The Amazing MBA

Big news in graduate education! For the first time ever, the MBA (including specialized business master’s degrees in programs like accounting or finance) has surpassed even a master’s in education in terms of the number of master’s degrees conferred in the US. What’s been happening? A couple of things contribute to this success—from the customer perspective as well as the suppliers of those degrees. Demand is driven by prospective students who see a very predictable path to success based on employer needs, the ability to achieve great financial rewards, and a typically solid return on investment.

From an institutional perspective, a lot of the best MBA programs have done an excellent job adapting to the needs of the marketplace by developing programs that address some of the most important issues facing business today. According to Paul Danos (dean of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business), these issues include “…ethics, sustainability, leadership, technology, globalization, and much more [which] have been mainstreamed into MBA programs along with the classic core topics of business management.” That level of market awareness and adaptability based on the evolution of how business is done is a great lesson for graduate programs of all disciplines and fields, including the four programs that round out the top five (in order)—education, the health professions, public administration, and engineering.

An article on Masters Portal by Maria Alexandra Bujor provides a little bit more from the student perspective on why an MBA is worth the investment. Bujor describes five key advantages for students to seek out an MBA. These audience-relevant qualities are a great checklist to consider as you promote your MBA.

  • Higher salary—Average salaries for an MBA graduate typically range from $70,000–$120,000—a good salary and good return on investment, particularly in comparison to other master’s qualifications.
  • Better career opportunities—It’s estimated that 70 percent of MBA graduates worldwide are senior managers or board directors. MBAs help to open doors for those interested in securing high-level management positions as well as those pursuing new careers.
  • Better networking opportunities—Even as a student you begin to develop important networks with other students (future high-level managers); faculty (often former or current well-connected business professionals), through internships and professional experiences; and program alumni.
  • Development of new skills and knowledge—This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s an important reminder that an MBA helps take people out of their daily professional challenges and ruts and forces them to get out of their comfort zone, address the latest issues, apply the newest techniques, and constantly face new and different challenges. It’s a skill that will stick with MBA graduates throughout their careers.
  • Holistic perspective—Being exposed to (and dealing firsthand under the tutelage of faculty and colleagues) a wide variety of business challenges increases an MBA students’ overall perspective and increases their sensitivity and awareness to macro and micro business issues.

Want to talk more about marketing and recruiting your graduate programs? Join me in Scottsdale, Arizona, February 23–25, 2015, for Stamats’ Adult Student Integrated Marketing Conference!

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