Patti Conner
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If you’re a student or young adult considering applying for an MBA program in 2017 or the near future, you’re likely to come across a few articles and opinions attempting to dissuade you from doing so. The argument is becoming increasingly frequent and familiar: the MBA is expensive and no longer represents quite the guarantee it once did in terms of employment and income.

Just this past summer, The Economist, which covers a huge range of topics relating to business and economics, wrote an analysis suggesting that MBAs are no longer prized by employers. This goes even a step beyond the more typical refrain that the workplace is simply too competitive to expect an immediate ROI with an MBA.

You get the idea. Doing your research online, you’ll come across a lot of reasons to try to enter the workforce rather than pursue an advanced business degree. And for many individuals, this ends up being the right decision to make.

I’m not here to argue that you should absolutely attend business school. However, I would suggest that it’s almost “trendy” to say the MBA isn’t worth it, and that for many reasons, it’s still a very valuable degree. Below I’ll touch on a few of those reasons, particularly with regard to young women seeking careers in business.

You’ll Position Yourself For Higher Salary

Here’s a very interesting thing about the popular arguments against the MBA: even some of them will acknowledge that employees with MBAs can often earn higher salaries.

Indeed, the same report cited above from The Economist stated “recent MBA graduates can expect to increase their salary by 79%.” The caveat was that “MBA” on a résumé doesn’t necessarily lead to finding a job in the first place.

Nevertheless, this is an appealing benefit for women pursuing business degrees. With salaries still uneven across the gender gap, pursuing a degree that frequently elevates earnings has certain logic to it.

You’ll Learn Leadership

When you’re pursuing an MBA, leadership is of the utmost importance. In fact, it tends to be emphasized before you’re even enrolled.

I was struck some time ago by Menlo Coaching’s focus on leadership. This site is dedicated to helping students with MBA applications, and it included a detailed explanation of how to tackle the leadership question by conveying leadership experience and strategies. The very fact that this is such a big aspect of the MBA application shows just how much it’s prioritized in business school education. Learning leadership skills is vital for any woman looking to succeed in the world of business, which is still dominated by men in most instances.

You’ll Gain Real Knowledge & Connections

This is not specific to women, but it’s a point that a lot of people seem to be ignoring these days. I can’t stress it enough: you do, in fact, learn things in business school! There’s so much attention devoted to the price of attendance and the value of the degree that we ignore what happens in between. The chance to learn business from experienced professionals and make connections with alumni, professors, and fellow students can be invaluable.

You’ll Close The Gender Gap In Business

This one’s fairly self-explanatory, but for a bit of extra reading on it, Huffington Post’s “What’s Working” section hosted a wonderful contribution about why being a woman MBA candidate is a beautiful thing. The post noted that “women are everywhere” in MBA programs, but also discussed the ongoing gender gap in business.

I’d ultimately argue that you shouldn’t make decisions about your own education and future simply to improve problematic statistics. But the idea that you’re helping to even the score is a nice cherry on top, regardless!

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Patti Conner is a freelance writer hailing from Seattle, Wash. She typically writes about topics related to business, finance, and the workplace, and you can follow her (and encourage her to tweet more) @patti_conner14.

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