MBA.co.za

5 ways an MBA will make you more employable

by Sam Weeks
Networking, emotional intelligence, and new perspectives are just a few of the reasons why an MBA will make you more employable.

Business schools love to brag about employment outcomes. And why shouldn’t they? It’s a key driver of demand for their programmes. Of Stanford’s MBA cohort of 2020, 91 percent had job offers within three months of graduating and the mean base salary was $160,000.

But why are employers so keen to hire MBA talent? Let’s explore five unexpected skills you’ll gain from a top MBA.

Emotional intelligence

An MBA will feel like five years squeezed into just one or two, as you and your classmates face high-pressure situations. With failed exams, interview rejections and even declined visas there will be tears. Also, life happens: Relationships will end (and start). Babies will be born.

Everybody handles these situations differently, but everyone will need a shoulder to cry on or a friendly face to rant to occasionally. As you overcome these challenges as a class, you’ll mature and develop deeper emotional intelligence.

As a result, many MBA graduates re-enter the workplace and feel like they’ve matured faster than peers the same age. This maturity translates into empathetic leadership, and employers know it. You’ll be expected to enter management positions faster than your peers and leverage this emotional intelligence to manage high-performing teams.

The network

When asked to explain why they need an MBA, many applicants answer vaguely “the network”. But few understand why your network is so valuable to an employer. Let's elaborate.

I was Social Chair of my cohort, a deliberate decision to maximise my interactions with classmates outside of the classroom. I always say that one ride-or-die friend is worth 10 self-serving contacts. For example, while building my SEO and social media presence at SamWeeks.com, I reached out to friends at Google and Facebook for insight.

Employers expect you to bring this useful network to the table to help them. For example, when your new firm is setting up a customer referral programme, you’ll have a pool of genius at the end of the phone.

In addition, when your firm is hiring you’ll be able to use your network to help them fill the roles with high-quality applicants, further boosting your value to the firm.

Marketing

Rolling into my MBA after five years of investment banking, this was a big one for me. I learned that, despite what they say on the trading floor, not everything is about price! Far from being static, demand can be created by tugging on heartstrings. An MBA teaches you about the emotions that drive purchasing decisions and how you can affect these emotions.

When I re-entered the workplace after my MBA, this new perspective helped me to understand the decisions being made above me in the hierarchy which had seemed crazy before. It also helped me to garner buy-in and to sell my ideas, since the same concepts apply.

Later, the marketing skills from my MBA were relevant to grow my admissions consulting business. As a brand, SamWeeks.com has developed an especially direct style, even overstepping the line at times! But in a sector where direct feedback is rare and valuable, this aligns with our value proposition.

New perspectives

Most MBA programmes, especially in Europe, will be packed with a huge variety of nationalities. Oxford’s 2020 cohort was 92 percent international, with an incredible 67 nationalities.

As you meet these classmates, you’ll become adept at understanding the nuances of new cultures. You’ll understand that there are two sides to even the most politically charged topics.

One of my classmates was a member of the Chinese Communist Party. I’ll never forget his presentation during our ‘Doing Business in China’ elective, in which he single-handedly changed the geopolitical stance of many of my classmates. There were also several China-focused startups that can trace their origins to my class.

Employers value MBA graduates for their proven ability to work in a small team from a mix of cultures. For the same reason, polished, outward-looking MBA graduates tend to be particularly sought-after for client-facing roles.

Career insight

Almost by definition, an MBA bumps you into a new pay grade. With help from the careers centre of your business school, you’ll learn how to swim with the big fish. You’ll learn the value of leveraging a network and specific techniques for doing so. You’ll receive dedicated sessions with highly-qualified career counsellors to learn application and interview techniques.

Even if you don’t move jobs, you’ll use these techniques again and again as your firm applies for projects and as you apply for new roles internally. And of course, these techniques work in reverse too! When your team is hiring talent, you’ll be expected to bring your insight to the interview process.

I hope I’ve convinced you that an MBA offers more than just a hot brand on a piece of paper.

Useful resources:
QS
QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd is a leading global career and education network, helping individuals fulfill their potential through fostering international mobility, educational achievement and career development.
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook
Share via Email
Adverts

Follow Us
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on LinkedIn
Follow us on Facebook
Get headlines via RSS

Newsletter
Receive the free MBA.co.za newsletter:

Advice
Send a question to our panel of MBA experts:

©2021 MBA.co.za. All rights reserved.
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Join us on Facebook