Have you ever wondered whether a graduate business degree was right for you, only to think, “But wait … isn’t that really a man’s game?” If so, we implore you to think more progressively and consider getting one yourself. In this day and age, opportunities often exist for women who are too shy to take them, but don’t be one of those women. If you love business, it’s time to go for it.
Why Get an MBA?
The value of the MBA (Master of Business Administration) has been taking some hard hits in recent years, plagued by critics who claim that simply strengthening your LinkedIn profile and perhaps gunning for that long-awaited raise will do just as well as two years of rigorous education.
The good news? It’s not true. People with less than one year of experience post-MBA can make $51,396, while those between 1 and 4 years can command salaries around $60,541. These numbers are not only impressive for their amount, considering MBA graduates are usually still in their 20s, but also for the growth curve: to go from $50k to $60k in just a few years is formidable.
While the critics counter that such salaries are massively outweighed by debt, we say … just look at all the skills you’ll learn, not to mention the doors that will open. That doesn’t, however, answer the question of why women specifically should consider the degree. Here are 10 awesome reasons for females to apply today.
Put Those Math Skills to Use
Many women are good at math, but don’t end up being able to apply it in their lives. Traditional math-heavy routes for women including accounting and teaching the subject itself, but if you’re good at numbers, you shouldn’t be limited to these. If you graduate with an MBA, the applications to which you can put your math skills will be both endless and daily.
Learn to Be Decisive
Making decisions is hard, and both men and women suffer from an ability to do so quickly and effectively. Decision-making is crucial not only in a business environment, but in life, and agonizing over them wastes precious resources. In fact, decisions are the most energy-intensive task a human can engage in … literally, they use more glucose (the body’s energy molecule) than any other activity, including hard physical exercise.
So what does that tell you? That a successful life is built on a foundation of split-second, accurate decisions that you don’t regret later. Business school is the perfect crucible in which to forge that skill, so why not take advantage of it?
Ditch the Detailed Persona
Women are known for perfectionism. While we no longer live in an age where you’re expected to match the doilies to the tea set to the drapes (though you certainly can if that’s your thing!), women are still more likely than men to make sure every detail is covered, every person accounted for and every last checkbox checked.
Unfortunately, when you’re trying to make a big sale, finish a project on deadline or roll out a new product, this kind of approach isn’t always the best. Sure, maintaining that view from above is great, but embroiling yourself in details is not, and people won’t appreciate it. In B-school, you’ll learn to work with the information you need and let the rest go.
You Will Help Close the Gender Equality Gap
While it isn’t discussed as often, the education gap in gender is just as important as the wage gap. Arguably it’s more important, because if we can get just as many women as men into traditionally male-heavy roles, the already-flimsy case for paying women less stands a chance of crumbling entirely. With powerful degrees such as the MBA, women can enter the C suite as well, helping to direct policy and create initiatives to educate women.
Prepare Yourself for a Man’s Game
Because business school is so overwhelmingly populated by “man’s men,” it’s good training for the executive suite, says Forbes. Sure, plenty of other degrees are swamped by the male presence – think engineering, for example – but the good ol’ boy culture of business school is a perfect reflection of what you’ll find at the top levels of companies and corporations around the globe. If you can hold your own here, whether at the pool table or during a debate, you’ll do well out in the real world.
Bring Compassion to Business
While women can do most things as well as men, and vice versa, it’s fair to acknowledge that women do tend to be more compassionate. Bringing some of that innate empathy to business can be helpful in understanding the other side, creating good work environments and making decisions that maximize the health and happiness of the world and its peoples.
Help Your Firm Maximize Profits
A study by McKinsey & Company shows that gender-diverse companies outperform their competitors. Not by a slim margin, either: Companies in which women are better represented and play leading roles make 15 percent more than their competitors. Those are the types of statistics that should bring women to business in droves.
Cozy Up to Risk
Risk, like decisions, is an inherent facet of the human experience. If you’re truly not comfortable with risk, that’s fine and understandable – but stay out of B-school. On the other hand, you’ll notice that most of the people in executive suites are bona fide risk takers. They’re don’t let prospective failure intimidate them, and therefore they’re very successful.
Most females, of course, are naturally more risk-averse than males. In a biological sense, this is all well and good: protect the babies, stick with reliable berry patches and all that. But today, the modern woman needs to be able to take risks and stand behind them if she wants to truly compete with men and even the playing field. If you want to be one of the game-changers for women all over the world, it starts with developing the kind of armor that makes taking chances easier. Not easy, mind you; just easier.
Do Good in the World
Some people think of business school graduates as being equipped only to manage assembly lines or debate foreign representatives in loud voices. But while Hollywood’s depiction of Business People might be limited to such stereotypes, in reality an MBA gives you a huge range of options, from non-profits to federal departments, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), information technology and healthcare.
Learn to Work Together
For all that they’re supposed to love cozy togetherness and the Golden Rule, women aren’t necessarily better at working as a team than men are. Effective decision-making, respect of other’s opinions and compromise aren’t always skills that come naturally to the human race, guy or gal.
Well, business school will beat that weakness out of you, because teamwork is simply crucial in a corporate environment. New projects, new products, new offices, new markets … new is the name of the game in business, and it takes a lot of vision and effort to bring “new” to bear. If you want to be a part of that, you need to learn how to ditch the Lone Wolf mentality that got you through high school and college, and get along with your peers.
Business school isn’t a cure-all for career dissatisfaction or a magic pill for women’s lib. You can’t expect to join up and suddenly strike a blow for feminism, or love the job you get upon graduation just because. However, if you get accepted to a good program, work hard and are discerning about your career upon graduation, you can support women everywhere while simultaneously improving the outlook of your own life. In which case, go you!