How an MBA can advance your career

Articles graduates throwing hats in air

Two or three decades ago the MBA was promoted as a 'golden passport' for anybody considering embarking on an international career. It was often said that an MBA graduate was guaranteed the chance to 'triple jump', ie change job function, change sector and change country of employment. This article will argue that while the MBA can help an individual in their aspiration it is no longer the guarantee that it used to be. Rather, the MBA is now seen as a prerequisite to even be considered for many career opportunities.

The Association of MBAs in its most recent Survey of Careers and Salaries found that 'MBA graduates from Business Schools with AMBA accreditation received an average salary of £96,661, up by £14,628 from 2012 (a 17.84% rise).'

For many leading business schools the MBA continues to be the flagship (highest profile) Business and Management educational programme on offer. It often represents the values and aspirations of a Business School, attracting international accreditations and rankings which help to position the MBA, the Business School and its graduates within a competitive global hierarchy. In this regard, the Oxford Brookes Global MBA is comfortable with its position, being ranked in the top five worldwide (QS Top MBA Distance Online Rankings 2016) and recognised through its international accreditations by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the European Foundation of Management (EFMD).

Is an MBA enough to guarantee you a successful future?

Having an MBA from a well ranked and well-regarded business school is helpful, but not enough to guarantee you a successful future. It is not so much the piece of paper (the certificate) that makes the difference to a career of an MBA graduate, it is the way the graduate thinks and acts that will have the greatest impact on helping them to take control of their own career.

The Association of MBAs also found that 'although salary comparison pre and post–MBA vary from country to country and by sector to sector, on a global basis the leap in salary immediately after graduating that has been evident in earlier years is absent.'

This particular comment is probably more clearly related to those who leave work to do a full-time MBA. However, many MBA participants now prefer to keep the security of continuing to develop and evolve in their current job roles while studying for the MBA. This route has the added advantage that participants are able to directly link theory to practice, and further develop their skills and employability.

What are the determining factors in career success?

Many graduates gain jobs based on their values, attitude, skills and potential. As they progress through their careers, they tend to be employed more for specific skills and knowledge that they have acquired through a combination of education and experience. As they become more senior, 'critical thinking and sound judgement' tend to be the determining factors in career success. In a global context where change is constant and organisations are fragmenting, reforming, and becoming more adaptable, the need for multi-cultural working, leadership and innovation is key.

These employment market considerations influenced the development of the Oxford Brookes Global MBA. The blended mode of delivery and three holistic themes underpin and run through the MBA: Connect, Collaborate, Create and are particularly pertinent to our MBA participant’s career development.

Connect, collaborate and create to have lasting career success

Connect: Our Personal Development modules are designed to develop your 'soft skills' and enable you to connect with people more effectively and lead with authority and authenticity. One of the key attractions of an MBA is the opportunity to establish your own connections. The Oxford Brookes Global MBA will help you forge a professional network of contacts across different industries, institutions and geographies.

Collaborate: You will be immersed in an environment that is open and co-operative. Many of the discoveries you make will happen spontaneously as a result of your interactions with fellow MBA participants, for whom working collaboratively brings about a change of mindset that is hugely rewarding and delivers lasting impact.

Create: We encourage you to think creatively from day one. We ask you to consider what you really want your MBA to deliver and work closely with you to build on your strengths and develop those areas you need to improve. You will learn how to think critically and trust your judgement, whatever the world throws at you.

The latest report by MBA market research specialists Carrington Crisp highlights that "almost three quarters of MBA prospects want to know they will get a good return on investment from the fees they pay and time committed." This question is important but also complex and changing: the nature of career objectives and return on investment from an MBA is shifting.

Today’s environment provides a challenging and dynamic context where there is no one-size-fits-all approach and hence a successful manager never stops learning. This understanding is embedded in the Oxford Brookes Global MBA with processes enabling our MBA students to address their current and also future management needs, whilst taking into consideration their ambitions and aspirations for their future lifestyle.

About ACCA and Oxford Brookes University MBA
ACCA and Oxford Brookes University have successfully combined their strengths as leaders in international education to produce a blended-learning Global MBA programme specifically designed for ACCA members. The MBA has received both AMBA accreditation (the Association of MBAs) and EPAS accreditation and the ACCA have continuously contributed to the development of the MBA so you can be assured it meets the high standards.

The Oxford Brookes Global MBA is a flexible part-time and online MBA programme. It is for experienced, globally-connected working professionals, giving you the confidence to make a lasting impact in business.

Find more info about the Global MBA here

About the author:
Dan Ganly (Senior Lecturer & MBA Subject Coordinator)
During his time at Oxford Brookes University Daniel has held a number of posts including Head of MBA and Executive Development, MBA Director, Field Chair for the Retail Management undergraduate programme.

In his role of MBA Director Daniel led the Oxford Brookes MBA through its first accreditation and subsequent reaccreditation by the Association of MBAs (AMBA). Daniel has also steered the MBA through the European EPAS accreditation process and over that time has seen the Oxford Brookes MBA rise through the rankings to become number 10 in the UK and 40 in Europe (QS TopMBA).

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