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Why Get an MBA?

05.19.2023 • 10 min read

Nick Griffin

Subject Matter Expert

In this article learn reasons why to get an MBA and top reasons to enroll. Also go over a list of considerations before starting, as well as some key FAQs.

  1. Should You Get an MBA?

  2. 8 Reasons To Get an MBA

  3. Considerations Before Getting Your MBA

  4. FAQs About MBAs

What is 200 + 58?

That’s easy, right? 258.

But what about calculating a gross profit margin or bottom line? You’ll need numbers from revenue, expenses, etc.

But hold up.

What do some of these terms even mean?

Maybe you aren’t working directly with dollars but with a software product, a plumbing service, or (gasp)…team members.

Whatever your situation, you want to learn more about the ins and outs of business. You want to be successful. And for the love of it, not waste time.

But is learning on the job enough?

All the books, YouTube videos, Reels, and podcasts can feel like a tidal wave of information.

Would getting an MBA be the right solution?

In this article, we’ll go over what an MBA covers, some big reasons you should consider getting one, and some key facts.

Let’s get started.

Should You Get an MBA?

Many business executives around the world credit their MBA degrees with jump-starting their careers. This is especially true of CEOs in the US, where over 50% are MBA graduates.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program teaches students how to become leaders in the fast-paced business world and gives them the skills to start their own businesses.

What about the other half of US CEOs who don’t have an MBA?

Figuring out if you should get an MBA is a personal decision based on your needs.

Some important questions to consider:

  • Do you have the time to dedicate to a rigorous full-time graduate degree program?

  • How will you pay for your education?

  • Will your current employer support you in your studies?

  • What is your career path, and how will an MBA help you get there?

Each year, thousands of students enroll in MBA programs to develop new skills and get a leg up in the job market. No two of these students are the same. Each has ‌different personal situations and professional aspirations.

If getting an MBA is the right choice for you, look into which ‌program is the best fit for you.

One option is MBA programs from top schools, which come with a steep price tag and take around 2 years to complete.

Another option is online part-time MBA programs. They can be done from the comfort of your home and at your own pace while saving you thousands of dollars on tuition and fees. Researching different master’s degree programs is a smart second step in the consideration to move forward.

Top MBA programs give students access to outstanding professors and incorporate practical experience with skilled CEOs. This can lead to networking opportunities with impressive top companies—moving you quickly up the corporate ladder.

Adrianne Mayshar Poole was an executive for HubSpot who had helped the company grow astronomically and gained great on-the-job experience. Poole decided to enroll in Vanderbilt’s MBA program to “learn from the professors” and have “an elite group of executives in [her] peer group.”

On the other hand, going to a community college or public university can give you the skills you need at a reduced price tag. The choice is indeed personal, but take the time to truly consider why getting an MBA may be right for you.

8 Reasons To Get an MBA

1. Student Satisfaction

Knowing that professionals learn the crucial skills they need to enter into corporate leadership jobs puts significant value on an MBA. Not only do students report a high level of satisfaction with the content, but the degree also helps students land the job they want at a competitive salary.

Most students who graduate from MBA programs around the country report being very happy with their education. In a Training the Street survey, 42% of new graduates also report having a job offer with a starting salary of over $125,000 per year.

While these numbers are great for recruiters, they will vary depending on the program you enter and the career you pursue.

2. Networking

A bonus to entering into a Master of Business Administration program is the exposure you get to other industry professionals. Not only do MBA programs ‌partner with corporations as a part of their training, but other students in the program can also be a tremendous asset down the road.

Having continuous exposure to alumni and other students who can provide mentorship and guidance is huge! By building your professional network in school, you’ll have resources to help grow and manage your business career for the rest of your life.

Whether you’re considering entering into an MBA program after completing your undergrad or going back to school in your 30s, building a professional network with other current and future leaders will be beneficial.

3. Marketable Skills

To put it simply, having an MBA is better than not having one. The skills ‌you learn as an MBA student will set you apart from other future business leaders and ensure you are ready to perform.

Common skills ‌MBA students learn include:

  • Communicating ideas effectively with staff and stakeholders

  • Gathering and using data

  • Thinking in a strategic manner

  • Using new technology to analyze and report information

The Stanford Graduate School of Business offers students the chance to participate in the Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX). GMIX sends graduate students around the world to work on projects with local sponsors. Gaining this real-world international experience will help you develop the skills to shine in any future endeavors.

4. Self-Discovery

“One of the best things about an MBA is that you will be able to see your strengths very clearly and quickly because you’re thrown into a pool of very talented people. Once you see it, you no longer doubt yourself,” says Claire Siyan Li, a graduate of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Deciding to earn your MBA is an investment in yourself. By setting aside time to focus on what you want to do, you will feel a greater sense of purpose in both your work and your life. In a 2017 study, Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan found that learning something new reduced participants’ work stress more than practicing meditation.

5. Return on Investment

When considering the cost of an MBA program, consider the benefits of an MBA—a good job with a higher salary. This comparison is your return on investment.

According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of an MBA program in the US is $66,300 in total. This is a high number, but you need to know what you get for that cost. If the average graduating student from your program of choice makes $125,000 per year, it may ‌be worth it.

Look into the programs you’re interested in and do some simple math. This will let you know how long it will take for your degree to pay off. Giving you an actual number to work with and help drive your decision.

6. Resume Building

Being able to put the skills and experience you gain from an MBA on a resume is a clear benefit of going back to school. Companies want to hire executives that have the knowledge an MBA program provides.

A 2020 report from the Graduate Management Admission Council found that 89% of companies planned to hire MBA graduates in 2021. Proving that graduating from an MBA degree program sets your resume apart from the stack giving you more career opportunities.

