Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 15:16

By AIM Education & Training

Many degrees and qualifications push job seekers down a narrow career path. They refine their skills and knowledge so much in one specific area that there really isn't much wriggle room for diversification. Even with a Bachelor's degree, majoring often means forgoing the potential to redirect your career path once you get your qualification.

It's like a diamond. You spend a good three or four years polishing just one facet of your knowledge, then you go out and forge a career only to realise that there are many other sides of the diamond that you may never have laid eyes on. Although your knowledge may enable you to master a specific function, in order to rise up the ladder or broaden prospects, you need to be able to see the jewel in its entire glory.

"MBAs have the skill-sets to approach a wide array of projects from a multiple functional standpoint."

One degree in particular enables this - the MBA. With a multi-faceted handle on business and management, MBA graduates are in high demand and in an optimised position to reclaim their career progression. But what exactly could lie around the corner for qualified individuals?

Demand for MBA graduates is strong worldwide.

In the United States, the MBA has been a rite of passage to the C-Suite. This is because it’s one of the only postgraduate programs that ensures graduates have the holistic understanding of business and analytical skills required for successful executive management and leadership. However, as the lines of organisational function blur in the modern business environment, MBAs are sought after at all levels across the world.

According to a survey of 179 employers around the world by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), demand for MBA graduates is skyrocketing globally. In fact, 85 per cent of employers are expecting to hire more MBA graduates in 2016 than they were in 2015. Three out of four employers are looking to take on new MBA hires this year, and slightly less (73 per cent) are offering internships exclusively to MBA students.

Unlike many other qualifications, an MBA opens you up to immense possibilities. So what sort of prospects are out there in Australia and around the world?

Recruiter for General Electric (GE), Chris Thomas, told Business Because that he regularly seeks MBA talent for GE's Experienced Commercial Leadership Program because of the multi-faceted professionalism that graduates demonstrate.

"We've found that MBAs have the skill-sets to approach a wide array of projects from a multiple functional standpoint, as opposed to just being skewed to a finance or accounting specific approach," he said.

"They tend to be better communicators; not only understanding or analysing a problem and coming up with a solution, but being able to pitch it, sell it, and build interest."

In the Asia-Pacific region, employers were seeking graduates for a variety of reasons. According to 2016 Corporate Recruiters Survey from GMAC, the most commonly cited organisational benefits offered by MBA graduates were they:

•            Offer new perspectives on the status quo (50 per cent)

•            Enhance a company's ability to grow (45 per cent)

•            Support innovative thinking (45 per cent)

•            Demonstrate holistic business acumen (42 per cent)

In other global regions, the same reasons were ranked highly, although succession planning took greater priority in Europe (second place at 49 per cent), Latin America (first place at 58 per cent) and the United States (first place at 67 per cent). Across the board, however, three traits stood out to employers when weighing up the quality of candidates, all of which related to their ability to lead the organisation.

Employers are looking for a cultural fit, closely followed by the ability to work in teams and to make an impact. Based on these assertions, it’s clear that the MBA is viewed by employers as a road to business leadership, and understood by students as a way to prove their competency in this area.

While an MBA will inherently broaden career horizons for graduates, recognising which industry sectors are actually driving the demand is a great way to understand where some of the best possibilities lie. According to GMAC's latest survey, In Asia-Pacific, the top four sectors that are looking to fill desks with MBA graduates are:

•            Consulting services (30 per cent)

•            Product and services/marketing (23 per cent)

•            Finance and accounting (16 per cent)

•            Technology (15 per cent)

This was similar in other geographic segments, however the health care and pharmaceutical sectors in United States and Latin America employed around 11 per cent of the graduate pool. In general, industries closely aligned with business and those that are experiencing drastic changes present the most desire for the skills of MBA graduates.

With uncertainty growing around the future for many businesses and industries, the demand for unique skills and perspectives of MBA graduates is likely to continue. To enhance your skills and get ahead of the crowd, get in touch with the Australian Institute of Management Business School and master your future with an MBA.

If you would like to discuss postgraduate study options please call AIM on 1300 658 337 or email mba@aim.com.au.

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