Skills & Experience

Skills vs. Experience: What’s More Important in a Potential New Hire?

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When the time comes to start thinking about your career, future, and financial stability, it’s only natural to wonder whether getting your Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree or bachelor’s degree is a worthwhile consideration.

As you’re reaching your last years of high school, you may realize further education can open the doors to many exciting opportunities. However, it can be challenging to decide whether you’d prefer to gain skills in an official capacity or experience in a real-life job, especially when you don’t know what’s more important in a potential new hire. If you’re having a hard time deciding, you might see the value in considering this information below.

What Skills Does an MBA Give You?

When you’re weighing up the pros and cons of having experience or a qualification in your preferred line of work, it’s worth thinking about the potential MBA skills, traits, and characteristics you could gain by enrolling in an MBA program.

First and foremost, you can learn the necessary skills to enter a management position, such as leadership insight, an influential network, and confidence. You can also develop self-discipline, strategic thinking, risk management, and communication skills, which can be desirable skills for employers and pivotal for your future success. Pursuing MBA while in the military can also equip you with several new skills.

Real-Life Value of a College Degree

It’s not always easy to see the potential in a college degree when you’re in the middle of trying to earn it or even before you begin. You might assume that with either skills or experience, you’ll be able to acquire your dream role and establish yourself in the working world.

However, when you compare the employment potential of someone with a high school diploma versus a college degree, it becomes apparent that a college degree holds a great deal of real-life value.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median earnings for someone holding a high school diploma over the age of 25 is $781, versus $1,545 for those with a Master’s degree. The unemployment rate is also lower for those with degrees, sitting at 4.1% for someone with a Master’s degree and 9% if you have a high school diploma.

What Are Employers Looking For?

While entering an MBA program should be done with your own gains in mind, there’s no harm in thinking about what employers are looking for. That way, you can refine your skills and obtain qualifications that will put you in a desirable position to seek employment when you graduate.

According to studies, 67% of production supervisor postings in 2015 required a college degree, and many other roles stipulated that a college degree was a minimum education requirement. The majority of employers were also more likely to pay up to 30% more for college graduates.

What If I Don’t Have an MBA?

While seeking employment can be much more challenging without a degree, experience does count for a lot in some industries and leading corporations. For example, degrees aren’t always required in tech-related positions, even if earning a degree can lay a foundation for many valuable skills you can put to good use in such a position.

Some employers also believe experience is just as necessary as a degree, and some are willing to overlook a lack of a degree if their experience is sufficient. Some hiring managers even view potential as a crucial component of any resume, even if a job prerequisite is to have a degree of some kind.

This means employers may see a future employee as desirable if they have the ability to grow into a position and bring value to their role and the company.

Is a Degree Worth It?

When you start looking at whether skills or experience are more important, it’s easy to assume that you don’t need to worry about getting an MBA if you can be hired based on your experience alone. However, being given an opportunity to gain pivotal skills for your dream job is not always as straightforward as you might think.

As a result, if you’re in a position to work toward a degree, consider taking the opportunity with both hands. Not only can your earning potential be higher, but you may find it easier to secure a position with a degree prerequisite.

MBAs and bachelor’s degrees have the potential to accelerate your career path, explore new industries, future-ready your career, and diversify your network. While employer behaviors are changing, there’s every reason to believe that skills can count for just as much as experience, if not more so in many situations.

A college degree won’t be required for all industries and roles, but there’s certainly value in exploring your options when experience alone is not enough. A college education such as an MBA might put you in the most desirable position to secure your dream job while allowing you to learn valuable skills that might set you up for life.



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