Many people wonder exactly what path MBAs take from graduation to their ideal employer. Others wonder exactly which skills employers are looking for from their MBA hires. Recent reports from Business Because, citing information from Apple, Google, General Electric and other major companies, show that there's no simple answer to either of those questions. But statements from those companies also reinforce just how important MBA degrees are in obtaining executive-level finance jobs currently.
Yvonne Buysman, regional director of business-to-business sales for Apple, offered her thoughts on the value of an MBA degree. She told Business Because that she thinks one of the most valuable aspects of the degree is that it requires a large degree of teamwork to obtain—which illustrates to hiring managers that degree holders are more than ready to find their place within a hierarchical corporate culture.
"[An MBA] requires a lot of team projects, and working in the mobile tech industry we work in teams every day," she explained to the news outlet. "This experience—and going through all the different subjects—prepared me for this type of culture [at Apple]."
Some offered differing opinions on the specific values offered by MBA degrees. Nick Leeder, managing director of Google France, made an alternative suggestion to news outlet: He noted that MBAs are now incredibly valuable to hiring managers because the students earning them are becoming more familiar with digital business techniques than are their older peers.
"Digital is an enormous change and it doesn't just impact marketing—it's a fundamental re-wiring of business," Leeder explained to Business Because. "It's something people coming out of the MBA [program] are well served to understand."
An MBA helps employers 'pre-screen' for leaders—it doesn't create them
If you're applying for high-level finance positions, such as hedge fund jobs or investor relations jobs, then an MBA is going to be a big leg up. But as one General Electric representative explained to Business Because, these degrees don't create leaders, they simply help hiring managers and organizations to more easily identify them.
Heather Giese, who runs the Sales and Marketing Leadership Program at GE, explained that MBAs are now almost as essential as a standard college degree was a decade ago. She suggests that they serve as a qualifier—an essential way for hiring managers to determine whether or not a prospective employee has the baseline skills to work successfully at a given level.
"Getting an MBA is a pre-screen," Giese explained to Business Because. "I think the MBA has become the college degree of 10 or 15 years ago. But it's a total package [that we look for] … That's the dialogue that I've had with very senior executive sponsors of the program, as well as faculty at our target MBA schools."
GE invests roughly $1 billion into the education and training of its employees every year, according to the Business Because report. More than anything else, this shows the value of MBA degrees to corporations—they are willing to pay out of pocket so that current employees have an opportunity to obtain them. Giese completed her interview by suggesting that, in this current landscape, displaying that you have the work ethic required to obtain an MBA is as important as the skills offered by the education itself. That's something to keep in mind the next time you're applying for finance jobs.
"[An MBA] teaches you how to learn, and it also shows an innate work ethic that is essential to getting an MBA," Giese continued, in her interview with the news outlet. "It demonstrates somebody's capacity to grow as an individual and it's a differentiator in a very competitive landscape."