Earning a masters in business administration (MBA) helps professionals improve their career opportunities, helps them get into higher salary brackets, and helps increase the chances of getting promoted. It is important to acknowledge that the world is changing, with a lot of businesses looking for employees with proven skills rather than a university degree. In these cases, one may wonder why they should pursue an MBA and whether it would be worth it. Below, we will focus on what an MBA really is, what benefits it affords those who earn it, and whether getting it is a great option in 2021.
Understanding The MBA
An MBA is completely different from many other business-related master’s degrees because it covers a broader array of topics. Depending on the university you enroll in, these can include accounting economics, statistics, management, communications, entrepreneurship, and many others. An MBA also prepares graduates for managerial positions as well as what it takes to start successful startups.
With a clear understanding of what an MBA entails, we are going to look at some of the things you need to consider to see if it is worth it for you, as getting one is a highly personal decision.
Opening Unexpected Doors
Regardless of the industry you work in, an MBA arms you with the skills you need to become a leader in the organizations you work for. It helps graduates understand how systems and businesses work so they can place themselves in a better position to help the organizations they work for succeed.
An MBA is also great for career advancers who are looking for a strong business foundation to help with a major career change or promotion. Additionally, the mindset that those with such a business foundation have allows them to be open to new opportunities and to take the initiative to take advantage of these opportunities when they arise.
Lastly, employers love candidates who take the initiative to try to advance their careers. Earning an MBA signals that a candidate takes initiative and is ready for the next phase of their career.
Becoming a Thought Leader
Many MBAs are also geared towards creating the next crop of business and thought leaders. These are individuals with specialized skills who are recognized as the go-to people in a specific area of specialization. Thought leaders are drivers of success for the organizations they work for, have a drive for success in everything they get involved in, and have a desire for improvement throughout their careers. Becoming a thought leader requires that you have access to thought leaders who can challenge you as well as picking the right MBA program.
To find out other ways that an MBA prepares you for this role, you can read this guide from Suffolk University on how Suffolk’s Online MBA prepares future thought leaders. It goes into more depth about the role of a thought leader and how enrolling in the right MBA program helps you become one.
Degrees, especially advanced degrees, are becoming very expensive. So, when deciding whether an MBA is worth pursuing, it is important to consider the investment you put in as well as the return you get out of it.
The expected salary for an MBA graduate is $107,000, with those graduating from top schools earning about $175,000. This greater earning potential not only offsets the initial degree investment, but it also grows as you advance your career. The extra money made over the approximate 20-25 years that you will be an MBA holder will make a massive difference in your life, even after considering paying off a student loan.
Removing Barriers to Entry
An MBA is a requirement in certain industries such as finance and consulting, especially in higher positions. This also applies to those who are eying higher positions in many other industries. Additionally, many companies have a policy of only hiring MBA holders in some entry managerial positions.
Companies such as Apple and Deloitte hire graduates with an MBA as management trainees within three months of graduating. These trainees then move up the managerial ladder very quickly as they already have the knowledge and skills and only need to learn how the businesses that have hired them work.
An MBA removes the barrier to entry into the corporate world, especially if you are focused on working for one of the top businesses in the world that hire MBA graduates right after they complete their degrees.
There is Great Demand for MBA’s
In addition to the top companies discussed above, many other businesses are also looking to hire MBAs. This is especially true when you consider that 87% of companies in the Asia Pacific are looking to hire MBA graduates in the next year or so according to a hiring trends and projection report by GMAC. Even with the demand for MBA graduates being so high, it is important to remember that larger businesses, especially those that do business across continents, are more likely to hire MBA graduates than smaller businesses that might see the benefits of doing so.
Opportunities for Career Transformation
Another reason why pursuing an MBA is still worth it is that it allows you to transform your career. If you already have a business degree and are working in sales, for example, an MBA would allow you to get into international business. You can also take additional courses like marketing analytics to give yourself a better chance of landing a career you may want or to change your career’s trajectory.
The good news is that there are a lot of universities and colleges offering MBAs with specific focuses and specialization. Whether you want to be a thought leader, a business developer, or a business transformation professional, there is an MBA for you. You just have to find it.
