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Decision time: Should I do an MBA?

Women: Should I do an MBA?
  • July 29 2020
8 minutes to read

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You have completed a degree and started with a job. Fast forward a couple of years, and you find yourself in a managerial position. Your responsibilities are growing, and so is your accountability. This is happening in a world that is becoming more complex, pressured and fast-paced. People are depending on you. More senior positions are beckoning.

And yet, you find yourself hesitating, wondering whether you are good enough. You ask yourself: Do I have what it takes to manage on senior level? Should I do an MBA? I know how to manage, but what kind of leader am I really? And then, more practically, you think: Where will I find the time to study?

The MBA is still the definitive business management degree in the world. It is like a universal standard that says you have put in the effort to understand how all the functional areas of a business fit together – from strategy, finance and operations management to marketing and people management. It says you know how to draw up a strategy and “make strategy happen through people”. It also says you have expert decision-making skills because you know how to make numeric methods and qualitative techniques work for you. If your MBA has a strong focus on leadership, it says you know how to lead in ever-widening circles – yourself, your teams and your organisation. You understand the role of your business in society.

The MBA is about getting the bigger picture. This is especially so if the MBA is internationally accredited because then you know your degree adheres to global standards and covers all the skills required to manage on a senior level anywhere in the world.

Not all MBAs are the same

The first MBA was offered by Harvard Graduate School in 1908. Since then, the world has changed and so has the MBA. This degree has also become more flexible with some MBAs offering you various learning formats and focal areas.

For example, if you see yourself a leadership position, choose an MBA with an overall leadership theme. If you want to keep your options open regarding future jobs, choose a generalist MBA with a strong global perspective that will enable you to work anywhere in the world. If you want domain expertise in areas such as health care leadership, the management of international organisations or project management, opt for an MBA that offers this know-how as a stream.

An MBA is not only for managers in high-rise buildings

Overall, an MBA will equip you with business management skills. It will serve you well if your career path is pointing towards senior level positions. If you are working in a specialist job – like a medical doctor, project manager, engineer or software developer – the MBA will prepare you to take on managerial responsibilities. Whether you work in a corporate setting, entrepreneurial start-up, NGO or family business, the MBA will help you to professionalise the environment in which you work.

If you are aspiring towards an upper management position, your learning curves should move upward as well. Career-wise, the MBA can be the stepping stone you need right now.

  • The University of Stellenbosch Business School offers a triple accredited MBA with a strong focus on shaping responsible leaders. The MBA is offered in two formats – modular and blended learning – with both allowing you to study while you work. You can customise up to 30% of your MBA at USB to acquire areas of expertise that are important to you.

Develop innovative and long-range decision-making skills to mitigate risks and to identify opportunities.

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