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Why Get An MBA? New Study Show The Impact Of Enrolling At Business School

If you've ever asked the question: 'Why get an MBA?' this new survey reveals some of the key benefits that business school students take with them after graduation

Wed Feb 21 2024

An MBA remains a highly desirable career choice for many ambitious professionals. Each year thousands apply to programs across the globe seeking to enhance their business understanding and boost their career prospects. 

The same is true for business master’s degrees such as the master in finance or master in business analytics. These programs often convey more specialist and technical expertise, offering the chance to embark on careers tailored to particular industries. 

According to a recent Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey, 79% of those considering enrolling in either an MBA or master’s degree at business school do so because they seek to enrich their lives. 

Now, a new study from the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and Business Graduates Association (BGA) has revealed the extent to which studying at business school is having an impact on students after they graduate. 

So, if you've ever asked yourself: 'Why get an MBA?' or 'Should I enroll in a master's degree?', here’s what 1,120 students and graduates from 94 countries across the globe recently had to say on the matter. 

Expand your skill set 

The respondents to the AMBA and BGA survey—which took place between April and June 2023—comprised 69% men and 30% women, with 1% preferring not to disclose their gender. They hailed from various regions, with the UK providing the largest proportion at 22%. There was also strong representation from areas such as South Africa, the US, and Germany. 

Among all of those taking part, the most popular motivation behind applying to business school was the desire to expand their skills and overall knowledge of the business world. In total 69% listed this among their main motivations. A further 66% listed expanding their area of expertise among their top reasons for applying. 

Reflecting on their experiences since taking the decision to enroll at business school, 63% of respondents said they now felt more confident, 50% said they were better prepared for competitive environments, 49% said they had increased their problem-solving ability, and 45% felt more capable during professional interactions. 

A strong statement on the skill enhancement that's possible at business school, this contributed to an overwhelmingly positive response when survey participants were quizzed on overall satisfaction with their studies. In total 73% said they were either very or fairly satisfied with the impact the course had had on their career since graduation. 

Land your desired job

Alongside knowledge and skills, career motivations are a large driver for those who decide to enroll at business school. 

Among those participating in the survey, 48% of respondents said enhancing their job market competitiveness was a top motivation for completing their course. A further 37% listed changing career or earning more money among their top motivations, respectively. 

Among respondents to the survey, 46% had left business school between 2010 and 2019 while 34% graduated between 2020 and 2023. 

Reflecting upon their experiences since leaving their respective programs, 26% of surveyed graduates said they had obtained the role they desired when they’d started their program. A further 16% of graduates reported they had landed their desired job while still at business school, while 13% found their desired role within six to 12 months of graduation. By contrast, 17% said they were yet to secure their desired job. 

When reflecting on the value they had gained from completing their MBA or master’s degree, 32% of survey participants said they had been able to accelerate their careers faster than would have been possible had they not attended business school. 

Develop an interest in lifelong learning 

With the majority of survey respondents reporting that they were satisfied with their business school experience and the impact it had on their careers, AMBA and BGA went on to quiz graduates on their interests in additional learning opportunities after graduation. 

The survey found graduates were interested in continuing their learning across a variety of areas. Grads identified data analytics for managers as the most popular area (42%), followed by global leadership (35%), digital strategy (34%), and strategy execution (33%). 

Reflecting the areas where grads felt they were either most competent or least interested in learning more, the least popular subjects were supply chain management (8%), statistics (9%), accounting (10%), and strategic human resource management (12%). 

With such a large number of graduates listing expanding their knowledge, skills, and expertise among their primary motivations for applying to business school, it’s perhaps unsurprising graduates were interested in lifelong learning opportunities after leaving business school.