A Master of Business Administration bestows various benefits upon the holder, including theoretical knowledge, real-world connections and the prestige of an alma mater. An MBA holder can use the degree to further his or her professional, social and academic aspirations. Granted, this is no easy or cheap diploma. But the investment in time and money is worth it.
If you are an entrepreneur, seeking a master’s degree can thrust your business and personal aspirations forward, as long as you know how to cultivate the right relationships inside and outside classrooms.
1. You Understand Business Management Theory
After completing an MBA, you will understand management theory, the essential concepts underlying business planning, and what differentiates a winning strategy from a losing one.
Not to say you cannot grasp those concepts with a graduate degree, though.
The point here is that a typical MBA curriculum covers some subjects in depth, and triggers intellectual stimulation you might not have acquired otherwise, especially when the classes are taught by world-class lecturers, some of whom may be Nobel Prize winners.
2. You Learn Different Ways of Running Your Business
An MBA shows you different alternatives of running your business. Whether it is centralized or decentralized, you will fathom the pros and cons of each option. Obviously, there are as many ways of running a company as there are, say, human beings. But the bottom line is that MBA case studies give you insight into the minds of leaders at large companies, teaching you how to replicate the successes of the winners and how to shun the mistakes of the losing companies.
3. You Make Lifelong Contacts
Don’t be shy when you enroll in an MBA class. Remember that each person in that classroom is a current or future business leader, an expert in his or her field, or an up-and-coming social entrepreneur. Make as many contacts as you can. Reach out to others, engage a frank and relevant conversation, and make connections that could turn out to be lifelong contacts. You never know: You could parlay these personal linkups into future business or social partnerships.
4. You Can Take Your Business Global
An MBA gives you the conceptual tools and practical guidance needed to take your business global. In today’s marketplace, international expansion is a must, especially if you operate in a field that is domestically crowded or an international market whose entry barriers are minimal or nonexistent.
5. You Can Hire The Right Talent When Needed
At some point, your business will need an influx of talent, the right talent, to grow and make money. A master’s degree provides you the framework needed to identify who you really need to hire, why you need, how to allocate staff resources properly, and how much to pay them. This goes back to the points we discussed earlier, when we said an MBA helps you understand management concepts but also shows you various ways of running your business.
6. You Can Write A Proper Business Plan to Attract External Funding
A business plan, when properly written, can lure a potential investor. After acquiring an MBA, you will know how to pen a convincing, substantiated business plan, with a synopsis or executive summary as catchy as the last Apple or Nike commercial.
Again, you can hire an expert to write the plan for you if you don’t have an MBA or don’t know much about business planning. But having the degree gives you the knowledge…and the option to say ‘I want to write my own business plan.’
7. You Have a Professional Safety Net
If your business goals don’t materialize soon enough and you find yourself scrambling for money, you can go back to the corporate world. With an MBA, you have job security – plain and simple, no questions asked. You will find a job and restore your financial situation, so you can go back again later to entrepreneurship if that is what you want.
8. You Could Become a Thought Leader
The intellectual rigor an MBA program requires makes most degree holders potential thought leaders in their fields. And so could you! Irrespective of your business aspirations, you can establish yourself as an intellectual authority in a field or on a specific topic. That, again, is another source of revenue, just in case your business ventures don’t pan out.
9. Your Alumni Connections Could Help Later
Your alumni connections – those one-time classmates you kept talking to – could help boost your business needs in the medium and long terms. They could be potential customers and business partners or refer you to their own business and social contacts. Furthermore, you can hire some of your old classmates, which is a smart move financially and operationally because you know them already and, we are sure, they will ask you a certain level of compensation that will not break your bank.
10. You Can Build a Solid Online Presence
You can translate your web of offline connections into a strong online presence. We suggest you create personal and business accounts on the most popular social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Actively participate in activities that your alma mater and alumni association periodically post.
An MBA opens the gateways of financial and social success. The degree helps you improve your business operations, providing you insight and tools you need to make money in the long term.
If you don’t have time or money to take a full-course MBA degree, look for alternatives, such as a Management Certificate, an Executive MBA, a leadership MBA or management courses specifically tailored for busy entrepreneurs and professionals.
Dr. Emad Rahim is an award-winning entrepreneur, educator, author, community leader and TEDx Speaker. He currently serve as the Endowed Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Oklahoma State University and teaches at the Jack Welch Management Institute in the Executive MBA program. He was recognized by the United Nations Foundation as a 2013 Empact100 Honoree for his social entrepreneurship work, received a Congressional Award for his community service and was the recipient of the Forty Under 40 Business Leadership Award sponsored by Syracuse University. His personal story was turned into a short documentary, “Against the Odds,” and featured in the Huffington Post and Forbes. He co-authored “Leading Through Diversity: Transforming Managers Into Effective Leaders” and “The 4-Tions: Your Guide to Developing Successful Job Search Strategies” and is a frequent contributor to the Refractive Thinker book series, CEO Magazine, TweakYourBiz and YFS Entrepreneurship Magazine. Fellow him on Twitter @DrEmadRahim