10 things about doing an MBA that may surprise you

Griffith University’s accelerated online MBA lets you study in your own time and space and provides the opportunity to engage with a network of like-minded professionals in an interactive and supportive digital environment
Ryan Seacrest and Taylor Swift are shocked and surprised. (Photo by: Chris Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

In 1908, Harvard Business School established the first ever MBA Program. Its inaugural curriculum was based upon Frederick Winslow Taylor’s writing on scientific management.

Although a century has passed, MBAs continue to place importance on management analysis and strategy.

With international accreditation, MBAs hold a degree of prestige that extends beyond the governing bodies of a single educational institution. As such, it’s unsurprising that an MBA is one of the world’s most sought-after business degrees.

If you’ve been thinking about embarking on an MBA journey, here are some interesting things to consider.

You don’t need to have a finance background

In early May, Business Insider reported on Alice Cassin, an MBA student at The University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Cassin didn’t come from the world of finance. In fact, she graduated from Princeton in 2010 with a degree in Near East Studies.

After working for a few years, Cassin felt like she was hitting career road blocks and that she needed something to set herself apart. “I felt that business principles and skills could help me do more good in the world and was something I didn’t see in a lot of the people I was working with,” she said.

Just because you don’t have a background or an undergraduate degree in finance doesn’t mean you can’t do an MBA. In fact, your unique experience and perspective could both work in your favour and be beneficial to your fellow students.

It’s also important to remember that any workplace you go into, regardless of industry, is a business. Having refined and advanced business knowledge can only benefit you.

You don’t need to have a degree

This point may be surprising, but it’s true.

Marion Fulker, the CEO of Committee for Perth Ltd, left school at 16. After working her way up through several sectors and roles, she hit CEO status at the age of 39. In a piece she wrote for Business Insider, she stated, “… a few years later I started to be overlooked for other executive level roles. Why? Because I didn’t have a degree.”

She continued, “I sought the advice of a head-hunter who, without hesitation, advised that I needed an MBA (Master of Business Administration). In his view it was just the thing to make me a standout candidate.”

It should be noted that some institutes will require a pre-requisite such as a graduate certificate in Business Adminstrations before a potential MBA student will be eligible for enrolment. But this is still great news for anyone doesn’t have an undergraduate degree but wants to open up more career doors for themselves. It is absolutely possible.

It can boost your oratory skills

If you’re someone who doesn’t feel like they can command the podium or the board room, this will be your chance to up-skill.

As someone who has their sights set on executive roles or business leadership, this is an imperative skill to have. You may need to represent your organisation at industry events in the future. Or if you ever need funding for a startup or project, you’ll need to address investors. Even when it comes to ordinary business meetings, oratory confidence can make a world of difference.

Between pitches, assignments and presentations — you will be given ample opportunity to brush up on your public speaking and in turn, boost your confidence.

It will get you thinking globally

When dealing with the daily work grind, it can be difficult to step back from the day-to-day to ponder big business issues, particularly on a global scale.

Unless you have worked internationally, you may not have even had exposure to a great deal of economic activity outside of your own country, or industry.

An MBA can provide you with the chance to study relevant issues and provide you with intelligent insight on business trends, issues and the economy from a larger perspective. Programs will often utilise case studies from a variety of sectors around the world to solidify this understanding.

If you’re looking to lead a company or start your own, this educational experience is imperative and can help lead you to success.

You can study anywhere

MBAs are internationally recognised and can be obtained from some of the most reputable universities and colleges in the world. This means that studying abroad is an attractive option, especially if you want to make some international contacts or are thinking of working overseas.

But just as the world is your oyster, so is your home. Many MBA students are mature-aged and already have established careers and family commitments. This can make studying difficult, particularly if you don’t have a university nearby that offers an MBA course.

Luckily, you can study online. This option is not only disrupting the traditional school models, it’s becoming increasingly tempting to prospective students. This allows you to work towards your career goals whilst still working, traveling or even looking after your family.

You can have work, life and study balance

MBAs are renowned for being as challenging as they are rewarding. But there’s no reason for you to put your life on hold to complete the degree. Again, as the modern world moves forward, this perspective is becoming outdated and archaic.

There are options other than full-time when it comes to completing your MBA. Whether you’re studying on campus or by correspondence, you can choose a workload that fits into your life.

You’ll learn how to be a leader

MBA program alumni count some of the most powerful and successful people in the world amongst their ranks — from politicians to Silicon Valley startups to Fortune 500 CEOs.

In addition to having great ideas and business acumen, they have gotten to where they are by being incredible leaders. Not everyone is born with a natural talent for this. Many have to learn it through experience and education. And an MBA can assist you with that and expose you to like-minded people who you can learn from.

The networking opportunities

Depending on which institution you attend and how you tackle your MBA, your networking opportunities may be varied. So you should take advantage for every chance that you get.

Events and seminars are obvious places, but don’t discount the classroom. You never know who the person beside you may become one day. And just think about how much business gets done outside of an office environment. Socialising is incredibly important.

And if you choose to study by correspondence, this same rules implies. You will still get opportunities to interact online with your fellow students. Don’t waste these moments and don’t fall into the trap of keeping to yourself.

It can help you start your own business

It’s no coincidence that companies such as Nike and Victoria’s Secret were started by MBA alumni.

MBAs cover a huge range of topics that not only make you think globally, but also equip you with the skills to help you start your own business.

Throwing back to networking, you may even find your business partner during the degree.

It can help you change industries

Data collected in a survey for PoetsAndQuants in 2016 revealed that 87% of recent MBA graduates from some of the US’s top business schools changed industries or roles. 69% have shown to change both.

Whether you’re pursuing an MBA full-time, part-time or by correspondence — it gives you the time to reassess your career goals.

Perhaps you will learn the tools to progress further on your current path. Maybe it will give you the inspiration or tools to pursue a startup.

Or you may find yourself able to combine your new learnings and interests with your past experiences to forge an entirely new path.

Either way, it gives you the chance to do what you want to do and follow your passion.