If you have worked in business administration or management, it is likely that you are familiar with the MBA. This highly sought-after, well-respected business degree is increasingly sought-after by employers when hiring professionals. Typically, an MBA on your resume can be one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting further in your business career and being accepted for lucrative positions. An MBA on your resume can be one of the best ways to demonstrate to your potential employers that you have developed a solid understanding of the main pillars of business and have a diverse, desirable business skill-set.
However, you might be wondering if an MBA is actually worth getting.
With the workplace evolving and an increasing number of MBA alternatives now available, the MBA has some competition. While it’s hard to deny that getting this degree qualification can still seriously improve your career prospects or help you get into the career of your dreams, it is always worth spending some time weighing up the pros and cons to help you decide if such a big investment of your time and money into your education is going to be worthwhile. Whether or not you should get an MBA is a personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer – it all depends on you and your career goals. If you are currently considering getting an MBA and aren’t sure whether or not it is going to be the right choice for you, here are some of the main things to think about.
Your Career Goals
First of all, it’s important to consider what you want the MBA to help you achieve in terms of your career. Perhaps getting an MBA is a personal educational goal for you and you don’t have a set career goal in mind but would like to see how it helps your career in the future. Or perhaps you have a certain career in mind that you aspire to work within. If this is the case, then it is definitely worth weighing up your options to see if there are any MBA alternatives that might help you get there faster or cheaper. MBA programs can be very intensive and require a lot of effort and hard work. But they are not the only option that you have when it comes to getting into a certain career or achieving a business goal. For example, professional qualifications or building up your experience in a certain field may help you achieve the same career goals as you would expect to get with an MBA.
It’s worth speaking to your employer if you are considering getting an MBA to help you move up the ranks in the workplace. A conversation with your employer can be useful if you are planning to continue working full-time in your current place of work while you are studying for an online MBA, such as these online MBA programs from Saint Bonaventure University, for example. If one of the main reasons that you want to get an MBA is to get promoted at work, then it’s important to make sure that it’s actually going to help you achieve this. Your employer can help you get a clearer idea of what they expect from you to be eligible for the position you aspire to, and you might find that it’s not an MBA that they want. On the other hand, your employer might be looking to hire more MBA graduates and will encourage you to go forward with the course. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs or other forms of financial support, so this is another good reason to set up a meeting with them before you decide what to do with your education.
Your Personal Circumstances
Before you enrol in an MBA program, it’s important to take a close look at your personal circumstances and make sure that getting this degree is something that is going to be doable for you right now. You should keep a range of factors in mind such as your current work commitments, whether you’re in a good financial position to potentially take some time off work to dedicate to studies, or if you have the time to study alongside raising your family. The good news is that online MBA qualifications are now more widely available and more accessible to students, so it’s easier than you might think to find a program that will be flexible to fit around your commitments and make work for you, rather than attending a traditional MBA program that requires you to be available on specific days and times.
Getting an MBA is not cheap, so it’s important to carefully consider how you are going to fund the degree if this is the route that you want to take. If you already have student loans from previous degree programs that you are repaying, then you may want to avoid taking out more to get your MBA. However, with that being said, many people who get a student loan to fund their MBA find that it is a worthwhile investment that helps them repay all their student loans faster in the future due to the increase in income. But before you jump straight into applying for loans, it’s a good idea to consider any alternative financing options that might be available to you including help from family, employer tuition support programs, grants, scholarships, and more.
Choosing the Right MBA Concentration – What to Consider
Once you have decided that getting an MBA is the right choice for your personal and professional circumstances and the best way to move forwards towards meeting your career goals, one of the main things to consider is the MBA concentration that you want to study for. The traditional MBA does not have any specific concentration but rather focuses on the core pillars of business. On the other hand, there are other MBA study options that are designed to focus more on one area of business than others, such as marketing, finance, or management for example. If you have a specific career goal in mind, then an MBA concentration can help to prepare you more and make it easier for you to get there sooner in comparison to a general MBA. These are some of the main things to think about when choosing the right MBA concentration for you.
First and foremost, consider the career that you want to do before you decide on which MBA concentration is going to be the best choice. For example, if you want a career in the future as a marketing manager, a marketing MBA might be ideal. However, it’s worth looking even further into the type of marketing that you want to do to see if you can narrow your studies down even further and get into more in-depth learning. For example, you may want to consider a digital marketing MBA if this sounds like the type of marketing that you want to do in the future.
Your Work Interests
Perhaps you don’t have a specific goal in mind for your career or have some ideas but are hoping that getting your MBA is going to help you make a final decision. If this is the case, then choosing the right MBA concentration for you can be trickier. If you’re not sure exactly, then it can help to think about what you are most interested in when it comes to the workplace. Do you enjoy the roles that come with your current job, or would you be more interested in moving to a completely different department or industry?
What You Want to Avoid
Once you have a list of things that you enjoy doing at work and would like to see in your future career, it’s also wise to consider anything that you would rather not do at work. Making a list of the roles and responsibilities that are not your favorite can help you get a step further to determining which MBA concentration might be a good fit for you.
Should You Study Online or On-Campus?
Now that you know that an MBA is the next step in your career and have chosen the right MBA concentration for you, it’s time to determine whether you should study for your degree online or on-campus. Traditional, campus-based degree programs have many benefits including having access to your peers and professors in person along with campus facilities. But on the downside, most campus-based programs do not offer much flexibility, meaning that the majority of students have to face a large opportunity cost. This refers to the cost of reducing working hours or giving up working for the two-year duration of the program, which can make the entire cost of getting an MBA even more expensive. In comparison, online programs are more flexible, which can make it easier for students who want to continue working full-time for the duration of the program or need to work it around other commitments. Some of the other benefits of getting an online MBA qualification include:
Along with a lower opportunity cost to students, getting an online MBA can also help you save money in a range of other ways. When you study online, this allows you to study from home, which can help you save a lot in terms of expenses. For example, you won’t need to commute to and from classes, an expense that can add up more than you think over time. Along with this, there’s also the chance to save on expenses that might not be directly related to studying but you may incur at the same time, such as purchasing lunches while on campus or buying new clothes for attending classes.
Many students who decide to get an online MBA do so as it is, overall, a less stressful option for them. The ability to study online means that students can study at their own pace, in their own time, and at a time and place that suits them best. Online MBA programs can be completely flexible, allowing you to come up with your own study schedule based on what suits you alone.
Study From Home
The ability to study from home with an online MBA program allows students many benefits. Along with saving money and more flexibility, distance learning also allows students to choose from a wider range of school options. If you would not have been able to relocate to your dream college or university otherwise, online learning gives you the chance to take a program offered there even if you are physically quite some distance away.
Are There Any Downsides?
Just like anything, there are both pros and cons of studying for an online MBA. Despite all the benefits, some students might find that there are some disadvantages of studying for an online degree program. For some students, online learning might be difficult with less structure and social interaction compared to studying on-campus. Campus-based learning might be a better option for you if you prefer studying with others and like having set classes to attend. You may prefer a blended or hybrid program, which involves a combination of both online and campus-based classes to attend giving you the best of both worlds. Choosing an online program at a local campus may be worth considering as you may have access to campus facilities such as the library and study areas. The MBA is still one of the most sought-after and well-respected business degree programs to study. While there are more alternatives available these days, it is always worth weighing up all your options to determine if getting an MBA is the right choice for you. And with more and more online MBA programs now available with various concentrations to choose from, getting this qualification and using it to get where you want to be with your future career is easier than ever.