We recently talked with several current and former Southeastern Oklahoma State University online MBA students to learn how their post-graduate experiences delivered the career-enhancing benefits mentioned in the U.S. News & World Report article "4 Key Career Benefits From MBA Programs." Their testimonials may inspire you to achieve similar success.
1. Personal Development and Transferable Skills
Personal development is the number one factor in the decision to invest in an MBA, according to the GMAC 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report. An MBA provides training in the hard and soft skills that enable you to develop in your career and move successfully from industry to industry, company to company, and position to position. Among them, communication, critical thinking and leadership are highly sought after by employers in all fields. It is no wonder then that 75 percent of MBA applicants hoped for personal development above all other benefits. What may surprise you, however, is that 95 percent of MBA alumni believe their MBA programs delivered on this expectation. Consider the experiences of a 2008 SOSU graduate:
Once a self-described introvert, Metts is now a full-time instructor, CPA and special assistant to the AACSB coordinator. She attributes her versatility in large part to her MBA training.
"I always preferred to be the person 'behind the scenes' and not in the spotlight." Now, as an instructor, she says, "I was getting a lot of feedback from the students who were enjoying it. I thought it would be tough, but it kind of came naturally. I kind of surprised myself." She goes on to say, "I learned a lot by seeing how it all comes together -- the marketing, management, finance and accounting. In my undergrad years, my perspective was that accounting was the only subject that mattered. After all, my major was accounting. I completed the other subject matter courses required for the degree but didn't allow myself to see how it is all integrated in business. My MBA courses rectified that thinking. I'm glad I did it."
2. Higher Employment Rates
Among the more than 14,000 alumni whom GMAC surveyed, 92 percent were currently employed. Eighty-two percent work for an employer and 10 percent identified as self-employed.
Perhaps even more impressive was the diversity of industries and job functions represented by MBA alumni. A SOSU alumnus attests to how employment opportunities can come along, even at unexpected times:
After earning his MBA, Ward took on a new role at Douglass Distributing in fuel accounting. He orders all of the Exxon/Mobile products the company sells.
"I didn't even apply for this job at Douglass. I got a call to come in for an interview. I guess someone passed my information along."
3. Degree Specializations
Many business schools offer concentrations that allow students to dive deep into a specific field. Some MBA students value this focus as the key to advancement in their present industries or companies, while others see it as the most efficient route to a career transition.
At age 60, Coppedge is not slowing down. Earning his specialized degree in management enabled him to translate his prior business experience to the classroom as a teacher.
"There are some new Higher Learning Commission regulations that require a minimum 18 hours of graduate school in the discipline you're going to teach. Since I am teaching business classes, earning my MBA was a good move for me."
4. Networking Opportunities
Students come into MBA programs expecting to make career-enhancing connections with faculty, peers and people in the business community. They are rarely disappointed, with 85 percent of MBA graduates reporting satisfaction with this expectation, according to GMAC. A SOSU alumna agrees:
Roberts talked with us about her close relationships with SOSU faculty and believes these connections have been instrumental in her success.
"Sometimes it's who you know. They have pushed me. If I'm down, they can tell. When I'm not myself or when something's wrong, they will email me or call me and let me know, 'You need to work hard,' or 'You need to work on this.' Just having them and knowing I have built those connections moving forward, I know they're always going to be there if I need anything. I know if I need a job, they'll be there to help me."
Job prospects remain bright for MBA grads. Nearly 80 percent of employers expect to hire them in 2017, per GMAC's 2016 year-end poll. Further, 96 percent said that "hiring recent business school graduates creates value for their companies." SOSU alumnus Ahmad El-Katib credits landing a job with the Choctaw Nation and promotion -- just 10 months into the new job -- to his MBA degree.
"During the interview process, they were very interested in my MBA and the type of things that we learned during our MBA. That was something that they definitely looked at. I just feel that helped me professionally for sure," El-Katib said.
When you decide to invest in a postgraduate education, you have a right to expect the benefits that others have achieved by earning the same degree. There may be no better assurance for anyone considering an MBA at SOSU than talking with our graduates.
Learn more about SOSU's online MBA with an emphasis in management program.
GMAC: 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report
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