Whether you’ve already completed some graduate school or you’re just thinking about taking the leap into graduate education, it can be tough to figure out what path makes the most sense for your life and career goals. While earning an MBA can be a worthwhile experience for many people, it can also be a costly career move in the wrong direction if the degree is not aligned with your long-term goals. Here, executive director Michael Cully explains how to decide whether moving forward with earning your MBA is the right fit for you.
Consider the Cost
Getting an MBA isn’t cheap, but it can be well worth it in the long run. If you need an MBA to move forward in your career field, consider whether the cost (over $100,000 at top business schools) is worth the payoff. Michael Cully recommends talking to people who are currently in your desired position to ask if they feel an MBA was necessary for their success. If they took an alternative path to move forward in their career, you may want to consider following in their footsteps.
If you decide to go with a full-time program, remember, you’re not just considering the expense of tuition itself. You’ll also need to factor in living expenses while you’re not receiving a paycheck. If you haven’t saved up to support yourself while you attend school, you may need to take out additional loans or work a part-time job in order to manage your expenses as you’re earning your degree.
Decide Whether You Have the Time
Earning an MBA can be especially taxing on our schedule if you want to work while also pursuing your education. Many business schools offer part-time programs that allow professionals to continue their careers while also earning their MBA, but these programs still take a significant time commitment. Talk with your potential school about the average number of weeks you’ll need to invest in order to complete your program. You may also want to talk with your employer about whether you can begin a flexible work schedule to accommodate your classwork, according to Michael Cully.
Seriously Consider Whether Going to School Online Makes Sense
Networking is a large part of business school, and while going to school online can be convenient, it may not be enough to get you noticed by the people who matter, says Michael Cully. If you’re already on a career trajectory at a company and getting an MBA is the next step in moving up, getting your MBA online makes sense. If you’re working to expand your network and develop connections, it may make more sense for you to attend a traditional, in-person business school.