Are you a journalist who wants to know how applying to an MBA program can benefit your career? Or are you probably a blogger who might have plans of turning the popular blog content into a book or an ebook or something of that sort but not sure about what is next and what options you have available for taking your career to the next level? If you are not sure about an MBA, or if this is your first thought of considering it — here’s my two cents on why media professionals should consider doing an MBA and how it can help them.
Media professionals and journalists will find an MBA helpful in several ways.
Media professionals and journalists will find that an MBA is helpful. Those who want to become business journalists, for example, need a good understanding of the fundamentals of business and economics.
Business journalists can advance further if they have a broader understanding of the financial industry. For example, those based in New York may benefit from the city’s proximity to Wall Street.
An MBA helps those who aspire to be senior editors or publishers to manage their teams more effectively. It also enables them to better understand the business side of journalism and make decisions that will help the publication become more profitable.
The digital revolution has changed everything about journalism over the past decade, including newspapers, magazines, and broadcasting. The Internet has become a powerful platform for news content, which means media companies are now competing with tech giants such as Google and Facebook. This makes it all the more important for media professionals and journalists to understand how digital technology shapes their industry.
An MBA can help media professionals develop the business skills they need to advance in their career
It’s a common paradox: the world of media and journalism is one of the most exciting industries to be in and one of the most challenging. Journalists work in an industry that’s constantly changing and adapting. The Internet disrupts traditional ways of doing business and forces everyone to adjust. Media professionals need to understand how business models are evolving and how to design new strategies for success.
That’s why the decision to pursue an MBA is becoming an increasingly popular choice among media professionals, from seasoned journalists to those just starting. It’s not just about getting a salary bump to offset the low paychecks many journalists receive (although an MBA can certainly do that). The MBA offers a way for media professionals to understand their industry and business overall to help shape their careers across many different roles — including managers leading teams or even running their own companies.
The skills that an MBA can give media professionals
An MBA can be a valuable credential for a media professional who wants to build a career in the industry’s business side. With an MBA, students learn about consumer behavior to better understand how people react to media messages. They also gain insight into how organizations work and how to lead them effectively. Media and journalism students are usually taught specific writing, editing, or marketing skills, but they often lack a broader understanding of the business landscape. The MBA provides this in spades.
As well as teaching business fundamentals, the MBA is also becoming more focused on social and cultural developments around the world. Students are being encouraged to think about how best to manage and lead in turbulent times and look at ways to create a sustainable future for organizations.
Students will learn about global management issues, innovation, and entrepreneurship, digital technologies and social media, project management, decision making and strategy, financial reporting and analysis, economics for business leaders, and big data analytics. This is vital knowledge for any media professional interested in launching their own venture or taking on a leadership role at an established company.
The ability to manage content: MBAs spend considerable time learning how to manage large budgets, personnel, and projects. This makes them effective managers of other people’s time and budgets. Here are some of the specific ways an MBA can benefit journalists:
Understanding of business operations: An MBA is designed to provide students with an understanding of a variety of business disciplines, including human resources and accounting principles. For example, many journalism schools do not require students to take management courses. However, most MBA programs require business law courses that cover contracts, copyright law, and defamation.
Expanded view of media: MBAs help you better understand how various media entities operate within the business world. For example, if you want to work in radio or television newsrooms or write for magazines or newspapers, knowing the media industry can help you understand its complexities and ultimately make your job easier.
An MBA can prepare media professionals for a variety of career paths
An MBA can prepare you for a variety of career paths, including journalism:
- You can go into media consulting or work as an analyst or consultant at a magazine, website, or network.
- You can work in business development or marketing at a publishing company.
- You can start your own media company, something that is not as hard as it used to be in this age of 24×7 news and Youtube influencers.
Here are five roles (this list is certainly not exhaustive) that a media professional can pursue after an MBA.
Strategy: Media companies need business strategists to create and implement long-term plans to improve their performance. These professionals might work on future growth strategies, such as improving market share, or plans to improve operational efficiency. They often determine how best to use technology for these goals.
Project management: These professionals oversee various projects, from large (such as an expansion into a new geographic area) to smaller but critical (such as a new website design). For example, at the company where I work, we were launching a new digital subscription product, and we needed someone to coordinate with our editorial team and our engineering team.
Product management: This role involves developing products that consumers want and then managing all aspects of their development and launch. Product managers may examine consumer preferences through research, design advertising campaigns to support product launches, or devise ways to increase sales by improving distribution networks.
Business development: Business developers identify potential opportunities for their organization and seek out strategic partnerships or other agreements that could benefit the company. They may also be responsible for finding potential funding sources or investment capital, such as venture capitalists or government agencies that provide grants.
Marketing and brand roles: Marketing professionals help promote a company’s brand. Media organizations need to build differentiated brands given the surfeit of news channels, influencers, and ‘non-media’ media professionals today. A role in product marketing or brand management in the media industry can make excellent and exciting work.