A master’s of business administration (MBA) is an advanced degree that allows students to deepen and refine their knowledge of business. Throughout a typical course of study, an MBA student focuses on crucial topics such as finance, communications, management, marketing and human resources. While MBA students graduate with a broad understanding of business administration some will opt to specialize and tailor their studies toward one industry in particular, for example – hospitality or health care.
Returning to a university to study for an MBA is a weighty decision and one that you should not make lightly. Given that you are likely already employed and may have other professional and personal commitments to balance, the move is perhaps even more consequential. When making the choice, questions will naturally arise: Can I afford the tuition? Can I succeed in my career while I study? Is there a notable return on investment? These are important concerns to consider.
The good news, however, is that MBA programs are typically built around professionals with busy and multifaceted lives. Online and part-time options, such as the MBA degree program at Villanova University, allow students to deepen their knowledge of the business world while maintaining their careers and balancing personal commitments.
There may never be one ‘right’ time to embark on an MBA program. The time is always now. Consider these seven reasons why you should take the next step in your career by earning an MBA:
1. Increased job opportunities
In the business world, the majority of entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited school – a master’s degree generally is not essential. However, because an MBA is optional, it will give you an edge over other candidates in the field, when looking for opportunities for advancement. After earning an MBA you will likely notice increased interest from employers and find that you are eligible for more advanced and higher-paid positions.
2. Enhanced leadership skills
An MBA can equip you for a leadership role within an organization in your field. As the Harvard Business Review pointed out, many leading MBA programs will place an emphasis on building strong interpersonal and leadership skills. Great MBA programs teach you how to become an effective manager. While you may already work in a management position, the ability to build on and refine your leadership skills in an academic setting, with peers looking to do the same, is a significant opportunity that you consider.
One factor that deters some professionals from returning to higher education is the cost. That is not surprising, given that at many private institutions, the cost of tuition can exceed $40,000 per year. However, as The Princeton Review noted, online courses can be cheaper. There are also opportunities to secure scholarships and financial aid, although this is generally more difficult at the advanced degree level. Many companies offer financial assistance to employees who want to earn an MBA. Also keep in mind that if you enroll in an online MBA program, you’ll save money on commuting costs. You’ll also likely have a steady income from your day job.
As far as finances are concerned, do not assume that an MBA is out of reach. Research your options thoroughly, and you will likely discover that an MBA is more financially viable than you originally thought.
4. A comprehensive education
For many, the MBA is a means to an end – it is a stepping stone to high-powered and lucrative career opportunities. Consequently, the educational rewards of the program can be overlooked. The educational benefits of the program should not be underestimated, however. As Forbes argued, as an MBA student you will learn from highly knowledgeable professors, many of whom could become lifelong mentors and friends. You will also enter graduate school with a strong sense of who you are and your career goals, only to discover that there is so much more to learn about the business world.
An MBA will open your eyes to new ideas, innovative strategies and will train you to think about complex business-related issues in a more nuanced way. An MBA may even make you realize that you are on a career trajectory that is not necessarily right for you. For example, you may embark on the program with past work experience in information technology, and find that a career in the media is actually your true calling. An MBA is all about education – you will learn more about business, more about management and administration and, perhaps most importantly, more about yourself.
5. Networking opportunities
In the same way that your professors will likely become valuable professional contacts, the same can be said of your peers. When you begin an MBA program you will interact with other students with similar professional goals to yourself. This presents a fantastic opportunity to make lifelong professional connections. Many business schools will also have established alumni networks, which is a useful resource for exploring new opportunities.
6. Technological insights
Leading MBA programs will stay abreast of and educate students on all the latest developments in the world of business technology, The Princeton Review reported. This is particularly true for MBA students taking classes online, as they are taught using new programs and platforms.
7. Character testimony
Working toward an MBA is no easy feat, especially if you have to balance a full-time career and personal obligations at the same time. The challenge, however, should be relished. Completing an MBA will demonstrate to employers and professional contacts that you are able to achieve a difficult goal. Earning an MBA demonstrates to others that you are serious about your career and willing to work additional hours to gain a qualification that puts you ahead.
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