The MBA in SA remains a popular postgraduate degree option. For many MBA candidates, the programme acts as a springboard in their career – whether for career advancement within their current company or industry or if they want to pivot into another type of business function or sector. Employers seek to hire people who are strategic thinkers, risk mitigators and people who can develop actionable strategies to deal with growing local and global competition.
Based on my observations gained from coaching MBA graduates most MBA programmes in South Africa have undergone significant change both from a structural and content perspective in recent years. From a structural perspective, most modular courses allow students to complete their MBAs by incorporating aspects and hybrid and online learning allowing students less time off work throughout the programme. I have also noticed that UCT’s Graduate School of Business has aligned its full-time programme closer to the academic calendars of its international partner institutions.
For me, an MBA is as much about personal growth as it is about career advancement, and it should not be chasing the next best pay cheque after obtaining the qualification. It is a challenging programme and is designed in this way so that students are challenged beyond their comfort zones.
The MBA does equip graduates to navigate their next promotion in the job market and, more importantly, teaches graduates how to think about tackling challenges now and in their future careers.
I always advise the MBA students I coach to ‘work the room’ and network as much as they can during their programme. This is a critical component of the MBA programme. These networks made very often stay with a graduate for their entire career. During an MBA you get to meet not only fellow students but a host of industry professionals through corporate engagement in the programme.
Completing an MBA program is an impressive feat that opens a world of career opportunities. But once the hard work of conquering the coursework is over, the real challenge of finding the right job and building a successful career begins. It’s a daunting process that’s made easier when you have the right guidance and tools. One of MBA graduates’ biggest challenges is knowing their value to potential employers. Many assume that their degree makes them more valuable, but the truth is the combination of their MBA with their unique skills, experience, and achievements makes them stand out. Alongside the qualification itself it is advisable to build and maintain a strong personal brand in today’s job market. This includes developing unique skills and expertise in a particular field and actively building a strong online presence through social media and other channels. To stand out from the competition, MBA graduates must develop a clear and compelling personal brand showcasing their strengths and unique value proposition.
When choosing a business school for your MBA in SA consider a school that aligns to your individual requirements, long tern goals and personal preferences. Test the schools reputation amongst your peers, its alumni, employers in the market and industry professionals. There is no right MBA for anyone. Think about what your unique ROI is from your MBA and your chosen business school.
If you are a recent MBA graduate interested in post MBA career coaching; please do reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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