The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that career opportunities in consulting are expected to grow at a higher-than-average rate between 2010 and 2020. Not only are consulting careers increasingly available, they are also one of the most coveted jobs in the business world, as they provide financial security and a sense of professional achievement. Having a degree is essential to landing one of these competitive careers, and MBA graduates are aggressively pursuing consulting jobs now more than ever. Aspiring consultants may want to earn a master’s degree in business administration which will provide the following four benefits that allow for promising and competitive careers.
Qualifies You for High-Paying Jobs
MBA graduates are in high demand by some of the country’s top consulting firms. Even in the midst of a tough economy, starting salaries for MBA graduates continue to grow. Those who have earned an undergraduate degree typically have starting salaries ranging from $60,000 to $70,000, while MBA graduates can expect to earn as much as $135,000 in their first year. MBA graduates are also offered generous signing bonuses at top consulting firms such as Deloitte and Accenture. These companies offer bonuses as high as $35,000 to MBA earners fresh out of college. With MBA graduates in such high demand, it is no surprise that the financial investment of earning an MBA, including all tuition costs, is typically earned back in fewer than four years. The Washington Post reports that the those earning executive MBAs can expect an even quicker return, as the payback period has recently decreased to a meager 17 months.
Gives You an Advantage for Moving up the Ladder
When it comes to consulting, many companies require an advanced degree such as an MBA before they will consider an employee for a promotion or advancement. Even if you are otherwise qualified, senior level managers in charge of approving promotions may not know you on a personal or professional level. In these situations, your resume must speak for itself, and having an MBA is often imperative for proving that you are worthy of moving up the ladder. While an MBA may not guarantee a promotion, it significantly increases the chances of landing high-level positions. Beyond simply writing “MBA” on your resume, a master’s degree in business will give you actual experience that is transferable to the workplace. Through earning an MBA, you will gain specific casework knowledge, become technologically savvy and learn the interpersonal skills that are essential to a career in consulting. All of these qualities will greatly improve your chances of standing out as an employee worthy of earning a promotion.
Helps You Establish Credibility in the Workplace
According to Forbes, establishing your own personal credibility is one of the greatest advantages of investing in an MBA. Having an MBA gives standing to employees in the consulting industry, and those who have pursued this difficult degree have already established a level of integrity and perseverance, as well as a strong work ethic. Through the process of earning your advanced degree, you will have the opportunity to make connections in the consulting world that will give you an advantage while trying to establish yourself as a credible and competent consultant in the real world.
Provides Opportunities for Hands-On Experience
While working toward your MBA, you will have countless opportunities for hands-on experience with real-world consulting. To get the most out of your advanced degree, take every opportunity to join consulting clubs, attend forums and network with the most reputable firms in the business. MBA programs frequently connect students with alumni who are now working as consultants. Throughout your MBA career, you will have the opportunity to intern for and learn from these consulting companies, giving you a chance to delve into real-world cases. Additionally, MBA programs offer assistance in landing consulting jobs through intensive mock interviews and resume-writing courses. The application and interview process for landing a job in the consulting world is rigorous, and receiving this kind of assistance from knowledgeable professors and businesspeople is invaluable.
To land a job in the highly competitive field of consulting, standing out from the crowd is essential. Consulting firms are recognizing the value of hiring MBA graduates because of their work ethic, knowledge and hands-on experience. Consider pursuing an MBA to give you the additional tools and competitive edge you need to score one of these coveted positions.
Image by Millenia47 from Flickr Creative Commons
About the Author: Tara Jones is a contributing writer. She has worked in the business world for 20 years as a consultant, senior manager and professor.