If you’ve never seen the classic 1967 movie The Graduate, it’s worth it if only for the opening scene where newly-minted college graduate Benjamin Braddock, played by a young Dustin Hoffman, is being celebrated at a party thrown by his parents. He wanders uncomfortably among the adult guests, many of whom ask him about his future plans, about which he clearly hasn’t given a moment’s thought. Finally, one of them says he has a one-word piece of advice for Benjamin. “Are you listening?” he asks. “Yes I am,” says Benjamin. “Plastics,” comes the answer. “How exactly do you mean?” Benjamin asks. “There’s a great future in plastics. Will you think about it?” “Yes, I will,” says Benjamin solemnly, not meaning it at all.
Of course plastics today is a different field than it was in the 60s when it was symbolic of every cheap and artificial thing that a 21-year old might have disdained. Now plastics have evolved dramatically in everything from manufacturing to medicine. The point is that things change, and in your working life you may switch from field to field.
So while you’re still undecided about what field your future career or careers may be, why would you bother to earn an MBA? It’s a good question. And here are some answers:
More Job Opportunities
If your aim is to work for a top-tier American or international company, an MBA on your resume is going to get you in the door more readily even if it’s not an absolute requirement for the position. According to CNN, among the top MBA employers in the U.S. are tech companies including Google, Apple, and Facebook, financial services companies including JP Morgan, Bain & Company, and Deloitte, manufacturers like Nike and Johnson & Johnson, and companies in categories of their own, like Amazon and Walt Disney. In a single year, multi-national consulting firm McKinsey & Company hires more MBA grads than any other organization in the world.
It’s not just the established corporations that recruit MBAs. Start-ups also want them. The most recent Graduate Management Admission Council’s survey of corporate recruiters, conducted in the first quarter of 2017, found that 75% of start-ups expected to hire MBA graduates last year, up from 50% in the previous year.
Globally, 86% of survey respondents expected to hire MBA graduates, up from 79% who hired them in 2016. For companies in the Asia-Pacific region, that number was 90%. And the upward trend is not expected to abate.
Starting salaries for MBAs offer an 83% premium over salaries with a bachelor’s degree alone, according to GMAC’s survey. In the United States the median starting salary is $110,000 for recent MBA graduates, while the median for those without the advanced degree is $60,000. An example at or near the top of the first-year pay scale, is McKinsey, with MBA starting salaries of $135,000 plus a $25,000 signing bonus for a total of $160,000. Not bad for a diploma you’ve barely had time to frame.
A Boost in Changing Careers
Goldman Sachs’ head of global talent acquisition, Michael Desmarais, as quoted in MBA news website Poets & Quants, says that “a majority of [their] MBA hires are career switchers coming from different industries entirely.” What most top firms look for more than experience in the same industry is job candidates with proven records of leadership in business, the community, or school, and strong skills in communication, critical thinking, and innovative problem-solving, regardless of where those skills were gained.
You Can Get an MBA While You’re Working
If you’re already working, It’s easy to understand why you can’t give up your current job and its paycheck in order to devote yourself to full-time study regardless of the future benefits. The good news is that you don’t have to defer your dreams. You can earn an MBA, even a GMAT-waiver MBA degree, online while you keep your current employment. Not only will it hone the skills you already have and add new ones, it will broaden your general range of business knowledge to apply to any field you enter now or in years to come. Even if you stay at the same company, having an MBA on your resume will allow you to compete for promotions and opportunities that were beyond your reach before.