A Gen Z’s Perspective: The Benefits of Getting an MBA for Careers in STEM
This week’s blog post comes from our summer intern, Sakshi!
With Gen Z quickly entering the workforce, I was curious to learn about her thoughts on developing leadership skills. When we discussed how she’d like to pursue both an MBA and MD, I thought, “Whoa! That’s a lot of school!”
Is it worth it? Here’s what she has to say about that…
While the STEM field has largely grown over recent years, many students are questioning how worthwhile it could be to also get an MBA on top of a bachelor’s or master’s in STEM to enhance their leadership skills and ability to communicate. Although I want to go to medical school in the future, I also believe that it is important that I do an MD/MBA program in order to gain the benefits of an MBA.
What if I don’t want to go into business administration? There are many soft skills that can be learned through getting an MBA that can still aid you in whatever career you choose. Here are a few reasons why I want to pursue an MBA.
Improving Communication Skills A major benefit of an MBA is the chance to increase communication skills. No matter what field you enter, your writing and speaking skills will be incredibly important. If you doubt how much those skills are truly utilized, consider how much you actually need to write for your job. Almost every single career requires some sort of formal writing, whether it be in the form of emails, reports, or presentations. In addition to improved writing skills, many MBA graduates dramatically improve their speaking skills thanks to the numerous presentations required of their degree.
Improved Leadership Skills Most careers are based in a group environment where teamwork is required. While in school, team projects require some degree of leadership to produce a cohesive product and manage the conflicts that are bound to happen. If one takes advantage of these projects and uses them as a way to gain leadership experience, those skills can transfer to the workplace. (Just think of all the “project management” and “conflict resolution” you can legitimately place on your resume!)
The most effective leaders motivate and inspire their teams, and the STEM field is riddled with high-strung, type A, competitive personalities–myself included! Being able to influence and drive a team to accomplish a common goal is a fundamental skill, yet not everyone brings it to the table. Leadership skills gained in an MBA program help graduates receive leadership positions and stand out from their peers.
Understanding the Global Economy Most of Gen Z, and even most Millennials, are participating in politics at higher rates. Because of social media, younger generations are more heavily involved in politics and are therefore more aware of fiscal policies, or government intervention in the economy. Even though I wasn’t as interested in politics when I was younger, I now keep up to date with current Supreme Court cases and bills passed by Congress. By gaining a deeper understanding of economics through earning an MBA, students can be more aware of new policies and their impacts. They can also make more informed decisions when participating in politics.
Ability to Specialize MBA Students are able to specialize in different areas such as business analytics or entrepreneurship. For me, the healthcare management MBA is the most appealing so that I can be better equipped to lead a team in the medical field and have a greater understanding of the business aspects of running a network of hospitals. Although there is specialization, students also gain a holistic education to understand business administration in a variety of fields and are then able to transfer skills from other areas to a particular area of interest.
Networking Many MBA programs allow their students to meet accomplished business executives as part of their curriculum. Thanks to smaller class sizes and group work, they also form connections with peers, resulting in a powerful network for use after graduation. Early in their careers, MBA graduates are able to utilize their network of alumni to gain insight into careers they wish to pursue. In addition, networking is the number one way to get a job. Many jobs are not posted—they’re often filled through referrals and personal connections.
Overall, an MBA is worthwhile to get even if you do not plan on going into business administration. In the example of the medical field, a friend of mine took on an MD/MBA program, in which she received both a medical degree and her masters in business administration. This is particularly useful to her because each degree taught her different skills she can later apply to the real world. The medical field often teaches students to think critically and follow specific algorithms to problem-solve, whereas an MBA gives a holistic education that can help students make strategic decisions, specifically in the face of little information.
The numerous group projects allow graduates to gain valuable soft skills, like communication and conflict management. The exposure to executives and peers with years of work experience help students learn executive presence. These skills can be transformed to anywhere in the STEM field including the cost of research plans and constructing business proposals for new technology, highlighting how an MBA can transform the careers of those working in STEM.
Is all of that hard work worth the results? I’m about to find out!
Sakshi Krishna is a student at the University of Texas at Dallas studying Biochemistry as part of the National Merit Scholars Program. As a recent high school graduate and tutor for current middle and high school students, she knows firsthand Gen Z’s motivations and aspirations. Sakshi is also a National AP Scholar and has an insatiable need to buy every highlighter in every color!