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Should you pursue an MBA? If rising all the way to the top in the business world is your dream, it may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t be so sure that this is always the case. Plenty of people have become very successful in business without an MBA. It’s a big investment of time and money, and the circumstances may not be right for you to seek it right now. On the other hand, there are also fields in which you simply cannot advance to higher levels without it. The points below may help you decide whether an MBA is something you should do now, postpone or perhaps consider eschewing entirely.
Are you fresh out of college? In that case, the answer is almost unequivocally a no. MBA programs prefer candidates who already have some business experience, and programs that do not may not be reputable or well-regarded. On the other hand, if you have spent a few years working in the business world and you feel as though you’d like to pursue an MBA to take your career to the next level, your timing may be just right. If you are moving into the business world from another career field and wonder whether pursuing an MBA is the way to do it, it might help to research and talk to people in the sector to interests you to find out if your plan is a sound one.
You need to consider both your current financial situation and how you will pay for your MBA. Chances are you already have student loans from your undergraduate days, and it can feel daunting to add more loans on top of that. You might want to look into reducing the term of your undergraduate student loan payments by refinancing them. The student loan refinance rates could be significantly lower than what you are currently paying and it only takes a couple of minutes to find out what your options are. Your employer may contribute toward an MBA. Grants and scholarships are other ways to get money without having to go further into debt. However, if the degree is going to significantly boost your earning power, you can take on additional student loans with some confidence.
Only you can truly evaluate how well any given program suits your needs, but it is worth keeping in mind that many people report that one of the biggest benefits of an MBA is the connections to be made. This means that ideally, you would attend a well-regarded program full time, and if this is not possible, your program should at least offer some in-person interaction and opportunities for networking.
Be sure to do your research and find out how common MBAs are for your career path. In general, if you hope to move into managerial positions, it can be a benefit, and in some sectors, it could be a requirement. On the other hand, there are industries in which on-the-job experience is valued over additional schooling. The bottom line is that you should have as much clarity as possible about both what the program has to offer and its relevance to your career aims before taking the plunge.