Opinion

The benefits of an MBA for your business

5 min read

12 February 2016

Many people looking to forge a career in business choose the MBA route as a way to improve their business acumen, learn about different ways of working and further their career. But what if you could help them do that?

Rather than wait for MBA graduates to come to you, your business can take the potential you already have in your workforce and empower those people to become an even greater asset to your company.

However, many businesses aren’t convinced. The Association of MBAs (AMBA) published a report in 2014 that suggested the number of companies enrolling employees on an MBA course had fallen eight per cent over a two-year period. If you’re one of the business owners who needs persuading, here are a few reasons you might want to invest in an MBA for your workers.

Creating a great team

Employees thrive on the opportunity to progress, and an MBA certainly affords them that. The course will provide them with a wealth of knowledge that they can apply in a practical way. 

The statistics support the idea of an MBA as a stepping stone to a more prominent role within the business. AMBA’s study looked at how MBA graduates’ careers progressed upon completion of the course.

It found that a third of respondents were in a junior management role before starting their course, but just 5.1 per cent remained at that level after graduating. Conversely, 12.8 per cent of those questioned occupied a senior management role before the course, and this rose to around a third post-graduation.

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Additionally, many MBA programmes offer the opportunity to visit businesses in other countries to see how things are done across different cultures. This experience could potentially provide staff with a new perspective for your business.

You might be concerned that staff will simply finish their MBA and then take their skills elsewhere. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to protect your business here. Simply draw up an agreement between you and your employee that guarantees a certain level of commitment to your company upon completion of the course.

Making a saving

If the cost of an average MBA is putting you off taking the next step, it’s worth digging a little deeper. Plenty of universities welcome applications from businesses and provide favourable funding options to help attract more candidates. 

In many cases, this is particularly true if you choose to enrol more than one student at a time. You might find that once a group discount has been applied, the final sum you pay is considerably lower than you might have anticipated.

Of course, taking a long term view, the idea behind helping your employees move to the next level is that they are eventually in a position to generate even more business and revenue for your company. Who could say no to that?

Part time learning

Some bosses base their decision on the misconception that they will lose their employees for large parts of the year if they are taking part in an MBA course. This is not the case at all, with many universities offering part time courses that can be completed alongside regular work commitments.

The average MBA student is already immersed in the world of work, and universities do take this into account when structuring their programmes. Lectures are typically grouped together in two- or three-day bunches to minimise disruption, while students are expected to commit to completing assignments in their own time.

In practice, you will actually be able to see the improvement in your employees first hand, as each round of seminars provides them with even more knowledge and confidence the will make them a vital member of your team.

Take the next step

You will hopefully now be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not to provide your staff with the chance to complete an MBA. If you do wish to provide this opportunity, make sure you find a course that matches quality with value, ensuring both you and your employees enjoy the best possible MBA experience.

However, while employers may dread such developed employees leaving the company, new research has revealed that there may actually be a silver lining to their departure.

James Riches is a guest blogger from Manchester Metropolitan University, which commences new MBA programmes every January and October.