Once perceived as a degree for “numbers people,” the master’s of business administration (MBA) has gained importance in many industries, including public relations, over the past several years. That said, there is still much debate about whether an MBA is needed or if it’s just a waste of time and money—especially for PR pros.
Although there are perfectly rational arguments on either side, as a recent MBA graduate, I can share firsthand that the degree is valuable for public relations and communications professionals and is well worth considering.
Here are four ways getting an MBA can help PR pros:
1. Acquiring business expertise.
MBA programs expose professionals to a wide range of subjects, including accounting, finance, strategic management, economics, international business, human resource management, marketing, and operations management. Why does this matter for PR professionals? It trained me to think beyond the usual metrics and look at the broader picture to understand how each decision affects the company’s bottom line.
2. Enhancing leadership skills and confidence.
At any good business school these days, you’re going to have the opportunity to work on a series of team projects. MBA programs offer many opportunities for individuals to lead teams; gain knowledge of business leadership; and learn how to be an influential, confident, and effective manager.
3. Expanding your business network.
One of the biggest benefits of obtaining an MBA is the network you build. Through all the group assignments and projects completed throughout the MBA program, it’s hard not to develop tight bonds. These friends are more than good people. They’re likely to go on to be successful in their craft and could act as great sounding boards in the future.
4. Opening doors to career acceleration.
An MBA degree can help professionals advance their career or lead to a good career change. Additionally, earning an MBA degree prepares you for management-level and leadership positions in the industry and gives you greater marketability.
In the end, an MBA is still just a piece of paper. It will not replace relevant work experience, but it will help you to get out of your comfort zone, learn about the latest business issues, apply the newest management techniques, and constantly challenge yourself. For those reasons, it’s well worth the time, resources, and commitment required.
Did you see a subject missing from the list above? PR pros often have been criticized for their lack of understanding about business goals; however, it’s just as important that our future managers also learn the value of PR and the strategic role it plays in an organization.
I applaud PRSA’s MBA initiative on the Business Case for PR™
, an advocacy effort to lobby for the basics of PR to be added to the MBA curricula.
Diane Hurd is an account manager at CMA (@CMABuildsTrust), a national public relations agency based in Kansas City, Mo. A version of the story originally appeared on the agency's blog.