Is an MBA Right For You?

Graduation is quickly approaching for many of us – much faster than we would like it to. For those of you who haven’t scored a job yet, graduate school is probably still in the mix. If you’re a business student, the odds are you’ve probably considered earning your MBA. However, before you proceed, here are some things you should consider:

Planning ahead is necessary
If you’re going to graduate school just to extend your collegiate lifestyle, think twice. Graduate school will not benefit you unless you know what you want to do next. Once you figure out what you really want to specialize in, go to school for that. It’s a lot better for you to take a short break after undergrad to pinpoint exactly what you want to do than to just jump right into something you’re not sure about. Pick which jobs you want first, research the qualifications for these jobs and then decide if you need to pursue an MBA.

An MBA does not make up for experience
No matter how many case studies you memorize, it’s just not going to do you any good until you can apply what you’ve learned. There’s no way that you can go through your undergraduate and graduate coursework without internships and think you’ll be able to waltz out and be successful. Your time outside of the classroom is just as valuable as it is within. It takes a lot of hard work plus your education to help you advance in your career.

This blogger quotes academia researcher Jeremy Pfeffer:

‘“What’s really missing in MBA programs is a sense of purpose,” says Pfeffer, citing the reasons people seek advanced degrees in law, medicine, or engineering. “With an MBA, it seems that the main motivation is the ability to max out your 401(k) contribution, and that’s just not good enough to make you a good manager.”’

Coughing up the money
Graduate school is expensive, there’s no way around that, but your extra schooling might not end up bringing back as high of a return as you expected – especially if you are too expensive to be hired for the jobs you are looking at. Also consider the possibility that your MBA may not bring in the salary increase you were expecting.

Still not sure if an MBA is for you? This blog lists who should and should not go after MBAs.

By Kara Apel, University of South Carolina

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