On The Fence About An MBA? Here’s Why You Should Do It

Should I Do An MBA

Choosing to do a postgraduate course of study can be daunting especially for students who may have not completed undergraduate studies previously or who completed their studies a number of years ago. A great deal has changed in the higher education environment – and mostly this is a good thing. Technology has now become ubiquitous and the notion of studying on line and off campus has become a significant reality. These changes and the diversity associated in some ways make the choice of institution and focus all that more complex.

In terms of ‘cold hard cash’ opportunities – an MBA graduate base salary is currently $103,000 pa – www.payscale.com – The award considerably enhances the opportunity to move into positions such as CEO, Project Manager, General Manager and Operations Manager with a salary range of $125,000 to $200,000 on average.

Reasons to do an MBA or postgraduate business program

The MBA still remains high currency in the business environment. People looking for advancement to more senior positions within corporations and/or institutions are well advised to consider doing an MBA – often referred to as ‘the real deal’ award. Australia has a very good reputation around MBA delivery – and the variety of alternative modes makes the choice even easier.

There are other options – but the current model of the MBA provides ample opportunity to specialise. Doing postgraduate study certainly requires effort and focus, but the rewards are significant at both a personal and professional level. Many of my own graduates have reflected on the fact that postgraduate study changed their lives, provided new focus and direction, and provided an enriching experience at a number of levels.

What to expect when doing an MBA

For the mature aged student the whole process can be a little overwhelming at first. Even the language around units/subjects; the structure of the award; the various options available; and the physical return to study (whether it be F2F or virtual) can be challenging.

I would like to think higher education providers would make students welcome and assist in the navigation of things new or changed. The shift to digital in the last few years in particular will create challenges – but once the initial hurdles are overcome the technology will provide support and convenience like never before.

What we do know is that mature aged students returning to study usually have the right attitude and commitment levels to do very well. Experience tells us that mature age students usually overcome any anxieties quickly and usually excel. Students without undergraduate degrees are often shepherded into a Graduate Certificate to start with – and most progress well and move into the formal MBA level program. This approach is a good way to ‘test the water’ so to speak. It also provides a useful exit qualification for those who are looking for a smaller option award.

The career outcomes students can expect from doing an MBA

The options are considerable. A return to study usually suggests a degree of mobility. That is the student has made a decision to take their career to the next level and with the assistance of new found currency – courtesy of postgraduate study – the options available usually open up significantly.

For those in middle management positions, an MBA would usually provide options to move upward into more senior positions. For those wanting to relocate or reignite a career the MBA is a most useful credential in the application process.

How MBA programs are structured

Most MBA programs consist of a core set of units/subjects with the option of majors/streams available once the CORE has been completed. The core program generally consists of focus areas including economics, project management, business law, organizational behavior, accounting fundamentals and the like. The concept is that the core provides all students with an overview of the key ingredients of either working for or operating a business.

Beyond the core many programs provide majors/streams in accounting, entrepreneurship, IT, cyber studies, data analysis, human resource management, marketing to name a few.

My recommendation, when asked, is to ensure you choose the right fit for you – taking into account the focus areas (beyond the core) that you think you will either need to progress or feel you would like to explore. Essentially there is a ‘tight’ MBA for everyone – just take some time to explore the options.

Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley
Professor Greg Whateley is currently Executive Dean at UBSS (Group Colleges of Australia) researching and writing in the areas of Quality Management and eQuality. He is author of more than 250 external publications and advises in the areas of accreditation, quality assurance, government reporting, eLearning, mLearning and bLearning. He is Chair of the Academic Board at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM); Member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change and a Reviewer for the British Educational Research Journal.