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Will Your Management MBA Pay Off?

In today’s dynamic business landscape, the mandate is clear: Evolve or perish. But while this may be a simple concept in theory, in practice it can seem significantly more complex. After all, how do aspiring business leaders position themselves to actively evolve? Read on to find out how tomorrow's business innovators prepare and learn for the challenges.

Jun 16, 2017
  • Student Tips
Will Your Management MBA Pay Off?
Young man presenting is ideas to colleagues during meeting in conference room. Leader showing business plan to colleagues during a meeting.

In today’s dynamic business landscape, the mandate is clear: Evolve or perish. But while this may be a simple concept in theory, in practice it can seem significantly more complex. After all, how do aspiring business leaders position themselves to actively evolve?

While many people choose MBAs in order to acquire the skills, knowledge and experience they need to move forward, the truth is that not all management MBAs are created equal, and choosing the right one can mean the difference between stagnation and success. Here’s a closer look at some questions to ask yourself when choosing between b-schools, along with one program that’s getting it right when it comes to galvanizing the development of tomorrow’s business innovators.

What Skills Will You Learn?

Credit: Rady School of Management

According to the QS Jobs & Salary Trends Report survey, top MBA employers prioritize the following five attributes when making hires: interpersonal skills, strategic thinking, entrepreneurial skills, communication skills, and leadership skills.

However, these things don’t exist in a vacuum. Also essential? The ability to implement them in the real world context of the ever-changing business world. Enter UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management.

Consider Sofia Zhang, a 2016 graduate of Rady’s full-time MBA program and currently a program analyst at Qualcomm. Before choosing Rady, Zhang was a college computer science instructor with plans for a career change. Her goal of learning as much about the business world as possible led to Rady. “I came to Rady with the hopes of learning how to operate a company as a whole and to understand how various aspects, including marketing and finance, could contribute to the overall company mission,” she says.

But an MBA does more than help students meet the key competencies expected by today’s leading global employers. In addition to providing the analytical and theoretical frameworks which support rigorous decision making, the program also focuses on teaching students to identify and capitalize on the latest ideas, trends, and technologies. The result? Uniquely future-ready, innovation-driven graduates ripe for turning opportunities into tangible outcomes.

What Connections Will You Make?

The old adage goes, “It’s all who you know.” While what you know certainly matters, the right connections can facilitate career momentum -- particularly in the business world.

This is another area in which Rady shines. In addition to exposure to Rady’s world-class faculty and mentoring opportunities with leading business executives, Rady students also have unprecedented opportunities for collaboration and teamwork with their diverse and international classmates. From project teams to study groups, these opportunities are interwoven throughout the entire Rady curriculum -- leading to a symbiotic environment in which students’ backgrounds, perspectives and insights not only help them learn from each other, but enrich and expand each others’ experiences.

And the networking opportunities aren’t limited to campus. Rady MBAs can continue to take advantage of the school’s incredible, globe-spanning alumni network offering everything from an inside edge on the job market to career guidance, as well as a breadth and depth of career services for alumni, including career coaching, career management support, group programming, and more.

Take Jon Wilensky, a 2017 graduate of Rady’s FlexMBA, clinical assistant professor of plastic surgery at the UC San Diego Health System, and co-founder of digital health technology startup Braykion. Of his time participating in Rady’s U.S.-Israel Center (USIC) Israel Immersion Experience Wilensky says, “This was much more than a trip to Israel for me. I’ve built multiple sustainable personal and professional relations in the implantable biotechnology sector because of it, and there are business problems that I’m working on now that are a result of that trip. You cannot put a price on that.”

Will You Be Employed Right After Graduation?

While getting a job right away may not be your primary purpose for attending b-school, it’s certainly a big part of the equation. There’s no denying that the job market is intensely competitive, and ROI depends on landing a good job quickly. Which brings us back to Rady. A full 81 percent of Rady MBA grads accept job offers within three months of graduation. In other words, the future looks bright with a Rady MBA on your resume.

Says Zhang: “I learned that entrepreneurship is everywhere, not just in the world of startups. This lesson has carried into my everyday life, propelling my career forward. I always assumed that I could never work in a Fortune 500 company, but I did it.”

Additionally, just under 10 percent of Rady grads go on to start their own companies within the same time period -- many of them exceeding their own expectations. Says Wilensky, “When I started the Rady FlexMBA program, I was not intent on becoming an entrepreneur and starting my own company. That wasn’t in the cards for me, and I’d never even thought of that. My goal was just to become more than a clinical consultant—to learn how to bring products to market and how to understand the business landscape.”

However, Rady’s Lab to Market program and The StartR Accelerator proved to be “rocket fuel” for Braykion eventually leading to its transformation from idea to business plan to business. “Without being at Rady and in its entrepreneurial-focused environment,” Wilensky says, “Braykion wouldn’t exist.”

Ultimately, a management MBA program can help you continue along your path toward a career in business, or it can open up pathways you didn’t even know existed. If you’re ready to discover these new possibilities and make the most out of your MBA investment, look no further than Rady.

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Joanna Hughes


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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