MBA skills

What Skills Does an MBA Give You?

posted in: Education 1

The MBA stands out as the most popular postgraduate option on the market across all professional disciplines. A Master of Business Administration program teaches management and business skills. Courses combine rigorous academic study with practical case studies.

Earning an MBA provides an excellent grounding for anyone with management aspirations. The degree takes time and motivation to achieve. But the MBA is worth its weight in gold once you learn MBA skills and hold the qualification itself.

In this article, we’ll unpack some of the key skills and benefits that you can get from an MBA. You should gain a better sense of what your investment is going to reap for you. Let’s dive in.

Improved Productivity

Productivity

An MBA program is an intense experience that asks a lot from you in a short space of time. Through a carefully structured curriculum, the degree aims to stretch you and push you out of your comfort zone.

While an MBA course can be hard in some ways, the experience actually shows just how productive you can be when focused and operating efficiently. You learn an enormous number of productivity enhancing skills, both directly and indirectly, that transfer back to your post-MBA life.

An instructor once summed up the MBA experience as a “two-year course in decision-making and trade-offs”[1]. Balancing trade-offs and choices is necessary in the cases you’re exploring as well as in your own work and study habits.

You must learn to control your time and maximise your effectiveness if you are to succeed with your MBA studies. Accomplishing your goal will help you in leaps and bounds going forward.

Leadership

Leader

If you ever thought leadership was some innate quality than can’t be learned, think again. A key objective in most MBA programs is to teach leadership skills.

Some of the subjects you may study in the leadership space include organisational leadership, business strategy and how to motivate others to execute a company’s vision.

An example of applied leadership training comes from Ducere Global Business School, which offers online MBA programs for students in Australia. You participate in three online projects in groups of three, first as “follower”, then as “manager” and finally as “leader”. These are real projects with Australian and international companies.

The role-based approach really teaches you the difference between normal professional work and the responsibilities of managers and leaders. See the Ducere profile for more information about their online courses.

Career Capital

Career capital

An MBA is often described as a career accelerator because of the in-depth business skills that you acquire throughout the process. By digging into business problems of all kinds, you learn different tools, techniques and ways of thinking. All of this practice can help you advance your business savvy and capabilities in the workplace.

Employers love MBAs. You may even be able to convince your company to pay for your degree.

Those who have been through the program bring new insights, new ideas and a fresh take on modern business back to work. It’s difficult to understate just how valuable this career capital can be as you aim to advance in your field.

Improved Job Prospects

Job opportunities

Building on the point above, MBAs help to enhance your credibility when looking for jobs. The reputation of the MBA is globally recognised. You’ll find that your job prospects will drastically improve when you have one under your belt.

The credential is a marker that shows to hiring managers that you can work hard, you are adept with problem solving and you have a well-rounded business understanding. As well, recruiters will anticipate that you’ve internalised some of the modern innovations that are affecting the business world.

Because of the skills gained, you stand out from other candidates. An MBA degree gives you a much better chance of getting those highly sought after positions.

Not only that, but you’ll be able to command a significant salary premium. A 2021 study[2] from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) estimated that the degree delivers around a premium of around $3m in lifetime earnings over 35 years. That is a staggering figure, showing the importance of an MBA in the marketplace.

Communication Skills

Office communication

One of the key tenets of an MBA is that you need to work through scenarios, analyse them, and come up with your own opinions and solutions that you think will make the difference. You then need to be able to communicate those ideas clearly and in a nuanced fashion.

Analysing and expressing over and over helps to improve your communication skills, which is a very underrated element of business success. You can have the best ideas in the world but, if you can’t communicate them and influence others, you’ll never have an impact.

A study from Bloomberg[3] showed that, when they asked companies about what skills were most in need within their organizations, communication skills came out as one of the most highly valued.

These softer skills are something that are in short supply. If you can master the art of communication, you’ll put yourself in a good position to succeed. Your MBA will give you the tools and confidence you need to communicate your ideas in ways that move the needle for your business.

Critical Thinking

In an MBA, it’s not the content that is so valued. You can, for example, find business case studies anywhere these days. Instead, what is valued are the critical thinking skills that you learn to apply.

An MBA teaches you to pull problems apart and go back to first principles so that you can come up with unique solutions that get at the core issue. This is much easier said than done, of course.

As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.

Harrington Emerson[4]

Most of us tend to default to auto-pilot, following the status quo of what we’ve done in the past. An MBA program teaches you to avoid those tendencies and instead be much more rigorous in your thinking. You learn how to pull apart your assumptions and check them for accuracy and relevance before you make any decisions.

This sort of original thinking is possibly the most powerful skill you’ll learn, and it expands its reach far beyond your professional life. With a little practice, you can become a much more rational and balanced thinker in your personal life – which we all can use.

Data Analysis

Data analysis

In an MBA, you work through vast amounts of information and much of it could be irrelevant. You need to be able to sift through what you’ve been given and learn to identify those pieces that actually matter.

Getting to the heart of a problem is important because that’s what the real business world looks like. As we all move towards more and more data-driven decision making, your ability to analyse data and act accordingly will be of utmost value.

Identifying what matters is a crucial skill of data analysis. You look for patterns, signals and information that are disproportionately impacting the problem you’re trying to address. 

Companies of all types are struggling to find the sort of big data analysis skills that they need. A survey[5] of some of the world’s biggest employers undertaken by the Financial Times showed that 13% of respondents rated data analysis skills as “impossible to hire” with the rest emphasising how rare it actually is in the marketplace.

You can leverage your MBA to gain those highly sought after skills and make yourself unstoppable in the modern business landscape. The programs featured at Online Study Australia include an MBA for technology managers, where you learn how to get the most from big data and other digital information.



There you have it, those are just some of the key benefits that come with an MBA degree. As you can see, they range across the gamut and will give you a well-rounded set of tools and skills. You can apply these in any business situation for your and your company’s benefit.

The combination of and interplay between these benefits are what makes an MBA unique. Everyone’s learning journey is different but, at the end of the day, you walk out with a newfound confidence and skillset. An MBA will set you apart from those who haven’t had the opportunity.

All that remains then is to take the skills that you’ve learned and put them to work. When you do that, the world is your oyster.


[1] ‘3 productivity principles: MBA Learnings’ by Rohan Rajiv.  http://blogs.kellogg.northwestern.edu/inside/2015/09/04/3-productivity-principles-mba-learnings/

[2] ‘New Research on Hiring Trends and Salary Projections for Business School Graduates’ by Rahul Choudaha.  https://blog.gmac.com/gmac-advisor/new-research-on-hiring-trends-and-salary-projections-for-business-school-graduates

[3] ‘The Bloomberg Recruiter Report: Job Skills Companies Want But Can’t Get’ by Bloomberg.  https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-job-skills-report/

[4] ‘First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge’ by Shane Parrish.  https://fs.blog/2018/04/first-principles/

[5] ‘What top employers want from MBA graduates’ by Patricia Nilsson.  https://www.ft.com/content/64b19e8e-aaa5-11e8-89a1-e5de165fa619

  1. Derek James
    | Reply

    I’m always hearing people talk about the importance of critical thinking and sure, you can’t underestimate it. On the other hand, you also need to be proficient in data analysis. That’s why a degree like an MBA makes such a difference and helps you stand out from others.

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