The MBA: a high-return investment


The popularity of the Master of Business Administration is on the rise in a number of key industries. More people are pursuing this graduate degree to advance their careers and earn higher salaries. It's not just about promotions and paycheques -the MBA skill set is considered a valuable commodity for doing business in the 21st century.

"Dealing with people, negotiating and finalizing agreements are all part of doing business. In order to be successful in business, one must possess excellent people skills, leadership skills and communication skills," said Frank Crooks, director of the Executive MBA program at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business.

Current MBA programs are producing graduates with strong leadership skills as well as the ability to handle business situations to creatively solve problems. The typical MBA course load includes teamwork, writing reports, creating presentations and group projects as well as problem solving with case studies. These all help students develop fundamental business skills that are being noticed by other industries. As a result, hybrid MBA programs are being developed for other sectors such as health, legal, technology, civic, aviation and financial.

Another attraction for companies is the connections developed by MBA students that often become valuable resources for future employers.

"Many of our alumni say what they retained and enjoyed the most is the networking. Whether it's with their own classmates, the guest speakers or the profs, networking is the most important element," said Marie Lyster, student recruitment officer, graduate programs, John Molson School of Business.

Typically an MBA program takes between 15 months and two years to complete. However, there are some courses based on the European model that can be completed in a year. A general MBA is usually offered as a full-time daytime course while an Executive MBA -developed for working professionals -is often more flexible, with course loads condensed into one day per week, offered on the weekends, during evenings or as long-distance learning.

"Before enrolling, first reflect on why you're interested and what you're expecting to get out of the program. You have to be doing it for the right reasons. It is a huge investment in time, energy and money, but the rewards are waiting for you on graduation," said Don Melville, director, MBA and master's programs at McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management...

Read full article: The Gazette, February 9, 2012