Who Should Get an MBA? | TopMBA.com

Who Should Get an MBA?

By QS Contributor

Updated December 3, 2019 Updated December 3, 2019


While the MBA is one of the most popular graduate degrees, it's not for everyone. Since an MBA requires a significant investment of your time and money, you need to be sure that an MBA is the right choice. An MBA may be right for you if you meet the following criteria:

You have clear post-MBA goals.

You need to go into business school knowing how you will use your degree after graduation. That means that you need to know what job functions and industries you want to work in, and how your degree will help you achieve your post MBA goals. Once you are in an MBA program, you will be too busy with coursework to focus on making career decisions. In addition, lack of focus will make it harder for your professors, and advisors to provide you with the help you need.
Lack of career direction or focus may also prevent you from getting into business school to begin with. Business school admissions officers look for candidates who have a clear idea of how an MBA will fit into their careers. That's why applicants are asked to state their career plans in your essay and during the job interview. While your plans do not have to be set in stone, you should at least have a few possible career goals and an idea of how an MBA would help you achieve them.

You have the right amount of work experience for MBA programs.

While there are a few schools that admit people with little or no career experience, most MBA students are in their late 20s or early 30s. Business schools are looking for candidates with real-world business experience, because they feel that this experience gives students a better idea of how the business world works.
Admissions officers evaluate candidates not just on how they fit, but also on what they can contribute to their MBA program. Most MBA coursework is highly interactive, and involves in-depth class discussions and team projects. The interactivity means that you learn from your peers as well as your professors. Your work experience will make you a better contributor to those interactions, because you'll have more knowledge and skills to share with your classmates.

You plan to use your MBA to change careers.

Business school is a chance to reinvent yourself, since you get to look at a wide range of business problems facing a variety of industries. An MBA degree also gives you the skills to perform several different job functions. Lastly, an MBAs attact employers from several different industries, regardless of what you were doing before you got your MBA.

You want to work in a leadership role.

While an MBA is not a requirement for business leadership roles, it can put you on the path toward a leadership-oriented career. Business school requires you to spend lots of time reading, talking, and thinking about different types of businesses. The knowledge you acquire from this process will help you make more informed business decisions. MBA curriculum usually emphasizes soft skills, and will help you manage people.

You work in an industry that requires an MBA for career advancement.

If you work in certain industries, such as banking and consulting, getting your MBA is an essential step for achieving career advancement. While an MBA may not be a requirement for those industries, you may have fewer options without it.

This article was originally published in December 2012 . It was last updated in December 2019

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