The intangible benefits of an MBA

1 - The ROI of an MBAAn MBA is a phenomenal way to re-energize your current career track or help you transition to an entirely new one. Let’s face it: at some point in your career you have probably experienced some sense of dissatisfaction or discontentment. Maybe you feel like you aren’t exercising your skill sets to the highest degree, or you feel out of place in your current role, or you’re simply uninspired by the work you do day in and day out. Perhaps you have felt this way and continued to drudge along, recognizing that it’s a common crisis point in everyone’s career. It certainly can be, but there is a way to change your career trajectory: an MBA.

The most obvious benefit an MBA offers you is the opportunity to achieve a higher income. Though an MBA is a significant investment, most graduates can finish paying off loans within a few years of graduation (assuming you had to take loans to pay for tuition). So you can have a real, tangible fiscal return within a decade post-graduation.

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However, there also are intangible returns you can glean from acquiring an MBA, which can positively impact your “soft” skills and interpersonal expertise.

Five intangible benefits of an MBA

Leadership:  One of the most vital characteristics of a business leader is inherent in its title: leadership. In order to be truly successful in the business world, you need to embody the traits of a leader. Many MBA programs focus on developing their students into effective leaders who will go on to attain top roles in their future companies. From courses focused primarily on developing the trademark skills of a future CEO to simulations centered on conflict mitigation among employees, an MBA program will help you grow as a leader.

Teamwork:  You will learn how to work in teams while pursuing your MBA. By simulating a real-world, collaborative business environment, an MBA program provides you with numerous scenarios intended to foster teamwork. Case competitions will test and improve your teamwork capabilities, and you will be assigned to groups to complete a range of projects for your core and elective classes.

Strategic Thinking: After being out of school for several years, you might feel a creative complacency setting in. You might begin to approach problems with the same solutions, without doing much outside-the-box thinking. The goal of any MBA program is to revitalize your ability to think in new, innovative and strategic ways, and to remind you of how important it is to explore multiple options when solving a problem. A great MBA program will also will teach you exactly how to do that. The freedom to try and fail – and try again – while executing your ideas in an MBA program will train you to creatively and strategically solve problems in your career.

Confidence: Perhaps one of greatest intangible benefits of earning an MBA is the boost in your confidence. You may think confidence is something you either have or you don’t, but this is not the case. An MBA program can significantly improve your confidence through leading team projects, taking strategic risks in a safe environment and getting real-time feedback on your performance. There are ample opportunities to try new things in a full-time MBA program, and your success (and occasional failure) here allows you to fully test your strengths and build your confidence.

Alumni Network:  There is an incredible advantage to gaining a robust and active network of alumni from an MBA program. The relative strength of this network has the potential to affect your entire career. The alumni base represents a wealth of people with whom you share a powerful connection – your MBA alma mater. If the alumni base is full of receptive, engaging and successful people, you have automatically acquired a priceless asset.

Overall, an MBA can open new doors for you in your career. It’s important to thoroughly examine the return on investment for acquiring an MBA. Be sure, though, to factor in the intangible returns in addition to the obvious financial ones.

To help you quantitatively explore whether or not an MBA will work for you, download our “MBA ROI by the numbers” to see compensation and hiring stats from GMAC’s survey of recent MBA graduates.