Demand for senior leadership positions is surging. Even in the face of economic uncertainty, the demand for managerial roles hit an all-time high last year, especially for industries such as IT, finance, marketing and engineering.
For professionals who want to climb the ladder, the opportunities are plentiful. But how do you get your foot in the door? Is it worth tackling a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to give you a competitive advantage?
If earning potential and graduate demand are anything to go by, the answer is yes. An MBA can greatly benefit your career - whether you are looking to climb the corporate ladder, pivot your career, start your own enterprise, or transform your organisation or organisational unit in a human-focused way to unlock innovation.
Here, we weigh up the challenges and benefits of an MBA to help you decide if the postgraduate qualification is right for you.
Benefits of an MBA
In an ever-evolving business landscape, the relevance of traditional MBAs has been under the microscope in recent years. However, MBAs continue to be prized by employers, and the right MBA can be your ticket to the world of business brilliance.
Here are some of the benefits of an MBA.
Expanded job options
The days of climbing a corporate ladder confined to only one career path are long gone. Tomorrow’s business influencers are multi-disciplinary, adaptive and well-versed when it comes to change - especially because their careers have involved lots of it.
A recent Gallup survey found that millennials are changing jobs at three times the rate of other generations. With exposure to diverse industries, expanded valuable networks and access to leading minds, an MBA will put graduates in a strong stead to pivot professions without going backward.
In 2023 Forbes reported that an MBA “can be an excellent opportunity for mid- to senior- level professionals to shift their career trajectories.” It also opens more postgraduate doors: stats show 91 per cent of corporate recruiters favoured MBA graduates in 2021.
Accelerated leadership potential
An MBA remains highly regarded when it comes to senior leadership positions, and MBAs continue to be ranked as the most in-demand graduate business degree type across industries.
As an MBA graduate, you’ll be in a prime position to take advantage of increased demand for leadership roles. Recent employment projection data from the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) shows significant growth in senior leadership positions across industries that favour top-tier business expertise.
Burning Glass job statistics also reported 3,134 ‘chief’ senior leadership job postings in Australia between July 2020-21.
A fortified leadership mindset
Transformative businesses are shaped by transformative leaders, and transformative leaders are defined by their transformative mindsets.
As our global dependency on technology increases, the need to understand and lead with human-centred business practices will only become more important. Today’s leaders need to understand and tap into increasingly diverse workforces to unlock opportunities for innovation across an organisation. And the ability to do so will make you invaluable.
Recruitment experts say possessing an adaptive and growth-focused mindset is critical to business success. A future-focused MBA will equip you with the ability to prioritise personal growth, master practical real-world skills and harness the invaluable power of people to enact real, meaningful change.
Tailored study options
A worthwhile MBA is one that can be tailored to your ambitions. Contemporary MBAs like ECU’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) Online provide students with the flexibility to obtain your qualification on your terms - be it around work, study, family, lifestyle, or all of the above.
ECU Online students can choose a three-unit specialisation in People and Culture, Project Management or Human Resource Management. Alternatively, they can study a combination of electives in high-demand fields like digital marketing, cyber security, finance and more.
Build your network
According to 2019 research, 70 per cent of all jobs are not posted on public job sites. A strong network remains an unrivalled asset in the increasingly cut-throat business environment, and an MBA is a highly effective way to build one.
Unlike traditional on-campus MBAs, an online MBA transcends borders to expand your network nationally and globally. Australia is also the third most popular destination in the world for international students looking to do an MBA, so you’ll have an even greater opportunity to connect with the sharpest minds in the world.
Will an MBA increase my salary?
The most tangible way to answer the question of ‘is an MBA worth it?’ is to assess whether it will increase your earning potential.
According to a recent survey of recruiters around the world, MBA salaries are still on the rise despite economic downturns. Nearly 70 per cent of employers said that MBA graduates earn more than others - a finding that was consistent across industries and organisations.
Along with boosting the salary of your current position, an MBA can help secure one of the many in-demand higher-paying leadership and strategy roles such as marketing directors, C-suite executives, financial analysts and more. These roles are not only on the rise, they’re highly paid. The median cash pay for ASX100 CEOs was $2.8 million in 2022.
What do employers think of MBAs?
You’ve assessed the benefits of an MBA from a student’s perspective, but how do employers perceive the postgraduate qualification? Is it as highly-regarded as it once was?
MBAs are not just beneficial for the skills you gain - they’re also valuable for what they say about you as a person and future leader. MBAs can signal to a potential employer that you have strategic thinking, commercial acumen and problem-solving skills - not to mention showing your commitment to advancing your career.
Global retail giant Amazon - who has hired candidates from 100+ MBA programs - told Fortune: “We value MBA students as they tend to fit well with our corporate culture - they are customer obsessed, risk-oriented, scrappy and analytical.”
But what about an online MBA? Does it hold the same weight? For many hiring experts, the validity lies in the ‘why’ a potential recruit undertook an MBA, not how they achieved it. The more important question is increasingly whether you obtained an accredited MBA with a relevant curriculum from a reputable institution, rather than the mode of study.
It’s worth remembering that, after COVID-19, almost all entry-level applicants for jobs are coming in with an education that’s been conducted at least partially online. Employers have no choice but to take applicants with online education seriously.
What skills can I gain with an MBA?
A future-focused MBA will equip students with the skills they need to navigate the fast-paced and dynamic terrain of business. At minimum, an MBA should enhance communication, innovation, strategic thinking and management skills. A real-world MBA will also empower you to develop:
Businesses are built by, and for, people. Possessing not just the operational but emotional intelligence is critical to next-level leadership. A worthwhile MBA will equip you with the skills to manage relationships effectively, engage support and empower high-performance teams and drive transformational change.
Transformational strategic thinking
The contemporary corporate landscape is fraught with new challenges, and the ability to navigate them could be the difference between businesses that thrive and barely survive. A forward-thinking MBA will arm students with the ability to develop and implement data-driven strategies to transform complex environments.
Expertise across business functions
The surge of tech integration means industries and job responsibilities are overlapping more than ever. A holistic understanding of business functions will be a game-changer for ambitious leaders. A real-world MBA will help students build the broad skillset contemporary businesses require, including strategic marketing, performance analysis and financial planning.
Is ECU Online’s MBA right for me?
ECU Online’s MBA is designed for current and emerging leaders who want to expand their business horizons, and entrepreneurs and business owners who want to expand their success potential. The program’s unique human-first focus makes it a strong fit for candidates who want to be differentiated in an increasingly tech-driven landscape and empower high-performing teams across multiple industries.
Dr Judy Lundy is the MBA Director at ECU Online. “I’ve been a big proponent for the value of MBAs since my own one opened up my first international work experience opportunity a couple of decades ago,” Dr Lundy says. “In the intervening years, the market value of an MBA has grown exponentially as the complexity impacting leadership decisions making has also surged.
“Now more than ever, undertaking an MBA will help you develop the human-centric complex systems thinking necessary to create value for all stakeholders in a world demanding an inclusive and sustainable future.”
ECU’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) online provides a unique curriculum informed by contemporary leaders, for contemporary leaders. Gain a holistic mindset and human-focused, transformational approach to business as you learn to solve real-world problems that drive value and enhance innovation.
If you want to know whether ECU Online’s MBA is right for your ambitions, reach out to one of our Student Enrolment Advisors on 1300 707 760, email firstname.lastname@example.org or download a brochure.