7. Entrepreneurship

In 2022, 19% of the graduates at Stanford Graduate School of Business actually started their own businesses. The idea of becoming an entrepreneur is within reach with the skills an MBA program teaches.

MBA program graduates:

  • Gain practical experience through internships

  • Learn the traps to avoid in starting a new business

  • Make connections with future business partners

  • Practice negotiating with investors and suppliers

  • Work through future business ideas and proposals

Beyond learning the nuances of entrepreneurship as a part of your MBA program, many schools also offer a special emphasis on it. Making the idea of setting your own schedule and pursuing your passions within reach.

8. Unlimited possibilities

It's clear by this point that having an MBA opens doors. These doors can lead to career advancement and job opportunities that will increase both job satisfaction and overall well-being.

MBA graduates go on to work in nearly every industry across the board.

According to U.S. News & World Report, MBA graduates earn an average of 6 figures in several industries, including:

  • Financial Services

  • Technology

  • Retail

  • Real Estate

  • Healthcare

  • Manufacturing

By choosing not to pursue your degree, these opportunities are much fewer in number and frequency. Of course, working hard has a lot of value, but an MBA will give you nearly unlimited employment possibilities.

Considerations Before Getting Your MBA

Before jumping on board to get your advanced degree, there are a few things to think about. Since getting an MBA is personal, nobody else can tell you exactly what you should do. So ask yourself—Is getting an MBA the right thing for me?

Take the following into consideration before deciding on an MBA:

Personal and Career Goals

Think about what you want out of your life. Professionally, this means “thinking about where you might want to be five, 10, or 15 years from now and whether an MBA will help you reach those goals,” says Vai Scheirholtz, Director of Marketing for MBA Admissions at Harvard.

Personally, Scheirholtz recommends “people start by asking themselves: Does business school make sense from a family, financial and career perspective?”

Get out a pen and paper and write down some goals for both your professional life and your personal life. Then think about how getting an MBA will impact those goals. It may help to prioritize them as well to provide greater clarity.

Time Commitment

Getting an MBA is a big time commitment. Consider where the time to pursue your degree will come from. Work to maintain a healthy work-life-school balance while in school. It's just as important to take care of your personal needs while in school as it is out of it.

Cost vs. Return

Since some top-ranking MBA programs can cost as much as $200,000, think about how you will pay for it. By creating a budget right now, you’ll know how much money you have to save and put toward school.

Of course, you can look at savings plans. You can also take out student loans by filling out the FAFSA to help pay for school, but this may not be enough money. Get creative and look for scholarships and grants that could help. Find out if your employer is willing to invest in your education.

Compare what you will get out of your investment in an MBA to what it costs and know for sure it's worth it.

GMAT Score

Most business schools will require you to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) before filling out your MBA application. This test helps schools compare applicants for admission into their programs.

While more and more schools each year are removing the GMAT requirement, it's still the standard. Find out if the schools you’re interested in require it.

If so, you need to study for the test and take it to know if your score will get you in. This is best done before making plans to start school. Get studying and take the test so you know your options.

FAQs About MBAs

How much does an MBA cost?

An MBA can cost anywhere between $10,000-$200,000,depending on the program location and other factors such as school fees, room and board, and expenses. Considering financial aid, like scholarships and grants, can help offset the costs of an MBA.

Figure out how much you can spend on an MBA by making a budget and looking into multiple programs. This can help you figure out which program fits your needs.

When should you get your MBA?

Knowing when to get an MBA is a personal decision that considers your life circumstances. The average Wharton MBA student has around 5 years of work experience before starting their program.

By having a few years of experience under your belt you have a better sense of the direction you want to go with your MBA. And you can apply what you’re learning to real-world situations you may have encountered.

What can you get your MBA in?

MBAs offer many areas to specialize in. Harvard Business School, for example, has 10 specializations you can register for.

The 6 most common MBA concentrations, according to Learn.org, are:

  • Accounting

  • Finance

  • Human Resource Management

  • Marketing

  • Management Information Systems

  • Entrepreneurship

Executive MBA programs are also offered to current corporate executives and senior management already in the workforce. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers an Executive MBA program specifically for working full-time students.

The Wharton School of Business EMBA offers more elective choices than MBA students, and international experience is required.

How does an MBA help your career?

An MBA gives you the skills and confidence to become an industry leader. By taking 2 years to focus on an MBA, you will have an in-depth understanding of the nuances of business leadership.

An MBA gives you:

  • Practice managing specific projects

  • Experience in high-level consulting

  • Exposure to working with a team of leaders

  • One-on-one career preparation

  • Practice navigating a variety of scenarios

  • The confidence and ability to move forward

Mark Giragosian, a graduate of Harvard Business School, found “the routine and repetition of the case method helped [him] condition [his] mind” for working in business leadership.

By choosing to get an MBA, you will be setting yourself apart from the competition for leadership positions in an array of businesses. An MBA gives you the skills and confidence to be an effective leader in nearly any industry you may work in, which increases your earning potential.

How do I get started?

If you don’t yet have a degree and want to get started on the path toward business administration, you have some options.

Golden Gate University (GGU) offers an Associate of Arts in Business Administration through the Degrees+ program. You can earn this associate degree fully online through Outlier.org’s engaging digital platform.

In just 19 months, you can graduate with your associate degree and a job-ready certificate from a top company like Google or Salesforce for only $149 per credit. The credits earned through GGU are transferable and accredited, meaning you can take them to another institution to complete your bachelor’s degree if you choose.

By taking courses, you can see if a business degree is right for you. Upon earning your Associate of Arts in Business Administration, you will have the skills to enter the workforce or continue with your education and get an MBA.

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