What is an MBA and why do you need one?

What is an MBA and why do you need one?

Regardless of your undergraduate degree, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate degree is a valuable addition that exponentially advances your career and influence. An MBA provides a comprehensive education in diverse aspects of business management and equips students with the knowledge, skills and network necessary to thrive in today’s dynamic and competitive business environment. 

students sit at a desk

What is an MBA?

At its core, the MBA curriculum covers a wide range of subjects essential for effective business leadership. Students delve into topics such as financial analysis, market research, organizational behavior, supply chain management and strategic planning. Through case studies, group projects and real-world simulations, MBA candidates develop critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making abilities—skills that are invaluable in navigating complex business challenges.

Moreover, the MBA experience extends beyond the classroom, encompassing networking opportunities, career development workshops and experiential learning initiatives. Many programs offer practical exposure and insights into different industries and markets.

“When you enroll in an MBA program, you become part of a vibrant community of professionals from various industries, backgrounds and experience who are seeking to be faithful and influential leaders in the marketplace,” says Andy Babyak, Ph.D., assistant dean of business at Messiah University.

The value of an MBA

One of the key selling points of an MBA is its potential to accelerate career growth and enhance earning potential. Studies consistently show that MBA graduates command higher salaries and are more likely to attain senior management positions than those without an advanced business degree. The prestige associated with an MBA from a reputable institution can open doors to job opportunities, promotions and lucrative and meaningful career paths.

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), total hiring for MBA graduates has increased over the last five years. Over the past two years, more than three-quarters of employers across industries have hired professionals with MBAs.

Who benefits from an MBA?

MBAs offer advantages to professionals in any field. “An MBA pairs well with any undergraduate degree,” affirms Babyak, citing the incalculable value of learning professional management skills, obtaining the tools to run a business or organization and gaining skills essential to growth and advancement in any industry.

Robust MBA programs offer concentrations and certifications across professional disciplines that can more directly connect your profession and MBA coursework. Professionals attaining an MBA at Messiah University, a nationally ranked Christian university, can concentrate their MBA study in healthcare (dietetics or healthcare management), digital marketing, management, strategic leadership, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity or business analytics.

Return on investment with an MBA

Career advancement and salary potential with an MBA

For many aspiring business leaders, the decision to pursue an MBA is driven by the desire for career advancement and increased earning potential. An MBA can serve as a catalyst for career transitions, enabling professionals to pivot into new industries, functions or geographic locations. The broad skillset and versatile credentials of MBA graduates make them attractive candidates for a wide range of roles, from consulting and finance to technology and healthcare.

The average tuition cost for an MBA is $56,850, according to 2024 data from the Education Data Initiative. Of course, tuition prices fluctuate between educational institutions based on factors like length of the program, whether it’s primarily online or in-person (or a hybrid) and demand for financial aid, for example. Increased earning potential makes an MBA a worthwhile investment. The median salary in the United States for a professional with an MBA is $125,000.

Intangible but important benefits

Beyond the tangible rewards of salary increases and career advancement, an MBA offers intangible benefits that can profoundly impact personal and professional development. The rigorous academic curriculum, collaborative learning environment and exposure to diverse perspectives foster critical thinking, creativity and resilience—the hallmarks of effective leadership in a dynamic and uncertain world.

A unique component of the MBA program at Messiah University is faith emanation.

“Many faith-based schools talk about faith integration,” explains Babyak, “but Messiah’s MBA focuses on faith emanation. If faith is an integral part of students’ lives, our program is not about helping them integrate faith with their profession but rather demonstrating how faith can influence the knowledge, skills and ethics they bring into business decisions and conversations,” says Babyak.

Is an MBA right for you?

The decision of whether an MBA is worth the time and monetary investment necessary depends on several personal factors. As you research MBA programs, consider these guiding questions:

  • What are my long-term goals, both in my profession and in my personal life? Does pursuing a master’s degree harmonize with those goals at this present stage of my life and career?
  • What is my hoped-for return on investment for completing an MBA program?
  • Do I prefer an in-person, online or hybrid MBA program?
  • What element of business administration am I particularly interested in, and which program/concentrations/certifications can most effectively advance my knowledge in that area?
  • Does my faith inform my leadership skills and goals? Am I looking for courses taught within an ethical framework?

Ultimately, an MBA is a transformative journey that shapes not only one’s career trajectory but also one’s outlook, aspirations and impact on the world of business.

Why an MBA from Messiah University?

Choosing to earn an MBA at Messiah University offers a unique blend of academic excellence, values-driven education, and practical application. With a focus on ethical leadership and service, Messiah equips students with not only business acumen but also a strong moral compass, essential in today's complex corporate landscape. Small class sizes foster personalized attention, while faculty bring real-world experience to the classroom. The program emphasizes hands-on learning through internships, consulting projects, and global immersion trips, preparing graduates to excel in diverse business environments.

Messiah's supportive community and strong alumni network further enhance professional growth and opportunities post-graduation.

If you are seeking a Master of Business Administration that will exponentially grow your career, expand your level of influence and deliver transformative impact to the business, organizations and communities you serve, consider the MBA program at Messiah University.