Why Should I Get an MBA?: Your Career Says Maybe You Should

Is an MBA right for you?

Earning an MBA could be the path to success in your career.
Earning an MBA could be the path to success in your career.

Have you considered a top MBA program?

Why Should You Get Your MBA? Earning your MBA in today's job market can be the difference between stagnation and upward career mobility! The whole concept behind graduate work in the 'administration of business' is that organizations and institutions can benefit from leaders with clear management, accounting, marketing, and financial training. This is the real goal of MBA programs at colleges and universities around the world.

The MBA results of top-ranking programs around the world including Harvard Business School, Tuck at Dartmouth, Wharton at UPenn, Kellogg in Chicago, Yale, Columbia (NYC), even Bangalore University and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT - MBA, International Business) drive thousands of applicants every year from around the globe to apply for the MBA. Whether it is an executive MBA, distance learning, or MBA online program, be sure that admission is very competitive! Even now online MBA programs are getting more international applicants which is why applicants from New York to California to Dubai and from cities all over China and India are applying for MBA programs.

Here are some considerations to help you decide if a program at a top MBA college or university is worth your time, effort, and resources:

CAN I AFFORD IT?

The first question you might ask yourself is whether you can afford the cost of going back to earn an MBA. It is possible that your current employer will assist you in paying the tuition/fees associated with the program - be sure to check. There are also many private scholarships and fellowships available from the educational institution itself, as well as a number of other foundations, civic and community organizations and trusts. Be sure to file your FAFSA and all relevant financial aid forms early and plan on doing some diligent research for scholarships online and at the library.

If you can get financial assistance in any other form, except graduate student loans, you have to estimate the total cost and then decide if you will be able to recoup this with higher future earnings. It may be hard to assess exactly what you will earn with the new degree, but aks around, and do some research.

The other part of the "affordable" equation is related to time. Can you afford the time it would take to complete the degree program? It may be possible to complete the program online or at a nearby affordable university, but there is still a time-table to the completion of the degree, especially if you pursue the degree on a part-time basis.

WILL IT REALLY HELP MY CAREER?

You must ask yourself if an MBA would get you the career advancement and responsibilities you desire. It's possible to research this yourself by looking at the backgrounds of senior management in your organization, or by asking a trusted mentor. It is also possible to speak with headhunters and executive recruiting companies about your employment prospects with both your career experience and your possible new degree.

Will you get more money? Will you earn more respect? Are there promotions that you will now be eligible for? If I was ever laid off, would the MBA make it easier for me to find new work? These and others like them are the kinds of questions to ask yourself before you begin.

Interesting added bonus: one American Fortune 500 company actually rewards continuing employees when they complete a degree. The graduation bonus: 100 shares of common stock! Check with your employer to see if there are any perks waiting for you!

CAN I HANDLE THE WORKLOAD OF THE MBA PROGRAM?

Unless you are fresh out of your bachelor's degree program, or have extensive experience in accounting, finance, or as a 'quant', then it's ok to fret about the math component of an MBA degree. Remember that once you decide to go back to earn your degree, overcoming this hurdle will be part of the process. You can figure out what you need to know, study hard, get extra help or tutoring, read MBA and finance prep books, and other winning strategies. Once you prep and pass the GMAT you will be well on your way to being ready!

IS IT TOO LATE?

Not really... Many first-year MBA students are mid-career or later, and the whole field has opened itself up to later-career executive training. It is definitely not to late to LEARN! Many choose online MBA programs for both cost and also to avoid their classroom fears, but remember that your classmates of any age could be your co-workers, subordinates, and bosses soon so prove to yourself that you have something to contribute and can work with any business person - any age, any management style, from anywhere!

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Regardless of your background, employers may see an MBA as management "finishing school" for your profession. (Higher degrees like PhDs and DBAs are more common in academic and research circles.) Lately even physicians (MDs) and lawyers/attorneys (JDs) are completing MBA degrees to add another valuable component to their available skills. Often new students are recruited into rigorous dual-degree programs in these areas: MD/MBA, JD/MBA, MPP/MBA (public policy), and many others. You might consider if any of these fit into your long-term career plans.

SUMMARY

It may seem obvious for someone with an undergraduate degree in finance, marketing, accounting, or economics to get an internship and eventually a position in their field, and then after a couple of years return to school for their MBA. But job-seekers with liberal arts degrees in english, history, humanities, philosophy, art history, or other undergraduate majors, have learned that earning an MBA gives their resume a new focus, and opens up a much wider scope of available jobs in the private and public sector.

Now go after the career you really want and consider earning your MBA!


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