Congratulations! You've earned your undergraduate degree and have started your very first job out of college. Those all-nighters have finally paid off.
After receiving my B.A. in English and Political Science from The University of Texas at Austin, I decided to put my degree to good use and sell women's shoes at Nordstrom for six months. I eventually went back for a Masters Degree and found out that a background in English can actually get you far in the startup world as a Content Marketer.
But enough about me. The point I'm trying to make here is that college grads don't always know what career path they wish to pursue straight out of college. If you aren't going to law or medical school directly after your undergraduate studies, you are suddenly left with a variety of random options and job paths.
This in mind, millennials today are recognizing the value of pursuing a higher degree of education. Of course, additional degrees aren't necessary in order to be successful, but they can open a door of opportunities that otherwise would have remained closed. Consider an MBA, for example. Sure, there are many well-known entrepreneurs (i.e. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg) who have remained "MBAless" and have had wildly successful careers. Unfortunately, not all of us have what it takes to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.
Time for an MBA?
Paul Ollinger, stand-up Comedian and Author of the new book, You Should Totally Get an MBA: A Comedian's Guide to Top U.S. Business Schools, uses humor as a vehicle to provide business school applicants (of all ages) with great advice about what it takes to earn an MBA. After receiving his MBA from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, Ollinger decided to write his book as a letter to his 25-year-old self in order to explain the business school application process and benefits of earning an MBA.
After skimming through Ollinger's book, I now have a better understanding of the five main benefits that an MBA can really provide:
#1. Business School Relationships are Priceless
No, I'm not talking about the Tinder relationships you are going to build during your time at business school (although I'm sure those might be priceless too). I'm referring to the peers and professors whom you will meet during your MBA program. For instance, in his book, Ollinger mentions that the majority of academic work at business school is conducted within small study groups. He explains that groups such as these are meant to be building blocks to help promote teamwork in the corporate world. Study groups can also serve as the foundation for life-long friendships and connections that will help you succeed professionally.
#2. Business School Will Raise Your Work Standards
After going to business school, don't be surprised if your work standards are higher than they had previously been during your undergraduate studies. Ollinger explains that while some people in business school are focused on getting the best grades, many others are concerned about trying their best in order to feel accomplished. In other words, an MBA program provides you with an everlasting drive to succeed and the ability to meet "impossible deadlines." This results in a lifelong recognition of higher work standards that will allow you to stand out in front of your peers, professors/bosses and ultimately, yourself.
#3. Business School Helps You Understand How Business Interrelates
Have you ever considered how banking affects marketing? What about the importance of reading financial statements and working with spreadsheets? Understanding these capabilities can have a crucial impact on building a business and succeeding professionally. In an MBA program, students will be exposed to a core set of classes that include: marketing, corporate finance, operations, statistics, etc.
#4. Business School is an International Experience
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, more than half of prospective MBA students from around the world chose to study outside of their home country. The U.S. is the top choice, with 66 percent of international applicants hoping to gain admission to American business school programs. Being exposed to different cultures and ethnicities helps people better understand how to relate to others on a personal level and in terms of business. This will ultimately go a long way professionally and socially.
#5. Business School Opens Doors for Women
More women are now enrolling in MBA programs to help build out their business success. According to a recent report, the average enrollment of women in full-time business school programs increased from 26 percent to 32 percent between 2011-2015. Now, female students make up about 40 percent of the top MBA programs (HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Tuck). Ollinger also mentions the increase in female MBAs and even highlights the fact that many of these women are coming from around the world. For instance, countries with the highest percentage of women taking the GMAT are China (65%), Taiwan (57%) and Russia (53%).
Business School Does Pay Off
Yes, getting an MBA might seem like a time consuming, expensive endeavor. At the end of the day however, business school really does pay off. MBA grads are exposed to a variety of factors that will help them succeed professionally, while getting to experience an incredible opportunity that will ultimately lead to a lasting career path (and improved social skills!).