If you have a small business, you might be thinking you could do even better if you only had the right tools and direction. Your undergraduate degree has served you well so perhaps your next business step is to pursue an advanced degree. In this economy, what advantages will a master’s degree give you to grow your small business?
Your bachelor’s degree gave you a broad understanding of many concepts. Even within a specific field of study, such as math or science, what you learned created a foundation on which you could build experience and further education. A master’s degree starts with that foundation and adds specific skills that you can use in your business. For instance, the Master of Business Administration, or MBA, gives you the tools to understand and plan for a successful business.
The Benefit of Getting the MBA
Adam Toren in Entrepreneur offers that if you are not motivated to do the work to create a successful business, the degree won’t help. If you are motivated to expand your business into new markets or introduce a new product, an MBA can provide copious value. You’ll learn how to do market analysis, design products or services cost effectively and create marketing campaigns to target the customers you want.
Sure, you have experience running a small business, but an MBA lets you look at your business with different perspectives such as:
- How do you incorporate green business techniques into your operations?
- How do you break into some of the developing countries in Africa and Asia?
- How can you compete with large companies for government contracts?
- How can you reduce costs while providing your employees with a fair wage and benefits?
The Skills from an MBA
Your undergraduate degree introduced you to concepts. Your MBA shows you how to use those concepts to be successful in your business. For example, you’ll now get to use your undergraduate knowledge of accounting to do project cost analysis to roll out a new product.
Classes in an MBA program target specific situations faced by business owners. An example of the classes you might take in an MBA program include:
- Business Law, Ethics and Values
- Cross-Cultural Management and Global Issues
- Quantitative Approaches to Management
- Strategic Management
- Technology and Systems Trends
These classes bring your management, leadership, planning and analysis skills up to a level to meet the challenges in the current-day business environment.
Bill Conerly writes in Forbes, that any student interested in business should have a good understanding of economics and statistics. Every business person needs to understand his or her business in terms of the current economy. How does supply and demand work based on your products or services and the customer’s ability to use and pay for them? Being able to generate trends and understand the numbers behind a successful business lets you make better decisions about when to expand.
Some specific skills you will gain from your MBA that you can put to immediate use include:
- Business planning — How to create compelling business cases that you can take to investors for capital to expand your small business.
- Market analysis — How to understand what products and services are currently in demand, and what might them more attractive to customers (e.g. product redesign, test trials or customer focus groups)
- Marketing strategies — How to use current technologies and social media to connect with customers to provide product and service information.
- Supply chain management — How to have what your business needs when it needs it without wasting time or space.
These are all applicable skills to the small or large business. The small bakery run out of the home must still think about these business areas. A driver instruction school with five employees deals with the same business issues. The difference is only in the scale, not the importance.
A Degree for All Business Types
Regardless of the type of small business you own or run, an MBA will give you the tools to take it to the next level. You will be more confident about your business decisions. You will face risks with more understanding and thus more options. It will be an investment in the future success of your business.