It’s hard to imagine that anyone would suggest that pursuing a better future through education is a bad thing.
Yet, there are some critics – in the media, government and even in academia – who would want people to believe that there are too many people pursuing a master’s degree in business, often referred to as an MBA.
As Dean of Graduate Programs at Herzing University, I have tracked articles written by alarmists who are questioning the continued value of obtaining an MBA degree. These articles try to scare readers into believing that the job market is saturated with MBA holders.
I acknowledge that during the “Great Recession” of 2008-2009 many people with advanced degrees became unemployed and had struggled to find that corner office job again. But it’s important to recognize that many more individuals with undergraduate degrees or no degree at all lost their jobs and are competing for jobs against those with MBAs.
The evidence today supports the value of the MBA degree across all regions of the United States, including the job demand for well educated, critical-thinking, problem-solving leaders.
In Akane Otani’s January 7, 2015, article in Bloomberg Business, “Salaries for Business School Graduates Will Go Up in 2015,” Otani reported that more-than-half of the 169 employers who responded to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council said that they will raise beginning salaries for newly hired MBAs to match inflation. Otani’s article also identified that almost 20 percent of the employers indicated that they would increase salaries to exceed inflation. In addition, 72 percent of the companies expect to hire MBAs in 2015, as compared with 69 percent in 2014. I may be wrong, but rising entry-level salaries and increased hiring across almost three-quarters of the economy are not on the list of supply glut indicators.
A more recent article by Andrew Eder on March 2, 2015, published by BBC about a Wisconsin business college, shared that it had seen job postings for MBA graduates increase 36 percent in 2015. One business dean quoted in that article stated, “It’s going to be a (graduating) students’ market for the next 15-plus years.” In support of Eder, during the May 2015 “Association for Talent Development (ATD) Conference” in Orlando, Fla., the sentiment about the future prospects for MBA graduates from over a dozen attending college and university representatives was optimistic.
In Eder’s article, Barbara Hewitt, Senior Associate Director of Career Services at the Wharton School, stated that its MBA graduates only had a 4.2 percent unemployment rate six months following graduation – almost the exact findings reported by Herzing University. Strong employability prospects are probably the best reason to earn an MBA.
My advice is that the next time you see an article headline questioning the value of the MBA in today’s market, don’t waste your time with alarmist rhetoric. The evidence is clear. The evidence is convincing. The opportunities for the prepared MBA graduate are here today. The economy is growing, businesses are hiring, and competition from undergraduates will increase. It is your time… your money…your career… it is time to further your career with an MBA.
Dr. Ron Kern is the Dean of Graduate Programs at Herzing University. He previously served as Dean of Graduate Programs at Kaplan University and Dean of Academic Affairs at the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. He is a frequent speaker in the areas of graduate business, nursing and education degrees; doctoral dissertation completion; and Hispanic attainment and success in higher education.