18 Sep 2019

An MBA is one of the most popular Master’s degree programmes, with the highest demand in the world. Despite this, many people do not know exactly what an MBA consists of and what purpose it serves. The main purpose of a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree is to teach students how to manage a company in every way, or in other words, to train qualified executives who have a global vision for business to find innovative solutions to problems. Earning a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) can help working professionals enhance their career opportunities, receive increased compensation and job promotions.

An MBA is particularly relevant for those who wish to lead an organisation, to understand universal business challenges, to apply best practices and to solve complex problems in the private and public sector. With a master’s degree, your career path will take a different trajectory than without one; a trajectory that aims you towards being as successful and respected as possible in your career path. By having a master’s degree at your disposal, so many opportunities will open up to you in your life, both professional and personal. MBA graduates take jobs with small, medium and large organisations and often become entrepreneurs by starting their own businesses. Since the degree is focussed toward real-world professional outcomes, the degree is designed specifically for working adults who have been in the workforce for a number of years in management or leadership roles. This allows the opportunity to also learn from your peers and gain from their experiences as well as that of the lectures and guest speakers.

According to employers, MBA graduates are sought after for their ability to think critically and solve complex problems. It is also true that employers usually look favourably on the qualification because the format promotes knowledge and skills that are applicable to any organisation (regardless of the sector). The universal appeal stems from the MBA’s focus on collective business principles like finance, marketing, operations, technology, accounting, business strategy, organisational behaviour, economics and entrepreneurship. Although involving a broad spectrum of business-related topics at face value, the real value sits in the personal growth benefits achieved from being exposed to leadership competencies, combined with analytical and critical thinking. Not all MBA degrees are created equal. The number institutions or business schools offering a Master’s degree in Business Administration is increasing, making the space quite crowded. When recruiting, companies are looking for out-of-the-box thinkers who can innovate and offer a perspective different from their own. Studying a MBA forces one to get out of your comfort zone. It is guaranteed that you will encounter the latest business trends, apply the newest management techniques, and keep challenging yourself.

As an MBA is a big step, requiring self-discipline, time and financial commitment, it is recommended that you carefully consider at which institution you enrol. Not only is the reputation of the institution of the utmost importance, but also the involvement of well qualified and experienced facilitators, over and above a proven track record in industry. Aspects such as technology supported teaching and learning, easy access to a full set of support services and a network of business professionals and alumni are also important.

An MBA will help you acquire business skills needed to start a new business or help existing ones grow. Without a doubt it will instil you with an entrepreneurial mind-set. For those who decide that an MBA is not worth it for them, there are alternatives to consider. The Master of International Business degree is a good point in case, specialising in international business and cross border trading. Other Master’s degrees in related fields are also good options for somebody looking to focus on economics, accounting, applied mathematics or water management for instance. Once you graduate with an MBA, regardless of the location where you plan to build your career, your degree will increase your business credibility. The real advantage of an MBA, however, is its proven versatility. With an MBA, you can pursue many careers and advance faster on the career ladder.

Prof HB Klopper is the Director: Executive Education at IIE MSA (, situated in Ruimsig, Johannesburg. His e-mail is