The career pathways opened up by MBA graduation
The first master of business administration (MBA) degree program was founded at Harvard in 1908. It was one of the first degrees that aimed to enhance the business acumen of students. Modern business practices hadn’t really existed in a codified way until the beginning of the 20th century. These days, MBAs are widely recognized in many industries. The master of business administration qualification is a truly international educational mark of merit. Every major business school in the world offers some form of this venerable course.
What, then, can MBA graduates do with their newfound knowledge and recognition? Here is a quick guide to some of the career pathways opened up to MBA graduates. Truth be told, the possibilities are endless: the MBA is an immensely versatile course and qualification type.
In the world of consulting, appearances matter. Potential clients are much more likely to hire a consultant that has completed one of the best online MBAs or an in-person MBA at a top university. Management consultants are hired by businesses for several key reasons. They help to solve complex issues within the structure of a company that are adversely affecting performance. They identify areas of potential growth by observing companies in ways that internal staff would be unable to do. They analyze data in order to come up with solutions.
Management consultants are usually required to have demonstratable experience in the world of business, as well as specialist knowledge of business practices and performance analysis. These specialist areas of expertise can be honed during MBA study. MBA students wanting to go into the highly competitive world of management consulting need to tailor their studies towards analytical and structural expertise. A good business school will have plenty of experienced business people amongst faculty that will be able to guide students towards the latest consulting techniques – whether the course is given online or in person. An MBA is a great feather in any hopeful consultant’s cap.
Entrepreneurial expertise is one of the most valuable skill sets that an MBA student develops during their time on a course. Entrepreneurial expertise needs to be immensely broad if a person is to have success in turning a concept into a growing business. Some of the skills needed are:
Entrepreneurs need to be able to plan a sensible and data-driven long-term strategy for their business. Broad brush strategic thinking that actually works is almost always the result of very keen analysis of the tiny details.
Using up-to-date market analysis techniques – aided by the latest technology – is a necessity in any entrepreneurial enterprise. In recent years, market analysis has been driven by the computational coding of ‘big data’. Big data is a term that any MBA graduate will be familiar with. Big datasets tend to be so large and diverse that they can only be made sense of using advanced software. MBA students learn how to track and forecast market trends using this technology.
Management and leadership
Successful entrepreneurs need to be highly competent leaders and managers of people. No entrepreneur truly relies upon themselves alone. Managerial and leadership skills are core business administration areas that are covered in every MBA course.
Complex entrepreneurial strategies tend to throw up complex bumps in the road. Being able to plan for and solve extremely difficult problems without sacrificing key aims is vital.
Some people love it, some people hate it, but every entrepreneur has to take part in networking. Networking successfully involves the employment of a huge range of skills – both interpersonal and strategic. MBA courses are full of experienced business people. This makes them perfect arenas for practicing networking skills.
All of these areas of expertise can be honed during the course of a master of business administration degree. Any entrepreneurial enterprise involves a certain degree of risk-taking, but with the right knowledge, this risk can be made to work to a business person’s advantage.
Financial managers offer similar services to management or strategic consultants but often operate from within the corporate structure of a company. They are employed to advise business leaders on financial matters. They use analytical skills but also liaise with every department within a business to try and identify ways of promoting growth and saving on expenditure. They often have a close relationship with senior accounting staff within a business.
Business strategists tend to look at the big picture. Using huge quantities of data and an ever-evolving knowledge of competitor strategies, they create the overarching goals that a company uses to focus its efforts. Strategists are usually hired as very senior executive staff members. The success of a business relies upon the creation of sound strategies.
Product managers deal with every area during the development, launching, and marketing of new products. Ultimately, businesses rely upon the creation and marketing of good products and services. Product managers are hired in order to make sure that this crucial aim is achieved. The sheer essentiality of good product management means that people working in this field are often paid handsomely and offered plenty of opportunities for advancement into the executive realm.
Fintech – short for financial technology – is a rapidly growing field. It is concerned with the automation and technological enhancement of financial systems. Fintech consultants need to have a working knowledge of the latest AI and machine learning technology as well as a very good handle on business practice. MBA courses touch upon both of these areas. Fintech consultants are valued highly in modern business. They advise companies on the technology that they should be adopting in order to achieve their strategic aims. Financial institutions such as banks have recently started pouring huge quantities of money into fintech investment programs – making fintech consultants hot property. Tailoring an MBA study period towards a career in fintech is an immensely wise choice – and one supported by good MBA program administrators around the globe.