What motivates someone to do an MBA?

There are plenty of reasons why you should do an MBA. But what motivates others to do an MBA?

Recent research by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) showed the vast majority (85%) of prospective students planning to pursue a graduate management degree have definite employment goals in mind.

The following are the five major employment outcomes prospective students expect to pursue after business school:

  • 41 percent plan to change job functions
  • 33 percent are considering changing industries
  • 27 percent hope to work internationally
  • 23 percent would like to be self-employed
  • 23 percent will work for current employer

Not surprisingly, the main motivational drivers reflect a student’s desired employment outcome. Secondary drivers provide a more nuanced insight into prospects’ motivational desires, which may assist schools in creating focused, unique, and targeted messages for student engagement.

The following are the motivational summaries of the five employment outcomes:

  • Prospective students seeking self-employment are driven to pursue graduate management education not only by their entrepreneurial dreams, but by their desire to solve problems, have an impact on their communities, and network with others with similar passions.
  • International employment seekers pursue their education to increase their opportunities abroad and seek challenging and interesting work. They want to make an impact in their area of interest, and hope their education will help them develop confidence and gain recognition.
  • Industry switchers also seek more challenging and interesting work. They hope graduate business school will provide opportunities to network, which may reveal a wide range of career options to accelerate their upward mobility and increase their salaries.
  • Prospective students seeking a change in job functions are similar to the industry switchers. They also seek to update their skills set, which includes the development of managerial and leadership skills.
  • Those planning to stay with their current employer hope their education will be a catalyst to accelerate their careers and gain promotions. They expect to develop their skills and obtain a credential to remain marketable and improve their effectiveness on the job. In addition, they are driven by a sense of personal satisfaction and achievement.

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au).