What leadership roles benefit from completing an MBA?

  • March 13, 2023
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 3 minute read

Almost every role in a team setting can be enriched by the kinds of learning gained from an MBA degree. Leadership positions and MBA training go hand in hand. In fact, 84% of MBA degree holders report that their MBA leadership skills have helped them achieve their professional goals.

Do your homework, and you’ll find that major firms and hiring companies adore identifying candidates with MBAs. Consulting firms like McKinsey and Bain are some of the biggest MBA employers because they know how the benefits of an MBA degree show up in their workplace.

Which leadership roles can MBA skills prepare you for?

The benefits of an MBA degree are wide-ranging and far-reaching enough that almost any leadership role will be improved by a degree holder’s knowledge. But there are some specific roles that are especially enhanced by MBA leadership skills.

The first to note is right at the top of the ladder. C-suite members—from CEOs to CMOs and CIOs—are the ones making final decisions and leading the team from the top. They’re the people who must see the forest from the trees, and many companies actually insist on an MBA degree when they vet potential C-suite candidates.

Other leadership positions that an MBA degree can open up include those in human resources. An MBA helps you to develop the skills for people-based strategy and communication, a perfect cocktail for an HR role. A great additional route for MBA holders is financial analysis. The foundational and context-driven financial skills that come with an MBA provide a great grounding for a financial career, and many companies seek MBA graduates to become their decision-makers.

The roles in which MBA graduates soar are roles of leadership—whether that’s brand leadership, data analytics, financial analysis, or chief of staff.

How does MBA skills development lend itself to leadership?

The skill sets and experiences gained during MBA coursework prepare leaders for the responsibilities inherent in today’s leadership roles. Some of the features of an MBA program that allow future leaders to tap into its benefits are:

A team setting

In MBA learning, degree candidates work within a team. This team-based setting uniquely prepares them to enter corporate life, where responsibility and collaboration are the bread and butter of daily success.

Olin’s program is intimate and global in scope. Students get to know their cohorts and professors, much like members of a corporate team. They help one another after they leave Olin’s walls. The team environment is a precursor to a business setting and helps students learn how to apply their expertise in real situations.

Global immersion

The international focus on an MBA empowers individuals to witness and understand global leadership trends in business and to collect a diverse set of experiences on the ground of business environments. This understanding gives people the ability to face business challenges.

Olin’s global immersion program provides globally focused courses and chances to work with international companies. From here, students come to understand how culture impacts success. They learn how to work within a team of people from different backgrounds and connect deeply with a cohort of like-minded but vastly different candidates who can enrich their professional careers.

A mind for evolution

The challenges of today’s business world cannot be kept at bay, even in an MBA program. Students must learn how to combat challenges and how to pivot and adapt to opportunities as they arise. The adaptability learned in an MBA program can prepare an individual to meet the future of business leadership.

The MBA is not a set of lectures delivered in a vacuum; students are connected to real-world problems and trends so that they can learn how to overcome them. This is also why so many students come to an MBA from other careers, to make a change in their lives and refocus on their development.

When exploring the different types of MBA specialization, you may be asking, “What type of MBA is right for me?” Well, knowing how MBA program features line up with future employment opportunities can help. How will the MBA help you in developing your skills? Which future leadership positions could it unlock for you?

Reach out to Olin’s admissions team by emailing OlinGradAdmissions@wustl.edu or calling 314-935-7301 to find the answers to your questions.

About the Author

Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

Firmly established at the Gateway to the West, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis stands as the gateway to something far grander in scale. The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world.

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