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Phoenix Forward magazine

5 advantages of an MBA

Advantages of getting an MBA

Learning how to create a detailed business plan is just one advantage of earning an MBA, according to Barbara Schifano, who holds a doctorate in education and teaches in the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Main Campus. Business school students, she says, also acquire a variety of skills that they can apply in a wealth of industries and a range of occupations.

Here are five things an MBA can help you do:

Master the fundamentals of any business.

“Every business, no matter how large or small, has a marketing, finance, operations and human resource component,” says Schifano, an executive for American Express. MBA students learn how each of these departments functions and can apply their knowledge to any industry.

Most employees generally only understand what their own departments do, she adds, so the broader perspective MBA students gain may help them move laterally to other departments or provide insight to their managers about company operations.

Acquire people-management skills.

In human resource and organizational behavior courses, “MBA students study group behavior dynamics, power politics and workplace conflict to learn how to motivate, increase job satisfaction and inspire people to use innovation in the workplace,” Schifano notes.

“These are the basic skills that people need in order to work in a supervisory role,” she adds, “and hiring executives are going to look for people with those skills because when they are put into management roles, they know how to get better results from their staff.”

Work in teams.

“Students learn how important it is to be able to form supportive relationships in a work environment,” Schifano says.

Not only do students work collaboratively to solve business problems throughout their studies, but they also take part in a mentoring program. “Our students are coached about how to work with a mentor in their workplace,” Schifano says, “and each student has to successfully do this.”

The training, she adds, gives them “a working understanding about how to use partners, mentors and advocates to achieve results.”

Learn how to leverage information.

In finance, statistics and strategic planning classes, MBA students learn how to analyze facts and figures­­ to increase company profits or make a business process more efficient, Schifano emphasizes.

Students are taught how to look for vital information and synthesize raw data, such as social media metrics or the demographics of customers ordering a product, to better understand consumer needs or identify new trends to provide better products and services.


Gain skills to handle crises.

“Business students spend an enormous amount of time reading case studies about current and former businesses,” Schifano notes, “where they are looking at past behavior in order to predict future success or failure.”

By studying how other companies have operated in recent history, students learn best business practices for encouraging growth, she says, in addition to acquiring the know-how to manage through conflicts and successfully handle any public relations issues that arise.