If your career is in business administration or business management, you might already be familiar with the MBA degree. This qualification is highly sought-after and very well-respected by employers in the business world. Getting an MBA has long been one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd for professionals who want to get further in their careers or start their own business in the future. Adding an MBA to your resume is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate to your future potential employers that you are an individual with a strong understanding and knowledge of the main business pillars. Along with this, employers are also aware that MBA graduates tend to have a very diverse and highly desirable business skill-set.
Despite all the benefits of the MBA, however, you may be wondering if this is a qualification that is worth getting for you. As the workplace evolves, there are now more MBA alternatives available, including professional certifications that may not take as long or cost as much. While there’s no denying that getting an MBA can be an ideal way to stand out from the candidate pool and help you get into the career of your dreams in the future, it is worth taking the time to make sure that you have fully weighed up the pros and cons to make sure that this degree program is one that’s worth your investment. Whether or not an MBA is the right choice for you is a personal decision, and there is no right or wrong answer – it depends on what you want to get out of it in terms of your career.
Your Career Goals
The first thing to consider when deciding whether or not to get an MBA is your career goals. It’s crucial to think about what getting an MBA is going to help you achieve when it comes to your work. Maybe it’s something that you have always wanted to do, and don’t have a specific career goal in mind but know that you would be happy getting into one of the various roles that an MBA can lead to. Or, perhaps you have always been interested in working in business management and leadership roles and know that an MBA might be one of the best ways to help you get there. No matter your situation, before deciding on an MBA program it might be worth taking some time to weigh up the pros and cons and see if there are any alternative options that might be a better fit for you. Getting an MBA can be very intense and lots of hard work – but it’s not the only option available when it comes to meeting your career goals. If you feel that an MBA might be too much for you to take on right now, consider if there are alternative routes that may be more suitable.
With student debt and tuition fees on the rise, getting an MBA does not come cheap, especially if you have already been to college to study business or a related subject at the undergraduate level, and are still repaying student loans from this. Before you enroll in an MBA program, it is crucial that you carefully consider the cost and come up with a plan for how you are going to fund the degree. You may want to avoid getting into more student debt if you are already repaying student loans from the past. However, that being said, if you do not have any other options, then you may be glad to hear that many people who do borrow further student loans to pay for an MBA say that it is a worthwhile investment as it allows them to improve their income significantly. However, consider as many alternative funding options as are available including employer tuition support, scholarships and grants, or support from family.
Do You Have the Time?
Before enrolling in an MBA degree program, it’s important to be honest with yourself about how much time you have and if your personal circumstances right now are ideal for studying for this degree program. It’s important to bear in mind that getting an MBA is a lot of work, and you will be studying for a very intense program – which may not be the most ideal option for you if you are already dealing with lots of commitments or work very long hours. Consider your current work commitments and think about whether you are going to be in a good position financially to take time off to focus on studying for your MBA if needed.
Speak to Your Employer
It’s definitely worth taking the time to have a conversation with your employer about your plans to study for an MBA. If you are hoping to gain a promotion at your current workplace from your MBA, then your employer can help point you in the right direction and provide you with more information about what they are looking for and what you can do to improve your chances. If you are planning to study online and want to continue working full-time while getting your MBA, then it’s definitely worth a chat with your employer. Once they are aware of your situation, they may be able to offer different types of support including flexitime or reduced hours to make it easier for you to find the time to study. Finally, if your MBA qualification is likely to benefit your employer as well as yourself, then they might even be willing to pay for it. Many employers know that investing in their employees can be very beneficial and are happy to invest in their education because of this.
How to Study
Another major consideration that you will need to make when choosing the right MBA program for you is how you are going to study. Today, online learning has made the MBA more accessible to many people, with online MBA program options offering a greater level of flexibility and the opportunity to save money on the various costs of attending college. Alternatively, you can get your MBA on-campus in a traditional manner if you are able to take time off work for the 1-2 years that you will be spending getting this degree. Since traditional programs require you to be on campus for lessons and lectures on certain days and times, along with being very intense, they may not be the most ideal option for anybody who needs to continue working. While the online MBA programs are still intense, they may be a better choice if you need to fit it around other commitments since you will have the chance to study from home and choose times to study that suit you best. Some of the main benefits of getting your MBA online include:
1 – Less Stress
Lower stress levels are one of the main reasons why you might want to get your MBA online instead of on-campus. While there are certainly lots of benefits to studying on-campus, at this point in your career you might find that it is not a feasible option for you. Many MBA students are full-time working adults who have expenses to pay for, and unless you are in a financial position to quit your job or take one to two years out of work to focus on studying, it’s definitely going to be stressful to try and juggle work with your MBA and everything else. Opting for an online program puts you in control giving you the chance to study at times that suit you best and get your degree from the comfort of your own home.
2 – Save Money
Although there is not a lot, if any difference between tuition fees for online and on-campus programs, you can still save a decent amount of money when you decide to study online for your MBA. Getting your MBA online allows you to study from home meaning that you can avoid all the extra expenses that come with being a college student including commuting costs or buying supplies, as resources are provided online.
3 – More Networking Opportunities
At first glance, it might seem that getting your MBA online will limit your networking opportunities – however, the opposite is often true. Online programs do not have any location limits, and as a result, attract students from all over the country giving you the chance to network and build relationships with people who you may have never crossed paths with otherwise. And, as long as you choose to study at a college that is experienced with online learning, you will usually find lots of different opportunities to network including webinars, video conferences, group chats, social media, forums, and more.
Downsides to Getting Your MBA Online
Just like anything, there are also some cons to take with the pros of getting an online MBA. It’s worth bearing in mind that for some students, online learning is not always easy, especially if you tend to learn better in a classroom environment. You will need to be prepared to deal with distractions when studying at home and be able to motivate yourself to study when you are home alone. If you prefer classroom study or want to be able to meet your peers in person, you might want to consider a hybrid or blended MBA degree program that offers both online and classroom learning and allows you to choose based on your needs at the time. However, the downside to this is that there’s a smaller pool of colleges to choose from since you will need to choose a local option in order to get to classes.
How to Choose the Right MBA Concentration
There is the option to go for the traditional MBA program or you may be interested in getting a specific MBA concentration that suits your future career goals or your past work experience. MBA concentrations are available in a wide range of different topics including most aspects of business such as marketing, finance, and more. There are also new concentrations being introduced all the time, such as environmental business, which is becoming more and more important as companies strive to be kinder to the planet and need professionals on hand to help them achieve this. Before choosing the right MBA concentration for you, it is worth considering the following:
1 – Career Goals
What you want to do with your future career may have a direct impact on the MBA concentration that you choose, so it makes sense that this is the first thing that you consider. For example, you may be interested in an MBA in leadership and entrepreneurship if you want to start your own business in the future rather than work for an employer. On the other hand, if you are interested in a career in supply chain logistics and management, an MBA in supply chain management can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to get there. When you have a specific career goal in mind, it makes sense to choose an MBA concentration that correlates with this since there will be a stronger focus on the area of business that you are interested in working in.
2 – Your Interests
If you don’t have a specific career goal in mind or are open to several opportunities, then you may want to choose an MBA concentration based on what you are most interested in. it is worth taking the time to think about your career so far and consider what you have enjoyed the most. You can then use this information to shape your decision regarding which MBA degree program to get, making sure that you choose to study a subject that is going to genuinely interest and excite you. For many, this is the most important aspect of choosing the right MBA degree since it means that they are not going to get tired of studying, even when the program gets very intense.
Getting an MBA is still one of the best ways to boost your business career, but it’s not the only option. Before you decide if it is the right one for you, keep all these factors in mind.