Are you considering getting your MBA? You’re probably like thousands of other adults on the fence about this decision. Most are considering whether or not they are ready, who will watch the kids, if they can afford it and, heck, if they really need the degree.
So we made it simple for you. We spoke to Online MBA professors and professionals who were once in your shoes to uncover the reasons why you should take this exciting next step in your career.
- Realistic Success Stories.
Brett Keyser was burnt out from the daily grind of the corporate world after working at Lehman Brothers in Hedge Fund Support for four years.
“I wanted to find my own niche . . . I had been thinking about getting my MBA for a while, but I wanted to keep working,” Keyser said.
He took the GMAT, applied to the University of Florida‘s working professional program at Hough Graduate School of Business, and was accepted. During the program, Keyser partnered with a high school friend and Realtor in town to gain experience in real estate. He completed his MBA and has been in the Real Estate industry ever since, building his own business within a business at Re/Max.
- Connect the Dots in Your Current Career Field.
The tools graduates learn during their time earning an MBA online offer a better understanding of specific fields like marketing, advertising, and finance.“Getting an MBA and working to build my Real Estate business have gone hand in hand,” Keyser said. “In many ways I’ve applied the concepts I’ve learned in the classroom to my business.”
Additionally, getting an MBA changed the way he thinks about his role as a leader. Once you have an MBA, you have proved to the working world that you can analyze and problem solve at a higher level.
- Clear Career Options.
The most obvious benefit to earning your online MBA is a more compelling set of career options than before starting the program, explained Dr. Robert T. Monroe, Director and Associate Teaching Professor of Online Hybrid MBA at Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University.
“Those improved career opportunities come from the analytic and leadership skills the student has gained in the programs, as well as the network of hard working friends and colleagues they’ve built along the way,” he said.
- Flexibility to Reach Your Goals.
Both the online MBA, and online-hybrid MBA— often with online lectures and on campus orientations/project presentations— provide flexibility in class scheduling.
- Availability of Top-Ranked Offerings.
In the past few years, top-ranked MBA programs in the United States, including Carnegie Mellon, University of North Carolina, and Indiana University, have introduced online, or online-hybrid MBA degrees. It’s an option for students nationwide— even worldwide—to get their degree from a top-20 ranked MBA program.
- Meet Your Career Goals.
You can seek programs that connect direcly to your career goals. Tepper School at Carnegie Mellon, for example, emphasizes rigorous data analysis, applications of information technology in business, and leadership development. Other schools may focus on case studies and strategic analysis, or dive into specializations such as accounting, finance, international business, or human resources.
“There is no ‘one right style’ of MBA program,” Dr. Monroe said. “What’s important is making sure that the style and approach of the school you select will help you achieve your career goals.”
- Employers will See Your Added Value.
Completing a rigorous, challenging, and highly-ranked MBA program will place you on a solid career trajectory, Dr. Monroe added. However, not all employers value all MBA degrees equally. If you are accepted to a top ranked program, strongly consider enrolling.
- Programs are Available to Fit Your Learning Style.
Learning, like teaching, is not a one-size-fits all standard. There are plenty of online MBA programs out there to find a perfect match for your needs and learning style. Look for a school that delivers the same curriculum, taught by the same professors, in both their online and on-site MBA programs.
“If a sense of community and face-to-face interaction is important to you, make sure that there are opportunities throughout the program to meet with your fellow students and professors face-to-face as well as online,” said Dr. Monroe. “If you want to be able to work closely with your professors, look for a program with a low student-to-faculty ratio and lots of live online class sessions.”
- Explore New Career Opportunities.
Moving up the corporate ladder may have been the reason you decided to pursue an MBA in the first place. But what if, after achieving that goal, you decide to change companies. When registering for an online program, look to see if the school offers career center resources, and if online students receive equal access.
Career counseling can boost your confidence and help you align your education and career goals with the next steps after graduation. Most centers offer connections with potential employers (often alumni), an excellent way to get your foot in the door. It never hurts to get a second pair of eyes on your resume and brush up on those interview skills.
“You will never regret getting your MBA, it can only help you,” said Keyser. “All of the people that I keep in contact with from my program have significantly advanced within their industries. Many received promotions right after they completed their degree.”
- Be Prepared for a Changing Economical Environment.
While the onset of recession from 2008 is nearly over, there’s no guarantee it won’t happen again. Earning an MBA can position you in a world that continues to see economic challenges. This designation is a great tool to have in your belt. It can set you up to handle your local climate and a global marketplace, too.
The intense curriculum of the MBA prepares you to be professional and adaptable to career shifts. .
- It Can Be Affordable.
You already know that education isn’t cheap. However, there’s a significant return on your investment as research shows having an MBA can greatly increase your annual salary. . Because programs are not as lengthy as bachelor’s degree programs, you can get in and out and on your way to recouping some of those expenses.MBA programs offer financial aid services to their students. Be sure to educate yourself on what scholarships and aid is out there for you. Once you’ve established how much it is going to cost you, work on your own household budget. There are so many options out there, don’t let finances stand in the way of your dreams of earning an MBA.
- Stick Out Among Your Peers.
“I believe that most employers want to know you are willing to go the extra step,” said Adam Stein, CCIM, broker and owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stein & Summers Real Estate. “Some MBA programs might be more respected than others but getting one is to be respected no matter where it is from.” Stein said that an MBA helps candidates stick out during the resume reviewing process.
- It’s Easy to Transition From Bachelor’s to Master’s.
Many colleges and universities partner with MBA programs, like The University of St. Mary’s. Those relationships make the transition from getting your bachelor’s degree to master’s degree seamless.
A chosen MBA program puts you on the fast track to career advancement. The courses will teach you a variety of general business knowledge as well as technical skills. For example, the curriculum for an MBA will include statistics, accounting and the specific understanding of how business organizations function, It takes what you’ve already learned, applied it and enhanced it.
- Earn More Money.
In a survey of more than 6,800 MBA graduates, the Graduate Management Admission Council found that 93 percent were employed in 2010. New graduates can expect to earn at least 50-percent more than their bachelor’s degree counterparts, according to Payscale.com. That salary is expected to triple in five years of earning an MBA.GMAC went on to state that 2010 graduates starting salary was an average of $78,820, a 5.1 percent increase from the previous year. But keep in mind that salaries vary based on industry, work experience and region.
- Learn More About an Industry You Are Obviously Passionate About.
They say knowledge is power. And having and MBA can put you in a secret club of sorts, getting you in front of those that respect the designation. Having an MBA shows a person’s dedication to improving themselves to a higher level, Stein said.
“It is both a financial and time commitment that proves someone has the guts and ability to complete a tough job,” he said. “Most employers want to know you are willing to go the extra step.”