MBA Overview: Why Should You Get an MBA?

Earning an MBA is hard work but the rewards are worth the effort. Here are eight payoffs.

mba degree holders in conference

Earning your Master of Business Administration (MBA) is especially important in challenging economic times. The dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania considers the MBA "one of the best tools a businessperson can have." Dean Thomas Robertson feels the MBA not only gives you an advantage in the global marketplace, but it also teaches you to be adaptable in an economy where career-switching and constant change are the norm, not the exception.

Still, why take the leap into the time and expense of a traditional or online MBA program? Here are eight reasons why.

You could advance in your career

If your present career path is a less than perfect fit for your aptitudes and interests, one of the benefits of an MBA program is that it allows you the flexibility to explore your options and provides you with the training you need to change careers. If you're satisfied with your current line of business, a master of business administration degree can prepare you to move into a managerial position within your field. 

You'll earn more

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reported in their 2013 Alumni Perspectives Survey that the median annual salary for MBA degree-holders was $100,000. The MBA alumni also reported that they recouped an average of one-third of their financial investment in their MBA degree program immediately after graduation, and with a 100 percent return after four years.

You could get paid training from your employer

As today's marketplace evolves and becomes increasingly complex, many employers are choosing to balance their need to retain good employees with their need to fill managerial positions with candidates possessing advanced-level knowledge and skills. They're doing this by sending selected employees to business school—and footing the bill.

You can use your education to start your own business

If you're interested in starting your own business, but not sure you have the necessary expertise to launch a start-up in a high-growth industry, an MBA can prepare you to do everything from writing a business plan to acquiring venture capital to launching an IPO. Research has shown that the failure rate for small businesses started by MBAs is about 50 percent less than the standard failure rate.

You'll develop your business savvy

An MBA program will put you on the fast-track to career advancement by offering you the chance to develop a wide range of general business knowledge and a broad base of technical skills in a relatively short period of time, as opposed to the years-long trial-and-error process that tends to characterize knowledge and skill gleaned from on-the-job learning

You could become a leader in an emerging field

 A recent proliferation of "niche" Master of Business Administration programs means that you can not only look to business school for a firm grounding in the basics, but for innovative education that can lead to an exciting career in a newly emerging field such as brand management, information technology, e-commerce or mobile telecommunications—just to name a few.

You could gain networking resources

Networking is another key benefit. Business school teaching styles encourage teamwork, and over the course of an MBA program, you'll develop important relationships that can serve you well throughout your business career. And no matter the school, you can often get plugged into a network of alumni working at a wide range of companies. This is useful for mentoring, job searches and professional contacts.

You'll enjoy greater job security

MBA grads are desirable in any job market; an MBA will give you the opportunities you need to advance in the business world.

Now that you understand the rewards of earning your MBA, it's time to start learning which type of MBA program will fit with your busy lifestyle.

Next: Types of MBA Degrees>