Opening doors with an MBA
If you’ve ever felt you could do more with your skills and experience but you’re not sure how, or if you’ve had a brainwave for a brilliant business you want to start tomorrow, studying for an MBA could fast track you to the next level of your working life.
The benefits of earning an MBA have been well documented. Whether you’re looking to accelerate your career or change direction, the programme can help develop your entrepreneurial, communication and leadership skills and increase your awareness of global markets, with a degree that is recognised worldwide.
David Levinson, careers manager at our Adam Smith Business School (ASBS), is enthusiastic about the advantages an MBA can give you. “Whether you want to change career, add value to your current company or launch your own startup,” he says, “an MBA will develop your skillset in areas that interest you, and give you great insight into different aspects of business and management.”
A forensic look at current business trends will also equip MBA students with bang-up-to-date knowledge and the professional development training, networking opportunities and chance to work with major companies may tip the balance for those considering the degree.
"The qualification has not only further developed my skillsets and established a systematic understanding of business disciplines, but also transformed my mindset and critical thinking. It has provided me with an invaluable network, enabled me to ladder up in my career and obtain a marketing role in a global manufacturing company.
Ding Ren (MBA 2021)
Turbo-charge your career
What many people want to know, though, is what an MBA will do for their pocket; return on investment is a vital consideration, as MBA costs can be high. But graduates can hope to see their salaries rise by anywhere between 44% and 182%, according to the Financial Times*. So for many, it’s a worthwhile financial plunge to take if you want to become your own boss, earn a promotion or maximise your future earning potential.
Typically, an MBA will cover a broad range of management skills such as marketing, finance, and negotiating. At some institutions, you can also study for a specialised MBA tailored to your interest – for example, a 'green' MBA which may lead to a sustainable career, or one focused on an area such as cybersecurity, arts and media management or non-profit organisations.
Camilo Gomez (MBA 2016) started his own whisky tourism business, Once Upon a Whisky, after gaining his MBA. “An MBA opens up opportunities as an employee,” he says, “by giving you access to managerial positions, better salaries and also, as an entrepreneur, by giving you the main tools to start a business, scale up and succeed. I liked the different career emphases included on the programme such as marketing, strategy and finance, and the ASBS’s close relationship with the Scotch whisky industry was also a decisive point for me.”
A study by QS World University Rankings has shown the average return on investment of an MBA over a decade can be well into six figures.
The power of curiosity
Those who have earned their MBA are often considered to be extroverted high-flyers, but David emphasises that this is not the only kind of student who can succeed. “At Glasgow, we’re not looking for a specific personality or academic background in our students,” he says. “The qualities we look for are having an open and curious mind and emotional and cultural intelligence (so-called ‘EQ’ and ‘CQ’), something highly valued by employers. So being an MBA graduate isn’t just about knowledge, it’s about EQ and CQ as well, and working in our multicultural environment at UofG is a great opportunity to develop these.”
MBA programmes are often designed to fit around work and family in a way that undergraduate degrees aren’t. Yvonne Greeves (MBA 2006) studied while bringing up her two young children, and directly attributes her subsequent success to her degree. “My MBA gave me the inner confidence, knowledge, insight and strengths that I went on to apply in my career," she says. "I always talk about the value it has given me in my career path so I can hopefully inspire others to take an MBA journey for themselves.” Yvonne is currently Director of Women in Business at the NatWest banking group and has worked with the UN and the World Bank. “The incredible diversity of the MBA cohort gave me an understanding of different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and perspectives,” she says. “My MBA was one of the best experiences of my life."
*FT Global MBA Ranking 2018
This article was first published January 2022.