In times of a rapidly changing global economy, business leaders, managers and decision-makers need to face the everyday challenges of constantly evolving career prospects and business environments. Immersing in an MBA experience equips professionals with just the right skill-set and mindset to make a difference in business leadership.
Plan your future with an MBA
The MBA provides the toolkit of all the hard and soft skills needed by future leaders. Apart from that, it is truly the most transformational degree that it is possible to get and can shape the person’s future.
Some professionals enrol in MBA programmes with a strict plan. They know exactly what they want in terms of their future role in business and how business school can help them – whether it is to gain additional specialised expertise, upskill, or access a vast network of contacts among peers, professors and alumni.
Other MBA aspirants approach business school studies with more open minds, pondering several future career track options.
Traditional MBA career paths
The GMAC Prospective Students Survey Report 2017 shows that prospective MBA students typically have one of three traditional career paths in mind for their postgraduate employment: enhance their career, switch career, or start a new business. Equal numbers of candidates are career enhancers (38%), who seek to grow in their job by developing their technical expertise, or career switchers (38%), who seek to pivot in a different direction by switching to a new industry or job function. One quarter of candidates (25%) have entrepreneurial goals.
Most prospective students who can be categorised as “career enhancers“ tend to be young (57% are under the age of 24) and have less work experience than other candidates. They are the candidates most likely to seek basic technical skill development over learning how to do a job better.
More candidates who plan to switch careers intend to change their job function (72%) rather than their industry of employment (61%). Thirty-four percent of career switchers say they want to switch both industries and careers. Career switchers are more likely to have reached a professional plateau in their current career or job and are seeking more challenging and interesting work.
The survey shows that candidates seeking entrepreneurship are more likely to be motivated to make a difference in the world at large, in their communities, or in their industry. These candidates also tend to be less motivated by a desire to earn more money. Ten percent of such students are already managing their own business and seeking the required skills to better manage their business ventures and develop their technical skills and ability to influence others.
The value of B-school career services
B-schools’ career services are instrumental in expanding students’ career horizons. Apart from offering individual coaching, career training, recruitment activities, and career-related tools and resources (including guides, tests, and networks), career teams work closely with recruiters and businesses to advise students on how to prepare for the individual recruitment processes of major companies. A lot of graduates have benefited from this. Katelyn Tripses, MBA Class of 2016 at Hult Business School (US), says: “Prior to Hult, I worked in a full service advertising agency. My career services advisor was instrumental in helping me find my current my job. Now, I’m the Head of Growth at an online peer-to-peer learning marketplace. I’m much more challenged than I would have been elsewhere.” However, it should be noted that instead of relying solely on the career services, it should be the students who take the initiative in looking for opportunities and shaping their future. They should be the active side.
The MBA in a changing workplace
The world is changing and with it the working world. The increasing complexity of navigating organisations arises from a variety of factors. Globalisation and technology play a key role. Workplaces are growing more multicultural and companies are increasingly relying on dispersed teams for projects. Teams no longer need to be in the same physical location or be employed full-time but, in order for them to work effectively, new management approaches are needed. The new multigenerational workplace necessitates the development of new management and leadership skills and expertise.
The millennial generation, also strongly affected by technology and globalisation, has a strong impact on organisations. Also known as Gen Y, they were born between 1982 and 1996 and are currently 20-34. By 2020 they will make up 35% of the global workforce, the same as the previous generation – Gen X – born in the 1960s-70s. Forecasts show that the oldest members of Gen X will be in the workforce for at least another 10 years and the younger Gen X members will still be working in 30 years’ time.
Gen Y entered the labour market at the most uncertain time in our modern history so far – marked by the global recession following the 2008 financial crisis, record-high youth unemployment, and prospects for fast-changing business cycles. Despite all this, millennials are optimistic about their employment future and have adapted a winning approach. According to the ManpowerGroup vision survey – Millennial Careers: 2020 – continuous skills development is crucial for millennials to remain employable. 93% of them want lifelong learning and are willing to spend their own time and money on further training.
An MBA is one such opportunity for those aspiring to business leadership or entrepreneurial ventures, of course not limited to Gen Y only. Currently, MBA classrooms provide a unique multigenerational learning environment with a mix of peers and professors from different generations, in addition to different cultures, academic and professional backgrounds. This learning experience is to the benefit of both generations as together they will be shaping the business world for decades to come.
The MBA strives to prepare business professionals to seize opportunities wherever and whenever they arise. If you want to be one of them, join the club.
This article is original content produced by Advent Group and included in the 2018-2019 annual Access MBA, EMBA, and Masters Guide under the title “Open New Career Horizons with an MBA”. The latest online version of the Guide is available here.