Through my work with women’s leadership development around the world, I am fortunate to meet many ambitious and intelligent young women with much potential for achieving greater things. Sometimes, however, they may be stuck in jobs that they don’t really like, work for bosses who don’t invest in their development or are at loss about their next career steps.
As an MBA graduate from the Wharton school, I often recommend them to consider pursuing an MBA from a top program in the United States or Europe.
I often hear from these young women concerns about high costs of tuition and fear of taking on debt, especially given that their current salary levels. Having gone through a similar decision about nine years ago I would like to share my thoughts about the real value of an MBA.
1. Network - You will study with the best of the best in various fields, folks that are highly motivated to succeed and will go on to doing great things in the years after the MBA. You will also gain access to the alumni network. In the case of Wharton, for example, it’s around 90k people around the world. All those people are your potential partners, mentors, clients, collaborators and of course, future friends. The network is very useful for the next three points as well.
2. Career Switch / Increase Your Earnings - An MBA is an “easy” way to make a career change, either into a new function, or into another industry, or both. In my case, I switched from Banking pre-MBA to corporate strategy in the mining industry post-MBA. It’s very common for MBA graduates to switch careers.
Moreover, depending on where you in your career, an MBA can give you a big compensation boost. For example, the average salary of a Wharton MBA graduate in 2015 was $125,000 plus $25,000 sign-on bonus*.
3. Access to Top Employers - If you’re after certain companies and roles, for example, becoming a consultant with McKinsey/BCG/Bain, working in Private Equity, or joining leadership tracks in Blue Chip companies, you almost have to get a top MBA, in order to be recruited by these employers.
Moreover, if you’ve had a non-traditional business career and are looking to enter into big companies at higher salary levels, the MBA can serve as a stepping stone / a stamp of approval that can compensate for lack of prior knowledge.
4. Time to explore - Some things are not measurable immediately in monetary terms. Through this experience you end up expanding your horizons and growing as a person. An MBA from a top school is an amazing opportunity to meet individuals from all personal and professional backgrounds and learn from their experiences.
Aside from lifelong friendships, you can learn about different career paths and companies (or even launch your own company) in a way that is virtually impossible in our siloed professional lives. It’s also a time to take a break from the day-to-day and think about high-level concepts like leadership, strategy and management that will help you become a better professional in the long run.
For some, who don’t have quantitative backgrounds, business school is a great place to build those skills. The best schools also have phenomenal faculty who can inspire and enrich your learning.
5. Push your boundaries - being around high-potential individuals can sometimes be intimidating but it’s a fantastic way to motivate oneself to achieve greater things. Once you enter this ecosystem, it just keeps challenging you and feeding itself way beyond your MBA period.
My Wharton experience and post-Wharton career has been truly transformational because of all of the above reasons. If you want to read more about my story, you can find it here.
*Source: Wharton MBA Website.
Miriam Grobman is the Founder and CEO of Miriam Grobman Consulting. Miriam Grobman Consulting works with organizations that want to advance more talented women into leadership roles by breaking cultural barriers and giving them the right skills to be successful. Their approach is data-driven, global and collaborative. Contact them here if you'd like to discuss the right strategy for your organization. You can follow them on Facebook page, Leadership and Women for inspiring stories about women leaders and practical career advice. Learn more at www.miriamgrobman.com and sign up for their newsletter.
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