Why and when to consider an MBA

Gender equality has made significant advances in many fields of employment, but when it comes to the top leadership positions in business, we still have some way to go. One way to ensure you are the top of your game in the tough world of business is to go for an MBA.

Why an MBA?
Business people in a meeting
Image by le temple du chemisier, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

Many people feel that an MBA, or Masters of Business Administration, is a qualification that will equip you with the skills to get to the next level. Whether you’re looking to change career direction, want to progress to management level or require more skills to go it alone, an MBA could be the way to get there.

It’s something many women in business will have considered at some point in their career and it offers plenty of choice too – an estimated 2,500 courses are offered globally. Of course, the top business schools such as Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge are incredibly tough to get into, but traditional schools are facing competition these days from on line course providers offering quality qualifications at a fraction of the cost.

As well as core subjects such as finance, accounting and human resources, an MBA can also cover topics such as marketing, computer information systems and even macroeconomics. It really depends on the course provider. Aside from these hard skills, an MBA degree programme helps you acquire ‘soft’ skills. Not only will you develop essential time management and self-motivation techniques, but through group discussions you will develop critical thinking and negotiation.

Many women find that having a Masters in Business gives them the confidence to progress further in their chosen profession, knowing not only that they have the smarts but they have an official qualification to ‘back it up’.

Most MBA courses also require candidates to undertake a work placement. Choose the placement carefully and you could gain first-hand experience of your chosen sector, and potentially secure a job once you graduate.

When?
Female Graduate
Image by Will Folsom, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

Deciding when to do your MBA is a difficult decision. Although the temptation might be to apply as soon as you find the right course, a number of factors can stand in your way. Bear in mind that most MBA programmes require candidates to have an undergraduate degree and at least three year’s work experience.

There are also non-work related issues to consider. For example, if you plan to have a family, would you prefer to have an MBA under your belt first, or wait until your children are older? Plenty of working mums complete MBAs, so this really comes down to personal circumstance. There are plenty of points in your life when an MBA might be appropriate; indeed women have also been known to undertake MBAs much later in their careers, when they feel more confident and ready to take the plunge.

No one will tell you an MBA is easy, and like many things in business, it can be even harder for women operating in a male environment with life and work to juggle. But don’t let this deter you. An MBA is a significant achievement and a really impressive string to your bow. Go forth and conquer.

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