To avoid the big, scary working world, many people are considering going back to school and asking themselves – Is an MBA worth it?
Although education is a crucial part of personal and professional growth, sometimes a graduate program may not be the best path to take. The amount of time and money it demands is not always a good investment.
Hence, it is better to ask yourself questions regarding "Is an MBA worth it?" These questions will help you in preventing yourself from looking back at your decision and regretting it.
The financial cost isn’t the only factor that makes it necessary to ponder upon, but there are multiple other factors. These factors include a sudden change in lifestyle and managing time among many others.
So, there is no harm in taking some time out to weigh on each and every aspect of the decision. So, before you jump into a sea of applications, ask yourself these questions.
1. What are your reasons?
If you’re planning to become an occupational therapist or apply for an executive position at a leading company, then a Master’s degree might be the right path for you. Unless the position you want calls explicitly for a Master’s, you might be wasting your time.
Research shows that going back to school to stand out in a job interview hasn't proven to be effective. Nor has it been effective if you're doing it just to boost your resume. Think carefully about why you want to enroll in a graduate program before shelling out upwards of $30,000.
Avoid getting flown into spending so much because you heard a colleague mention it. Also, just because you thought of it during your high-school days. Assess your current situation and the scope of growth in your current job. Ask yourself whether or not you want to expand your horizons rather than sticking to your trade.
As already mentioned, researches have reiterated the wisdom that going back to business school to boost the resume hasn’t worked well in the past. Before going forward and inquiring about the course, ask yourself "Is an MBA worth it?".
2. How will you pay for it? Is an MBA worth it?
Speaking of money, you need to have a payment plan in place before taking classes. Find out if your current job offers tuition reimbursement or apply for scholarships through FAFSA. You may also want to look into online programs so that you can hold a day job while studying part-time.
Paying for a Master’s degree on top of your current student loans can be a real dozy if you’re not prepared.
Business school is expensive, and people surely know it before they decide to enroll themselves into it. Hence, before you’re set to spend two years back in school paying a six-figure fee, make sure that you have the payment plan figured out. How are you going to pay for it?
If you intend to manage somehow to pay the fee and go to great lengths to do it, well, you need to ask yourself the first question again, Is an MBA worth it; the effort, and the money?
Figuring out a way to pay for an MBA is interconnected with the first question. If you have a valid reason, finding ways to pay for it is worth the effort. But if you lack a solid reason, you are better off it.
3. Do you have the time?
Will you be working while taking night classes? Do you have a family to support? How does your husband or wife feel about this move? These are all crucial details to keep in mind when asking yourself “Is an MBA worth it?”
Graduate school is not easy, and you could be biting off more than you can chew, especially if you have other time-consuming responsibilities.
The availability of time is another obstacle for settled people who wish to go back to school for an MBA. Even if you are committed to the decision, it can derail other aspects of your life. Eventually, you will realize that it wasn’t a good decision.
So, the will and dedication aside, think whether or not you have the free time to go back to business school for a year or two. If you’re married, it becomes tough to come to terms with business school and your married life. Maintaining a proper balance between the two get tough.
4. Are there better alternatives?
With the online course market in a current boom, there are plenty of alternatives to graduate school. If a Master’s isn’t necessary for your next career move, sign up for some online classes on Coursera or Udemy to sharpen your skill set.
Coursera offers hundreds of classes taught by some of the top Ivy League professors from around the world. So you know that you’re getting the best information. These classes will teach you what you need to learn, and they cost thousands of dollars less than a traditional University.
So, as in any other decision related to courses and degrees, it is much better to explore all the possible options. Zero in on the pros and cons of each before you make your mind up of investing the money.
After all, Business school is going to be expensive, and you should try to find out alternative options unless it is necessary to go back to university.
5. How legit is the program?
If you’re going back to school for an MBA solely to boost your resume, make sure that the schools you’re applying to are accredited. If your choice of school suffers from a bad reputation, it could hinder your job search instead of helping it.
Do some serious research beforehand and make sure that your degree will lift you during the interview process. Like every other life commitment, you want to consider the pros and cons of a Master’s program.
Depending on your lifestyle, occupation, and interests, going back to school for an MBA can either lift you to the top 1% or have you declaring bankruptcy by the age of 30. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a fabulous degree but no job to show for it.
Instead of jumping into this considerable commitment, try working smarter, not harder. You could end up just where you need to be without a mountain of student debt.
6. Are You Truly Committed To Going Back To School?
It doesn’t matter how financially prepared you are for going back to school for an MBA if you’re not mentally prepared.
Are you truly prepared for studying again?
Before enrolling yourself in an expensive Business school, you need to ask yourself whether you’re dedicated to your decision. Another two years of life as a student can take a toll on you, especially when it has been years since you sat in a lecture.
So, being financially prepared is important. But, it is essential still to make sure you’re committed to the decision enough and have weighed on all the factors. Going back from job to school brings about changes in your lifestyle. So, it is important for you to think about these changes beforehand.
Many professionals decide in haste just because their friends suggested so only to regret it later. Make sure you don’t end up being one of them.
7. Think About It Yourself And Avoid Getting Persuaded
Once you’re done with all the prior thought and consideration, this is the final question you need to ask yourself. If you’re weighing on the option of going back to school and have a solid reason for it, is it the only way you can go?
Ask yourself whether it is your last resort, and there is absolutely no other option. This is important because the time, energy, and money you will invest in an MBA are going to be huge. Especially the time you will have to give it won’t come back to you and to begin with, you will struggle to cope up with the change in lifestyle.
Hence, it is much better to make sure that the reason you have for pursuing an MBA is indeed valid. And the answer to the question- "Is an MBA worth it?" isn’t manufactured by the prevailing point of view.
8. Is Your Post MBA Goals In Sync With Your Plan?
Assess the situation you are currently in your career and where can an MBA take you. Ask yourself, is an MBA worth it and is the only route to reaching where you want to be. In a nutshell, do your research and don’t fall for it quickly.
Take your time, the Business Schools and the money in your pocket aren’t going anywhere. What’s important is the thinking behind a decision and how will it affect your life. Hence, it is better to think deep and thorough to avoid making a blunder at a crucial juncture in your career.
Making a decision for an MBA can be challenging. Besides taking into consideration time and money, you have to check if in your professional area this is becoming a must-have.
Maybe the area does not require an MBA title, but it's a way to reach out to the best companies or even networking with people that most probably will be very successful if not already are.
Instead of asking others about their opinion about MBA courses and their impact on a resume, ask yourself, is an MBA worth it for you?
If your profession requires, you have the time, the motivation, and is not concerned about taking some time to pay back your student loan, then it should probably consider move on with it.