Is an MBA the right choice for me?
Further study can be an expensive and intimidating experience, but also has the potential to grow your professional career at an exponential rate.
A Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) can provide the skills and push you need to excel in your industry, advance your career, or increase your earning potential.
An MBA can be a significant investment, not only of money, but of your time and effort, and so it may be worth your time to fully explore what it would entail.
What is an MBA degree, exactly?
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree program that focuses on teaching students core elements of business administration, leadership, financial strategies, and investment management.
Typically a two-year-long program, the traditional model of an MBA degree follows a full-time schedule on campus. Many universities offer the same degree in an accelerated format that can either be completed online or in person over the span of 11-16 months.
How do you decide if an MBA is right for you?
An MBA can be more than just a graduate degree.
Used well, an MBA can be an opportunity to form a new professional network and watch an exciting world of career opportunities unfold before your eyes.
It’s also expensive.
With two years at a private business school potentially setting you back a whopping $100,000-200,000 in tuition and expenses, it’s probably worth considering whether an MBA is the best option for you and your goals.
4 reasons an MBA might be worth it
It might be worth considering an MBA if you want to:
- Gain credentials, expand your professional horizons, or open a route to a new profession.
- Expand upon existing education and expertise in your industry by exploring elements of business or finance.
- Hone and enhance your leadership skills to start your own business or gain a managerial position.
- Make a career change or progress in your existing career by attaining a competitive edge.
4 reasons an MBA might not be worth it
An MBA program may not be the best fit if you:
- Are seeking fame and popularity by learning about the investment and trading world.
- Are applying because you don’t know what to do next, or because a friend is applying
- Struggle to multitask or manage multiple areas of your life simultaneously, such as spending time with family, working, and education.
- Currently have a stable job and do not wish to give up the income flow from that source.
How expensive is an MBA?
While gaining an MBA may be worth the time and energy for many people, the financial costs of the program can be considerable.
It can be helpful to view your MBA the same way you would view any other investment.
An MBA degree will likely allow you to gain skills and knowledge, in turn expanding your career opportunities, earning potential, and chances of promotions. Education used wisely can be a sound investment.
An MBA from a business school in the US can cost anywhere from $15,000 – $81,000 for tuition alone per year. With such huge variation, it may be helpful to consider the quality of the education you will be receiving and to compare this against future projections of possible earnings and career advancement.
An MBA program typically requires you to leave any current full-time employment, unless you opt to study part-time, and so it’s probably wise to factor this into your decision, rather than counting on the support of your current earnings.
How hard is it to get into grad school for an MBA?
As with any tough and well-known academic program at some of the best schools in the world, to receive an acceptance letter, you will most likely need to prove yourself to the admissions team and show true potential as well as a prior history of excellence.
Do I have to have good grades to be admitted onto an MBA program?
It helps, but not necessarily.
While academic performance is a key part of an applicant’s assessment, this is not the only factor that is taken into account.
What else can I show on my application?
Relevant work experience, especially if you have been out of education for a period of time already, in addition to a strong work ethic and a passion for learning, are also important factors to demonstrate on your application.
Solid letters of recommendation, stellar admission essays, and a unique statement of purpose that clearly expresses the value you will bring to the school can all also stand you in good stead.
One of the most apparent traits business school admissions teams look for in their future students is the ability to be a team player and taking accountability with proven strength in communication.
Your essays and personal statement provide an opportunity to demonstrate clear communication skills, the ability to self-reflect and show off any bonus reading or know-how you might have gained along the way.
Proof of mathematical and analytical abilities also never go amiss, especially for admission into a sought-after graduate program.
Key signs an MBA is the right choice for you
- You have the time, patience, and energy to re-prioritize your life and current commitments.
- You want to grow as a leader. Teamwork, self-reflection, communication, and responsibility are all key skills that can be acquired throughout your MBA.
- You want to earn up to 80% more (of what you’re earning currently or would be offered without an MBA degree) – and you’re willing to work to get it.
- You want to utilize the skills and education provided by an MBA. Whether it’s to further your existing career, to embark on a new career, or start a new business or venture, you know you want to use your MBA in practice.
- You want to expand your network. An MBA can be an incredible way to create connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. A powerful alumni circle, conversations with likeminded people, and amazing professional opportunities are just some of the perks.
Key signs an MBA might not be the best choice for you
- You prefer to learn on the job. An MBA requires an intense period of study, and may not be the best choice if you prefer to learn on the job, or already have access to a company that allows you to do so.
- You are unwilling to change. An MBA may require you to address any existing biases that could cloud your decisions and economic growth.
- You don’t plan to use it. On the basis of cost, an MBA might not be the best choice if you don’t plan to work in or around businesses, management, or finance related fields.
- You want to explore other options. An MBA isn’t the only graduate degree available!
Alternatives to an MBA Degree
There are plenty of viable alternatives to an MBA degree.
If you’re interested in the areas mentioned earlier but aren’t sure you want to commit to an MBA, you might want to consider:
- A Master of Finance degree. This degree typically takes a year to complete while providing knowledge about trading, investments, and risks.
- The Chartered Financial Analyst program. This is a self-study program that offers intensive exposure to academic material as you train to become a Chartered Accountant.
- Introductory Courses. If you want to explore more before deciding, taking an introductory course in an area of finance or business that interests you could be a good option.
Are you ready to take the next step?
Here at Admissions Roadmap, we specialize in helping MBA applicants to achieve their dreams and enter their school of choice.
How do we know it works?
Ashwin, our founder, grew up horrible at math.
After increasing his GMAT score from 490 to 750 in just 3 months of self-study, Ashwin went on to graduate with an MBA from Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Now a McKinsey & Company alum, he guides students through the process of gaining a place at a top US business school.
For everything from MBA success stories to insight into why your first application was rejected, check out Admissions Roadmap today.