Whether you are planning to earn your MBA via online means or have plans to obtain a degree focused on-site at a campus, it is becoming increasingly as important to evaluate your internship and hands-on experiential opportunities as it is to make sure your program offers a well-rounded business education. Because more and more companies and corporations are hiring new employees based on so much more than just their educational credentials, you will need to ensure that you present yourself not just as the most highly educated candidate, but as a well-rounded and properly experienced candidate as well.
Application Trumps Education in Today’s Hiring Pool
The message is loud and clear: gaining real world business experience prior to graduation matters, even if you hold your MBA online. The reasons for this are many and growing day by day. Companies are burdened with attempts to appeal to younger customers as they cultivate a customer base that will hopefully survive their senior management and keep the company profitable into future generations. They are equally burdened with employees who have seen ups and downs inside the corporate infrastructure, contributing to minds that are loyal to traditional practices and thus often less open to fresh approaches and new ideas or even new takes on old ideas that may have not worked well initially.
Whether you come into the work force with a postgraduate degree in organizational leadership or another track in the business field, it will be necessary for you to showcase to prospective employers how you can apply what you have learned in practical and profitable ways. If you have already proven this through an internship, special project or various other means before you compete for your first job after graduate school, you have a leg up on your competition and are better prepared to work well with your new corporate teammates.
Innovation is People-Focused
While no one will argue that book learning and technological know-how are still hot commodities in today’s business arena, innovation at its heart is based on people. People coming together with people generate ideas and then work to refine and disseminate those ideas to others who can contribute, collaborate and then help to sell those ideas to end users, or customers. Having an understanding of theory, principle, strategy, analysis and other business tools may help you to formulate an idea that holds the potential to be successful and profitable; if you don’t have the experience in working with teams of people, communicating your ideas, selling your ideas to others who may push back or add to your ideas and ultimately developing your ideas to the point where they might be able to reach the end user, then these are all skills your new employer will have to teach you. So there is a clear advantage if you graduate with some or many of these skills already under your belt and highlighted on your resume.
Internships are Great Networking Opportunities
Because the economy has continued to experience rough patches, companies are becoming more creative in how they obtain new innovative ideas. One way that companies have been able to save money while continuing to innovate is to partner with universities and graduate programs to use students to generate and brainstorm new ideas. These partnerships are a win-win, because the best and brightest students in each class get to network with industry leaders who may just turn out to be their new bosses. Industry innovators get to connect with the brightest young minds out of the next generation of business leaders. In fact, these partnerships are becoming so popular and successful that some graduate level MBA programs both online and offline now advertise to prospective students that they offer internships and hands-on practicum opportunities as well as classes on interviewing skills, job placement centers and other more traditional advanced degree offerings.
As the job market continues to tighten in an attempt to anticipate what the economy might do next, graduates who put the investment of time and money into an advanced degree need to keep in mind just how important gaining real world business experience pre-graduation can be to their definitive career prospects and goals. The more prepared you are in every aspect of business operations, the more attractive you will be to a new employer when it comes time to earn a paycheck and pay back those (sometimes daunting) student loans after you graduate.