuck and think that perhaps an MBA will give you some direction then you are taking a big gamble with precious time and resources. Soul searching is therefore important before making a decision.
See below a long, but interesting video from Stanford GSB on what an MBA does not teach you about entrepreneurship:
Also check out mba.co.za for loads of info on an MBA in the South African context.
Have you done your MBA or are considering doing so in the future? What insights and advice do you have on doing and MBA as a CA?
- Define Your MBA Goals Before Applying to Grad School (usnews.com)