“Should I get an MBA?”
It’s a question today’s professionals ask often—and for good reason. Demand for a Master of Business Administration grew in every industry surveyed by the Graduate Management Admission Council in 2016, including finance and accounting, products and services, consulting, and technology. The average starting salary for MBA graduates also rose five percent over the last year, to $105,000, according to GMAC.
“An MBA provides you with flexibility for the future,” says Associate Professor Todd Alessandri, faculty director of Northeastern’s full-time MBA program. “It teaches you to see the whole picture of a business.”
Why students choose to enroll varies. For those already in a business career, an MBA can help propel them toward a management position. The core coursework provides general leadership, analysis, and decision-making skills, while degree concentrations, such as supply chain management, entrepreneurship, and finance, allow students to specialize their knowledge.
For others, an MBA is a way to break into the business field. The degree enables career changers, particularly those with some quantitative ability, to make the transition.
“People who are good problem solvers and multitaskers are able to make the transition well,” Alessandri says. “A lot of the program is about balancing your time.”
What students learn in the program they’re then able to apply to their everyday life. MBA candidates typically work in groups, explains Alessandri, noting that, through the process, students learn how to collaborate and solve problems in teams. They also begin to understand the importance of effectively communicating decisions to stakeholders inside and outside of their organization.
“An MBA teaches students to understand how a business operates from a people perspective and a numbers perspective,” Alessandri says. Candidates learn organizational behavior principles and what motivates employees when it comes to compensation, hiring, or offering promotions.
Developing that well-rounded view of how a business functions is what sets the MBA apart. For students who know the exact industry or role they want, Alessandri suggests exploring more specialized degrees, such as a Master of Science in Finance or a Master of Science in Innovation.
“The MBA provides you with a broad foundation,” Alessandri says. “You might not be an expert at every function, but you’ll be able to see how it all fits together.”
Northeastern specifically is known for its strong employer relationships. Partners find value in the university’s experiential learning model, which combines academics with professional practice to provide students with real-world, hands-on experience. Several companies look to recruit Northeastern MBA students and alumni for that reason—because they’ve proven they can produce immediate and lasting results.
In an age where the MBA job market is better than ever, applying for your advanced business degree could be the next best step for you to take in your career.