As we wind down 2019, with Christmas right around the corner, it’s a fair bet that the furthest thing from your mind is how to make 2020 the most fruitful year for your career.
But while we all deserve a rejuvenating break, it’s best not to leave your plans on the back-burner. This is especially true if you’re contemplating further education like an MBA.
Of course, pursuing bold decisions like this can seem daunting, but keep in mind that the “perfect time” may never come around. Life is often a colossal and tangled jumble of competing priorities, but investing in your career growth is as worthwhile a pursuit as any.
Here are five reasons why completing an MBA in 2020, could make all the difference:
Your confidence will benefit
Undertaking and completing an MBA can have a multitude of positive impacts on your overall frame of mind. Setting your focus to a challenging goal and achieving that, produces a sense of accomplishment that many people would never have experienced before.
It enables you to realise what you’re truly capable of, says Claire Coulton who received a competitive UN Women Australia MBA scholarship from the University of Sydney.
“It’s largely to do with confidence”, she shares. “Completing this MBA gave me the confidence to sit in a board or leader meeting at work and be able to say, ‘’I’m confident this is the strategy we should follow’ or ‘I can see that this is how the pieces will all fit together’”, she says.
With some reports suggesting women struggle more profoundly with barriers in confidence to men, completing an MBA might just be the perfect way for you to work through that and recognise your true value as a leader.
It will help you form more meaningful and productive work relationships
Undertaking an MBA requires you to step outside your comfort zone and collaborate with others in the program, while the course itself will often include components on successful leadership communication.
For Emma Brown, studying an MBA whilst working in finance at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance directly contributed to her success of managing a team and building positive work relationships.
“My learnings on the MBA directly contributed to my success at Cerebral Palsy Alliance in my capacity to coach and develop others, in my ability to recognise strategic growth opportunities and in my ability to have influence over others to execute against strategies,” she says.
When she left the organisation to take on a new role, she was also able to nurture her successor at CPA and retain a role as his mentor.
Strengthening these skills can make you a more collaborative and empathetic leader, which are critical attributes in today’s world of business.
You’ll lean on and learn from others in ways you haven’t done before
It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you consider applying for an MBA, but meeting others who are taking up a similar pathway can be incredibly fulfilling.
For Brown, the part-time MBA at University of Sydney has provided her with “a wonderful network of like-minded and talented women,” with the other drawcard being the program’s focus and value on diversity.
“I have had the opportunity to learn from people with many different backgrounds. Studying part time meant people brought their working lives into the classroom which allowed us to learn about many different industries,” she further adds. “The learning from peers has been an invaluable part of the MBA.”
This is a sentiment supported by Coulton who says the networking aspect of the MBA was a huge benefit of the program.
Being pregnant and then having a newborn baby during the time she was studying was made less stressful because of the support she received from peers.
“There’s no way I could have done that if my group members weren’t willing to be flexible,” she says. “But there had been 6 or maybe 7 babies born in the cohort in the last 18 months.” People understand that everyone’s lives are busy and modern MBA programs accommodate this easily through flexible arrangements.
It’ll give your CV and leadership greater clout
Many employers recruiting for senior leadership roles now seek out candidates who have completed an MBA. It’s recognised as the gold-standard in leadership and business training, and good programs at reputable universities are even more well regarded.
When you’re competing for prospective competitive roles, an MBA listed on your CV might end up being the clincher; proving to prospective employers that you’re serious about your career and, by extension, their organisations.
You’ll be energised in your career and see things in a new light
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and ultimately it can take a long time to step back and reflect on what you truly want out of your career. But committing to an MBA can pull you out of this funk and give you the clarity to get ahead and do what’s best long term.
Whether you’re looking for a promotion in the same organisation, seeking new opportunities in a completely different industry or aiming to pivot into an entrepreneurial venture, an MBA can help you to achieve this.
Coulton frames this perfectly: “It’s given me all the skills I need to really be the best possible version of myself that I can be,” she says.