An MBA is one of the most popular Master’s degree programmes, with the highest demand in the world. Despite this, many people do not know exactly what an MBA consists of and what purpose it serves. Professor HB Klopper explains
The main purpose of an MBA degree is to teach students how to manage a company in every way; in other words, to train qualified executives who have a global vision for business to find innovative solutions to problems.
Earning a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) can help working professionals enhance their career opportunities, and receive increased compensation and job promotions.
An MBA is particularly relevant for those who wish to lead an organisation, understand universal business challenges, apply best practices and solve complex problems in the private and public sector.
With a master’s degree, your career path will take a different trajectory than without one; a trajectory that aims you towards being as successful and respected as possible in your career path.
So many opportunities will open up to you in your life, both professional and personal.
MBA graduates take jobs with small, medium and large organisations and often become entrepreneurs by starting their own businesses.
Since the degree is geared towards real-world professional outcomes, it is designed specifically for adults who have been in the workforce for a number of years in management or leadership roles.
This allows them the opportunity to also learn from their peers and gain from their experiences as well as those of the lecturers and guest speakers.
According to employers, MBA graduates are sought after for their ability to think critically and solve complex problems.
It is also true that employers usually look favourably on the qualification because the format promotes knowledge and skills that are applicable to any organisation (regardless of the sector).
The universal appeal stems from the MBA’s focus on collective business principles such as finance, marketing, operations, technology, accounting, business strategy, organisational behaviour, economics and entrepreneurship.
Although involving a broad spectrum of business-related topics at face value, the real value is in the personal growth benefits of being exposed to leadership competencies, combined with analytical and critical thinking.
But not all MBA degrees are created equal. The number of institutions or business schools offering MBAs is increasing, making the space quite crowded.
When recruiting, companies are looking for innovative thinkers who can offer a perspective different from their own. Studying an MBA forces you to get out of your comfort zone.
It is guaranteed that you will encounter the latest business trends, apply the newest management techniques and keep challenging yourself.
As an MBA is a big step, requiring self-discipline, time and financial commitment, it is recommended that you carefully consider at which institution you enrol.
Not only is the reputation of the institution of utmost importance, but also the involvement of well-qualified and experienced facilitators, over and above a proven track record in industry.
Aspects such as technology, supported teaching and learning, and easy access to the full set of support services, and a network of business professionals and alumni are also important.
An MBA will help you acquire business practices needed to start a new business or help existing ones grow. Without a doubt it will instil in you an entrepreneurial mind-set. For those who decide that an MBA is not worth it for them, there are alternatives to consider.
The Master of International Business degree is a good example, specialising in international business and cross-border trading.
Other master’s degrees in related fields are also good options for somebody looking to focus on economics, accounting, applied mathematics or water management, for instance.
Once you graduate with an MBA, regardless of the location where you plan to build your career, your degree will increase your business credibility.
The real advantage of it, however, is its proven versatility. With an MBA, you can pursue many careers and advance faster to better-paid jobs.
Klopper is the director of executive education at Monash SA (iiemsa.co.za),situated in Ruimsig, Johannesburg