Why Negotiation Training Can Be More Beneficial Than an MBA

Training that put learns into simulated negotiations against experienced buyers or sellers can help them rapidly build and retain vital real-world skills.

Gaining your Master’s degree in business administration can be an outstanding accomplishment, but how impressive is that MBA if you can’t negotiate an employment contract that pays you what you’re worth?

When an employer sees you made a poor impression negotiating your contract, how likely is it that you will be placed in key decision-making roles within the company? Likely slim to none.

Think and Train as a Team

Companies want to be assured you can contribute effectively in a team. In certain job markets, contributing may include being part of a negotiation team. Dr. Bob March emphasized the need for companies to have their sales teams trained together in seminars. If you have sufficient budget and numbers, then choose an in-house option; alternatively, the open enrollment avenue such as an advanced negotiation training will do. 

Classroom vs. Corporate

Sitting through long lectures can be a drag, especially when you are forced to endure hours of detailed theory delivered in a rehearsed, emotionless manner. We’ve all been in class staring at the clock for what appears to be an eternity, wondering when it would end. 

The boredom is often because you aren’t put in real-world situations. In fact, most students study for a particular exam and then forget the subject material soon after. So what’s the point?

In contrast, classes that put you into simulated negotiations against experienced buyers or sellers will help you to rapidly build and retain vital real-world skills. Learning to persuade firsthand will teach you skills that can be used not just at work, but in your personal life, as well.

Recent surveys taken in corporate settings detail the importance of the art of negotiation over the theoretical and academic aspects of business that sometimes are learned in a university. Negotiation skills are put to the test daily, which is why they are so valued. By contrast, we often go years before we’ll be called upon to remember a topic covered in college. 

Decisions and traits like these need life experience and inner motivation not found in a school setting. Negotiation training can instill that desire to win that a university education just can’t compare to.

College courses don’t teach ambition, and many fall short on business decision-making skills. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a curriculum that teaches you how to make career-altering decisions to get ahead. Negotiation courses, however, train learners how to make the best possible decisions, which can add up to a competition-beating deal.

Cost Effective

Earning a Master’s degree is not only expensive but time-consuming. The old adage, “Time is money” is spot on. You can spend more than a year in obtaining your MBA, whereas a negotiating course rarely lasts longer than a few days, maybe a week, at most.

How much does an MBA actually cost? Conservative estimates for an MBA place the average cost for two-year tuition at $50,000, with some schools’ tuition rates exceeding $100,000.

On the other hand, a negotiating course taught by elite negotiators costs at most a few thousand dollars.

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

First impressions are key. When we meet people, especially in a corporate setting, it is important that we come off as confident and self-assured. Powerful negotiators rarely appear confused or intimidated.

When negotiating, appearing confident is more important than knowing technical jargon and formulas. Corporate executives aren’t looking for impressive GMAT scores. HR representatives are looking to be impressed by your bearing and demeanor. 

Executives are looking for people they can trust to raise the value of their business. Taking classes geared toward persuading people (i.e., negotiation workshops) can help you understand exactly what you need to do to create beneficial relationships at work.

In corporate circles, MBAs are a dime a dozen. Most Human Resources managers aren’t necessarily impressed by an MBA. They are looking for a genuine asset possessing real-world skills that can help the company grow.

The opportunities created by being recognized as a skilled negotiator are endless. Most skilled negotiators find themselves being placed in leadership roles, which tends to lead to higher salaries. Some examples include:

  • Human Resources Manager
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Sales Engineer

Be Part of the A-Team

The harsh reality is that most companies aren’t investing in creating good negotiators. They usually expect you to join their company and already be an accomplished persuader. Corporate companies aren’t necessarily interested in teaching negotiating skills to a new hire.

Fortunately, companies are beginning to see the value of finding a negotiation expert to help train their team in the art of persuasion. More and more companies now understand that negotiation is a collaborative endeavor and recognize the need for a professionally trained negotiation team.

How satisfying is it when you win an argument? Just think about the satisfaction you can receive from making potential million-dollar deals through your persuasive skills. Cultivate that desire to be on the winning team. 

College is fine for experimenting and gaining the tangible tools needed to succeed in your career, but negotiating seminars are where you go to learn how to excel. 

Milena Gallo is the content editor at negotiations.com, which trains clients to successfully navigate high-stakes negotiations. It also offers readers free online resources in the form of posts, book reviews, negotiation case, Q&As, and negotiation definitions. 


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