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Mba - Why Do It & What Will I Gain
6/8/2006 at 8:21 AM ET
I work as a senior brand communication manager and I am thinking of consolidating my professional carreer by having an MBA. I will most probably find myself in Marketing for the next 5 years, but I am targeting a different level and responsibilities. Is an MBA going to help me achieve this and more?
I guess I am asking the feedback of those of you who already ran an MBA and are willing to share their experince with me. My questions are actually simple but taking a step forward might take a good deal of thinking: why did you go to an MBA, did you get (meaning learnt) what you expected to get? Was it worth it? The money, the time, maybe the friends / family? Did this MBA change in any way you and your conceptions on things?
I have been reading diffeent articles on MBA - some pro and some against. I understand that there is no way you get a three steps ahead in your carreer just because you did this MBA. Is it then just about networking and connections?
What you recommend? Any answer would be much appreciated. Thank you
6/8/2006 at 8:31 AM
The biggest benefit I gained from my MBA was an overall understanding of business. You will learn the terminology and issues for all functional areas of a business. This is a great help in the marketing role, since you will be required to support people in all areas of the organization, from the CEO to areas such as sales, operations, quality control, etc.
This is also important from the customer perspective. The more you understand overall business issues, the better job you can do of communicating benefits of your product or service to customer, especially if you can put those into $$ saved, or business growth. An MBA can help give you the tools to make these ROI connections for the customer.
6/8/2006 at 8:34 AM
One other answer to your question, since getting my MBA I have had positions from Manager, Director, Business Group Leader, CEO, and my current role as VP of Marketing in a rapidly growing business. My answer is YES, the MBA did change my career path, it greatly accelerated my ability to get promoted into and perform in higher level management positions.
6/8/2006 at 9:03 AM
if you plan to work for a larger (fortune 500) company, having an MBA is getting to be a must do.
The reason is the competition. When all candidates except you have one, then you look unqualified.
6/8/2006 at 9:26 AM
It truly does depend on where you see you future. If you want to "climb the corporate ladder", then an MBA is part of the price of admission. If you see yourself in smaller companies or being an entrepreneur, then the MBA won't effect your chance of success.
Not that you don't get exposed to a LOT of valuable information in gaining the degree, but a) much of it will not be used in your career, b) some of it you already know, c) you have to balance the time/expense of the investment against putting the time into furthering your career through work.
BTW - I got an MBA a long time ago, because I was in the corporate world, and felt I needed it to advance - it did help. However, later on I bolted from the mold and went into entrepreneurial activities. What I got from my MBA was a credential that I used early in my career to make a couple of upward moves. Most of what I need to achieve business success was learned through OJT.
As with most things in life, there are pros and cons. In this case the driving factor should be how you see your career playing out.
6/8/2006 at 9:42 AM
I did MA in Marekting and Id do it again and Im even considering a Phd in Marketing. I learned a lot more than I could expect. It helped me in job applications. It doesnt make your CV stand out because you have masters degree, as so many people have it these days as it has become a neccessity, specially with larger corporations and leading brands, but it doesnt make your CV less valuable which it would be without and masters degree. If you have a good job already and your happy with it and if you think you know everything about marketing then you should do it simply to add some value to yourself and your brand. Its a status symbol as well and it gives you some sort of authority to say and do things. Thats my view of it but inevitably you will find yourself with increased level of knowledge once you have finished your degree. Go for it. Good luck, Emi
6/8/2006 at 10:23 AM
I'll add my two-cents.
I am a Market Manager working in a Marketing organization of a large, global company. I do not have an MBA, however I do have a PhD in a scientific discipline and have taken lots of classes on Marketing-related topics.
My opinion, like that of many esteemed colleagues who have already posted answers, is that adding an MBA to your resume shows you have the aptitude to cover/understand some complex topics. In my case, the PhD is viewed/accepted as an MBA-equivalent degree (for purposes of meeting e.g. job requirements).
When you get down to it however, it is not the degree that will get you the follow-up promotions, choice assignments, etc. It is your performance. Therefore, successfully implementing what you learn during your Marketing-related training is the critical factor.
Hope this helps,
6/8/2006 at 11:50 AM
Getting my MBA (just a few a years ago) was something I had thought about but had never pursued since undergrad days 15 years earlier.
Then one day, tired of thinking about the decision of go/no go I realized I would never be satisfied on a personal level until I did it.
So, for me that is where I have realized the biggest gain - personally - as it was an extreme exercise in discipline and time-management to balance school, work, and family for the 2 years it took.
This personal gain has since had an effect on my professional gain in many ways; being an entrepreneur, it wasn't about climbing a corporate ladder, it was about building my own business and it has helped me do this by enhancing my ability to think critically and make more effective decisions.
Bottom line, my advice is do it because you want to do it first for personal gain, not because you feel it will advance you professionally. although monetary gain will at some point happen as a result.
My experience with my classmates is that those of us who shared this motivation where the ones who excelled in both our learning teams and individual assignments, and we had the most "fun" doing it.
Those who were doing it for professional reasons (many of whom had employers paying for it) were clearly less motivated and struggled, in fact many slowly dropped out over the 2 year period.
One other small thing - cost. Don't look at the cost in terms of how long it will take you to pay for it, this isn't what it is about, and you'll go nuts if you do. Just live with the fact that instead of buying a really nice car or second piece of property that you are doing something good for yourself for the future and helping to ward of any early-stage dementia that may be latent in your family genes.
6/8/2006 at 8:17 PM
Mmmm. This is a question that gets asked a bit on this forum. As a strategic futurist that worked in the tertiary sector and spent a bit of time tracking post graduate degrees and their marketability it is far less cut and dried than it first appears.
The best answer is 'it depends'. The marketplace is already showing signs that MBA's are losing their credibility and wow factor. That is not to say they aren't valuable its just that they are no longer seen as impressive as they once were for a whole raft of reasons.
Many of the reasons can be placed into two boxes:
1. 'Everyone' has one so they are no longer a differentiator (and therefore are expected)
2. Business schools treat them as a commodity income generator which means the value of the teaching and what is actually learned has shifted from an extensive knowledge dump into a cookie cutter one size fits all model.
Does that mean you don't do an MBA? No it does not but what it does mean is that you might want to question the reasons you are thinking 'do an MBA' rather than 'What else might help me advance my career?'
In the western world in particular there is a distinct shift at the top end hiring towards degrees other than MBA's - things like Philosophy, Innovation, Strategic Foresight and Psychology (even teaching to a lesser extent) because the 'problem Y means solution X' training being foisted upon MBA students is now giving way to a request by bigger firms to 'hiring people who can think beyond the model and text book'. There's plenty that has been written in things like 'Campus Review' in Australia/NZ and 'The Chronicle of Higher Education' in the US - well worth looking into.
My suggestion then is you look beyond the MBA question and first identify all of the things that may assist you. THEN make your call. If the MBA program is what fits your needs then avoid the mistake of just working to get the degree - maximise what you learn and the approaches you take because this will be what separates you from other MBA graduates
6/20/2006 at 8:27 AM
I am closing this question since there has been no activity in over a week.
Thanks for participating!
Carrie (Production Editor)
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