Becoming a Go-to Problem Solver
When you dig into it, businesses are looking for people who can provide solutions to complex problems within specific areas. The specialization offered by some MBA programs available can help you become a go-to problem solver in a specific area.
Although many MBA programs will teach specific subjects including marketing, accounting, leadership, finance, and others. They will often ask students to pick an area of specialization to focus on.
Joining a Global Network and Networking Opportunities
Networking is critical in the corporate world. By enrolling in the right MBA program, you can meet and interact with leaders from the corporate world and elsewhere. Interacting with these leaders also brings in a component of mentorship and challenge for those who would like to become business leaders themselves.
Many universities also offer their MBA students the opportunity to interact with business leaders in their immediate area. This allows students to create a portfolio of skills and experiences that give them a great advantage in the business world.
Being an alumnus of a respected business school also affords you lots of advantages. You get to join a global alumni network that gives you access to opportunities, resources about jobs, and access to global corporate events. The alumni network also helps graduates create relationships and friendships that last a lifetime and that can be instrumental in their careers’ success.
Pursuing an Online MBA
Another reason why an MBA is still worth it is because you now have the flexibility to earn one online. There are part-time MBA programs from reputable universities that can be completed online. Some universities also allow you to join accelerated programs. These programs allow you to complete your degree in 16-24 months.
Completing your MBA online comes with several advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that you can still work while you pursue your degree. This way, you do not have to lose the position you already have and your manager gets to see that you are taking initiative. Pursuing an online MBA also saves you a lot of time and money as you do not have to commute or make boarding arrangements.
The main disadvantage of going this route is that it might take a lot more out of you than you realize. An MBA is a very rigorous degree and it needs your full concentration. By being so involved, pursuing one might mean that you have to give up some parts of your normal life to make time for the degree.
The pros do truly outweigh the cons here and make pursuing an online MBA worth it.
Some Things To Think About
While there are so many benefits to pursuing an MBA, and so many reasons why it is still worth it, there are still a few things you need to consider. The first one is the cost. According to recent data, the average cost of an MBA degree in the United States is about $145,000 for a complete two-year program, which is the most common program.
While this cost might be prohibitive to some, there are options like taking on student loans, working while studying so you can use your salary to pay off the fees, employer remuneration, and staggering the course over a long period for universities that allow this.
Also, remember that completing the MBA will lead to a higher salary for the rest of your career, so it is always best to think about this as a long-term investment into yourself.
The other thing to think about is time commitment. As mentioned, MBA programs usually take two years to complete so you may need to take this time off if you enroll in a full-time program. The good news is that many universities now offer online MBA programs that you can complete as you work. There are also accelerated programs that allow you to complete the program much faster.
These online and accelerated programs require a lot of discipline, diligence, and commitment so you have to plan everything accordingly.
Lastly, also consider the application process when factoring in the time it would take to complete the program. Many universities require that you have letters of recommendation, great GMAT scores, and more. It may take some time to gather everything needed to enroll or to take the required standardized tests, and this is why it is so important to factor all this in.
Deciding If an MBA Is Worth it for You
When deciding whether an MBA is right for you, you need to be honest about why you want to pursue the MBA. An MBA is great for your career and future earning potential, but it might require huge time and monetary commitments. It is therefore important that pursuing an MBA aligns with your career goals and that you are sure this is what you want.
Second, consider the universities you might be interested in and the specializations they offer. Different schools and specializations lead to different career and earning outcomes so you must be careful when choosing the university and your specialization. If you cannot find the right combination of both, it is always a good idea to pick a great university that offers a general MBA course. You can always take a certification or two for the specializations you are interested in once you complete the degree.
Lastly, think about your earning potential if that is important to you. Student debt can be offset by a larger salary and your life and retirement can be very different if you earn a higher salary for 20-25 years. Because pursuing an MBA is such an involved and expensive affair, it is always a good idea to think about the outcome when deciding if pursuing an MBA is right for you.
The decision to enroll in an MBA program is personal, and it requires careful evaluation to see if this is the right path for you. If you want to work in business-related fields, then an MBA can give your career the boost it needs. It is also a great way to aid the transition between careers or to complete a career journey for those who have already risen to a managerial position.