Does an MBA Really Help?

by Allison Landa

If you’re in the business field, you might be considering enrollment in an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) degree program in order to expand your job options, increase your responsibility and salary, change careers, or add a new credential to your resume.

Before beginning a school degree program or online program, however, you should feel confident that getting an MBA will help you achieve your goals. Here’s a few questions you should ask yourself before taking the leap:

Am I a potential MBA candidate?

The MBA is a flexible degree that can either expand your general knowledge in the business field or help you develop your understanding of a particular business topic. If you’re looking to become more marketable in the business field, or if you’re seeking to specialize in an area such as marketing or finance, an MBA can prove helpful. The degree can also be useful if you want to move into managerial work, develop a more extensive professional network, grow your start-up or small business, or get a business job internationally.

Also, those who already have job experience in their field may have better luck with admission into an MBA program, and could find the job market more fruitful and lucrative after graduation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an MBA?

First off, cost is a consideration whether you’re considering an online MBA program or a campus degree. The average price tag of an MBA is estimated at $30,000 — certainly a significant amount of cash. However, experts say that an MBA provides a yearly boost of between $10,000 and $30,000 over a bachelor’s degree, so it’s possible you could make up the cost of your graduate education with a year’s worth of work in the business field.

A good MBA degree program will teach you skills you can’t necessarily learn on the job, and will prepare you for doing business in a global economy. Keep in mind, however, that an MBA program will consume much of your time, energy, and attention, even as it adds to your roster of professional skills — and there’s no guarantee you’ll land that perfect job after graduation.

What does it take to get an MBA?

As already noted, job experience (and, in particular, in the business field) is an advantage when applying for MBA degree programs. Applicants who are fresh from undergraduate study are encouraged to gain practical knowledge of the field before applying for graduate study.

How can I get an MBA?

After you decide that an MBA program is the best path to advance your business career, the next step is to research programs and schools. You’ll have to choose amongst school degree programs that are both on-campus and online, as well as schools with and without accreditation.

As you’re researching, consider whether you prefer the community of an on-campus education or the flexibility of an online degree. You’ll also want to consider the MBA degree programs’ costs and reputations. It’s well worth speaking with current and former MBA students to get the lowdown on a program before making the decision to apply.

Allison Landa is a freelance writer and editor in Berkeley, Calif. She received her master’s degree in creative writing at St. Mary’s College of California.

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