Considering an MBA? Here are the top five things you need to know before you make your decision.
So, you’ve just graduated with your bachelor’s degree, or you’ve been in the working world for a few years (or decades) and your climb on the corporate ladder is slowing. Like many people, you’re looking for the next step. For many people, an MBA seems to be the natural choice – it offers the promise of better positions, higher pay, and an overall more successful career. But is it right for you? Before you jump into a program, there are five things you need to know about getting a Master’s of Business Administration:
1. It’s better to have some work experience first – For many fields, undergrads jump right from graduation into their master’s program, and then on to a Ph.D. (if they’re going that far). With an MBA, it’s different. Most reputable schools want you to have real-world work experience – and, no, bussing tables while in college doesn’t count. Experience isn’t necessarily required, but it is a factor that receives serious consideration. Plus, many people find that they get more out of the courses when they can relate it back to things in their own career.
2. It’s flexible – Because many of the people who are in the program are currently still working a full time job, it’s designed to fit a busy schedule. You can go full time if you have the ability, but many choose the part-time route and go to evening or Saturday classes. You pick the class load, and if something comes up, you can even take a semester off.
3. It really does make a difference in your salary – According to the U.S. Census, as of March 2010, people with a bachelor’s degree make an average of $56,665 per year, while those with a master’s earn $73,738, a difference of $17,182. In addition, there are a growing number of jobs that require a higher degree, with some specifically looking for an MBA, so it may help you get hired.
4. Your company might cover the cost – Many businesses have educational programs in place that either partially or completely fund their employees’ continuing education. Each varies in the types of education they’ll pay for, the amount, and other details. Even if there isn’t an established program, it can’t hurt to ask your employer before you sign a check yourself.
5. It can help you get a promotion – Stranded on the corporate ladder? An MBA may be what you need to start climbing. Many positions in companies are reserved for those with higher degrees, and even for those that don’t, an MBA can set you apart from other contenders when you’re vying for the same promotion.
Obviously, these five points aren’t all you’ll need to consider. Your financial situation, industry, career goals, and personal life should all play a role in the final decision. An MBA isn’t for everyone, but for many professionals, it’s a critical component of bringing a career to the next level.
This post was written by Jon Payne, who is the President and Founder of Ephricon Web Marketing, an SEO agency and inbound marketing firm. Jon Payne holds an MBA from Loyola University Maryland, a leading part-time MBA program.