Should You Get Your MBA? Points to ConsiderBy David Thompson, UniversityHerald Reporter
One of the big questions you may face as you head out into the business world after college is whether you should get your MBA and when. An MBA can be invaluable in some career trajectories while in others it can be somewhat useless or at least perhaps not worth the time and money spent on it relative to how you could have been developing your career in other ways. Consider the points below when you are weighing whether to go down this route.
Time Since Graduation
The first and easiest criteria to look at is how long it has been since you graduated and how long you have been in the workforce since then. Most MBA programs want someone who has worked for a while and who can bring that expertise into classes. There's a good chance you'll get rejected if you're fresh out of your undergraduate degree or that you won't get much out of the program if you head straight into it after four years working on your bachelor's. Some of the best career paths will lead you right to an MBA program so having worked first is highly valuable. Make sure you are in the right place in your career to make this move.
Many Routes to Knowledge
Even if you need more knowledge, is an MBA the way to go to get it? In some cases, you might want a different type of degree or certification, such as a CPA, or you might want to get your feet wet first in a seminar. In other situations, what you may need is the ability to think on your feet and find information yourself. Knowing how to find the tools you need to get you to the right solutions may be more useful in your position than understanding the theoretical underpinnings of certain business strategies. You might learn about strategies for something such as managing fleet costs in your MBA course, but you could also adopt a complete fleet management platform that helps you identify inefficiencies in how you operate. It's generally a good guideline to look for the simplest and most inexpensive approach first.
Your Funding Situation
Don't commit to a program you can't afford, and the average price of MBA programs can be expensive. To some extent, you get what you pay for, but the trick is to try to make someone else foot the bill. Look for any scholarships or grants you're eligible for. Your employer might pay for you to do the course part time. You could also pay for it out of loans and your own savings, but be sure that you expect to see a commensurate rise in salary.
What is your goal? What kind of educational background do the people in the position you're striving for have? If everyone who has held the CEO position at a company where you want to be CEO one day had an MBA, that might be a sign that you should head in that direction. However, if it's a rare qualification among the people you admire, it may not be the best use of your resources. Furthermore, it is mostly a generalist degree. In a field that needs very specialized knowledge, it may not be as useful as continuing to develop that knowledge.