3 Factors for Considering an MBA Degree
11/02/2016 by HIGHERGRAD
Deciding to earn a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is not a light decision. Considering an MBA degree is truly a life-changing event. You must weigh the cost of the program itself, challenges with going to graduate school, and the opportunity cost of leaving (or not entering) the workforce. All of these then boil down to is an MBA worth it?
The benefits of getting an MBA degree are potentially huge. The degree itself is an effective tool for those that want to make a career change and for others the MBA degree is essential for financial sector positions and career advancement in business. An MBA salary is also on average much greater than most other graduate degree holders. Whether considering an executive MBA, online MBA, or traditional business graduate degree program, the decision to go (or return) to graduate school should be examined based on a program’s cost, professional development opportunity, and selectivity of your desired career.
Is an MBA Worth It? | Consider These 3 Factors
MBA programs can range in cost from the mid $20,000 to over $130,000 for top MBA programs like those at MIT, University of Pennsylvania, or Stanford. While costs are important, future earning potential should be analyzed when you ask yourself if an MBA is worth it.
MBA Costs and Returns
Jobs with an MBA degree include professions in marketing, finance, human resources, business intelligence, and corporate management. The monetary input required to obtain an advanced degree should be considered when considering an MBA degree and if it is worth it financially. Graduate school, in any degree program, should be thought of as an investment in higher average lifetime earnings. In fact, those majoring in business as an undergraduate and deciding to go on to an MBA make more money in their lifetime than those that choose not to earn an MBA according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Financial aid is available to help with the cost of grad school but it is limited. Federal loan programs can help to supplement but research funding such as assistantships are typically not available to students in MBA programs.
Professional Growth and Development
One of the many reasons for considering an MBA degree is to build the skills needed to advance in your career. The vast majority of MBA programs provide desirable real-world skills and training to meet the challenges in the marketplace across a wide range of subject areas. Thus the benefits of an MBA to an employer can be substantial. In addition, professional networks are built from connections developed through these graduate degree programs. Alumni and businesses who want highly skilled employees to grow and advance their businesses look to those finishing graduate school with an MBA.
The prestige and vast professional networks like those at top MBA programs such as Harvard and Columbia get you noticed at a world-wide companies and open opportunities that many other schools cannot. However, smaller state and regional schools offer different opportunities and may make more sense if you are looking to move into a specialized field or stay within a particular area. Even the benefits of getting an MBA from a smaller school or from an MBA program online can increase your professional growth and development.
Selectivity When it Comes to Considering an MBA Degree
Depending on your reasons for considering an MBA degree, your selection strategy may differ. Changing careers may lend itself to looking at smaller, less expensive, and selective schools that offer a strong program in your new field. These programs help you to get your feet in the door at your next career while building the exact set of skills local and regional businesses are looking for. These schools also offer part-time and online MBA programs as part of their graduate schools, which give you the opportunity to advance (or change) your career while still working or managing a family. On the other hand, if big corporate life or the financial sector world is your desire then top MBA programs, which are highly selective and demanding, are your best option for graduate school.
In conclusion, MBA degrees can provide the skills and experience needed to advance your career. Analyze the factors such as costs and the differences among universities as you start considering an MBA degree. There are plenty of affordable online MBA programs as well as more traditional programs. Finding the right program in the end will lead to greater success in your career.
Considering an MBA Degree | Finding the Right Program
MBA programs are not all equal. First there are various ways one can earn an MBA degree. For example, there are highly respected online MBA programs, which can be completed entirely over the web. There are hybrid programs where you can complete much of the coursework online but have on-campus and in-person requirements. Then there are traditional programs that are in-class and on-campus. Each type of MBA program has its advantages and not all universities offer all three or some combination of them. You have to decide which fits your style and where you feel you will have the most success.
Besides the different ways you can pursue an MBA, the right program is not always about how well they rank. Certainly ranking factors play a role in considering an MBA degree program at this school versus that school, however, the most important factor goes back to why you want an MBA in the first place. Program and school choice is going to vary depending on if you are seeking an MBA to become a better entrepreneur, changing career paths, or trying to build on your existing resume. Ask questions and do plenty of research around which program is going to be the right fit for your goals.
Finally, the right MBA program for you will be the one that builds the best professional network. Part of the cost associated with many MBA programs is the access they provide. The bills do not explicitly have a line item for access or networking but it is certainly something you are paying for. The better the network available to you in your field the more likely you will be able to find a job or advance your career.