Dede Aguayo, working in management at UPS six years ago, decided to seek a master’s degree in business administration – an MBA – so she could be a better employee and a better manager for her company. She wound up being neither. She left the job and moved into a more stimulating field – thanks to her MBA.
Maureen Rhyne doesn’t have an MBA, but she has a master’s in nursing and a doctorate in psychology. And there are MBAs in her family – a daughter, son-in-law and stepson all have advanced business degrees. She pushes the MBA – but with reservations.
Trina Fleming sought an MBA to help her climb the ladder in IT. Degree in hand, she stepped past the ladder into nonprofit ventures discovered through her return to school.
“The MBA education brought out talents in me I didn’t know I had,” she says.
All three women now help others in Orange County to improve their business careers. And all strongly advise that an MBA is the right choice for a growing number trying to secure better futures in the business world.
A rising trend
As the economy recovers, O.C. follows the national trend: The lure of the MBA is increasingly popular in the business world.
At Chapman University in Orange, the number of MBA students has doubled in the past five years. Cal State Fullerton’s MBA program has grown 25 percent in that time and has doubled from 300 to 600 in a decade. Pepperdine, La Verne and Webster universities all have Irvine campuses with MBA programs.
Local business educators say that the attraction of the MBA is so strong that the University of Michigan and Arizona State University are turning to Orange County branch campuses to offer master’s degrees.
A recent survey by the nonprofit MBA Alliance shows that 80 percent in the business world endorse an MBA as necessary to a successful resume. In job search engines such as Indeed.com, almost every business-job listing closes with “MBA preferred.”
“It’s the most marketable degree you can receive,” says Van Muse, MBA director at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.
Here’s just how marketable: Salary growth for an MBA graduate will jump 177 percent – a return on investment – over the first 3.5 years, according to national studies, Muse says. Other MBA programs in the county confirm those figures.
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