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The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.

What Can an MBA Do for Your Career?

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Professional and educational pundits often speak to the value of earning an advanced education beyond an undergraduate degree. The belief is that in addition to on the job experience, individuals looking to pursue the top executive positions and other management roles need to pursue graduate level degrees to improve their chances of landing those jobs.

A Master of Business Administration is an example of one degree that many business professionals pursue to improve their career aspirations, but what can an MBA really do for your career? The simple answer is plenty. Individuals considering a return to school to complete an MBA program will find that there are a number of positive factors that an MBA can bring to their career opportunities.

Not All Degrees Are Created Equal!

While an MBA can help you for effective leadership in today’s fast-paced business world, not all of the MBA degree programs out there are the same. When examining any MBA program, make sure the program is accredited by an accrediting body, such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes of these programs within a business school meet rigorous educational standards. ACBSP is a leading specialized accreditation association for business education supporting, celebrating, and rewarding teaching excellence. Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only business accrediting organization for all associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs.

A degree in an accredited program can be a differentiator in today’s competitive job market, so be sure to ask questions about accreditation when talking to any college or university.

Big Thinkers

According to, the biggest benefit an MBA provides to students is a greater perspective on the world of business. Both the schools that offer MBAs and employers that look for individuals with an MBA agree that MBAs are popular because they provide students with the ability to think critically, solve complex issues, and adapt to ambiguity.

Leslie Zurburg, an HR Manager for Williams-Sonoma, admits that her company values MBA holders because they offer the “50,000 foot perspective because graduates are strategic thinkers with an analytical approach.” MBA programs provide graduates with critical thinking skills that experience on the job may never provide and can open up new positions outside an individual’s current organization. According to Zurburg, companies often look to bring in outside MBA graduates because they offer a fresh perspective.

Sense of Professionalism

As important as it is for graduates to possess the educational skills necessary to succeed in business, there are other tools that business professionals need to possess to be truly successful in the world of business. While not everyone needs to take an MBA course to learn these, certain individuals can become more polished professionals as an extra benefit to completing an MBA program.

According to David Fetherston, an MBA holder and director of the MBA Center for Career Development at Babson College, earning an MBA can teach students how to listen better and disagree politely with others in the workplace. Fetherston, recalling his own time in an MBA program, said that his studies taught him to be a better listener, as well as aided him in knowing when to disagree politely and when to back off.

Boost Your Earning Potential

According to career advice article on, many individuals will return to school to pursue an MBA in order to increase their earning potential. This may not always be the case though for MBA graduates. According to Rachel Edgington, project manager in information services for the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), variables such as the school attended, prior experience, and whether individuals attend a full-time or part-time program can all affect the potential for pay increases that comes with an MBA.

It is important for all students and professionals to remember that MBAs don’t bring about the same results for every student. As Ms. Edgington of the GMAC pointed out, results for individuals will vary based upon a number of factors. Simply earning an MBA doesn’t ensure these results, but it is possible for students to improve their career with the help of an MBA.