An MBA is one of the most important qualifications of our time, both for adult learners and for the UK economy.

Are you weighing up the pros and cons of further education?

With the Government’s introduction of the postgraduate loan, many potential students are now considering whether or not further study will enhance their career prospects.

With the democratisation and proliferation of further education courses, there are many routes to gaining technical and in-depth business skills. However, few have emerged that truly rival the strategy, leadership and decision making skills that a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) provides.

As well as developing the key skills required for progression into senior managerial and leadership roles, undertaking an MBA is a signal to potential employers of your commitment to personal development and success.

An MBA is one of the most important qualifications of our time, both for adult learners and for the UK economy.

What is an MBA?

Accredited MBA courses seek to prepare students for senior business positions, by exposing them to all areas of the business. Unlike other Masters programmes, which offer in-depth specialisations for specific disciplines or sectors, the MBA is interdisciplinary and incorporates learning across all aspects of the business spectrum, such as finance, economics, marketing and psychology.

The MBA’s roots date back to the 19th Century – a fact that may prompt some to question its place in a modern, fast paced world. However, the MBA has evolved to meet the ever-changing requirements of both students and employers across the world.

One of the key ways that the MBA has evolved is in its diversity. Perhaps once considered a predominantly financial or general management qualification, a broad range of specialisms are now available to students within the MBA framework, from healthcare to human resources. In fact, alongside marketing, human resource management is predicted to be one of the biggest areas of demand for major companies.

How will it help me?

You only have to look at recent figures from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) for proof. Its poll of global businesses found that 84% intended to hire somebody with an MBA in 2015, a figure up 10 percent on the previous year.

In addition to MBA graduates being in demand from employers, the qualification is particularly important for an economy targeting entrepreneurial growth. Having a great idea, a great design and a ground-breaking product or service is one thing – having the management expertise to evolve those into a successful business is quite another. The combination of the two is a powerful thing.

Undertaking an MBA will be a career changing decision. Whether you’re a recent graduate who wants to develop in-depth business skills, a professional looking to change career or an employee who wants to progress up the career ladder, having practical and strategic business skills is incredibly powerful. Not only do you understand the way a business works, you can link this with a thorough understanding of business objectives and strategy.

By working across many different business and related disciplines, the MBA develops students with a 360-degree understanding of the modern business landscape.

Holistic learning

An MBA doesn’t just develop a student’s practical and theoretical business skills; the course also develops a set of soft skills and experiences that may not be so well nurtured by other forms of study.

The MBA is a hard degree. It requires perseverance and develops a sense of determination important to business.

Additionally, an MBA course will be populated by a small number of likeminded individuals, who are often older, serious and more determined. The course demographic therefore provides a focused environment, with emphasis on teamwork and leadership. This setting offers perfect opportunities to develop networking skills and build important relationships.

However, the most important aspect of an MBA is the way in which it links practical business management skills with strategic decision-making, building students’ confidence in their own ability to understand and manage the external business environment.

Don’t fall foul of familiarity

The MBA may be a familiar one, but we need to ensure that familiarity doesn’t mean that the MBA starts to be dismissed as ‘old hat’. It isn’t. In fact, it has never been more relevant to modern business and modern lives.

Every aspect of our lives – security, food, elderly care – all require leadership and management. As the world becomes more connected and those connections more intricate, each sector needs managers who understand the 360-degree business landscape and how each individual part strategically fits together.

To succeed in business, you need more than just business skills. An MBA provides that, and more.

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