What To Know When Considering Pursuing an MBA
In 2016, the Chicago Tribune reported that applications for part-time and full-time MBA programs dropped at more than half of US business schools. In recent years, the rhetoric seems to be about the MBAs demise as a “hollow” and money-sucking degree. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone.
NJ Goldston, a contributor at Forbes, recently reported on what a few factors prospective applicants should consider when deciding whether or not to pursue an MBA.
Know Your Industry
For those interested in pursuing fields like banking, investment banking, consulting, or finance, more often than not, the MBA is a necessary requirement – especially if you seek higher pay.
Last year, we found that consultants saw the highest salary bump among MBAs reportedly earning $55,000 more a year in salary compared to their MBA-less counterparts.
At firms, like McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, and Deloitte, an MBA is a requirement to reach higher pay levels.
Know Your Goals
To gain higher pay, you’ll need the skillsets that your peers lack. For entrepreneurs, lacking the right skills can be a red light when it comes to pitching your idea and raising capital from investors, Forbes reports.
Here are the five most important skills that business employers seek, according to Financial Times.
1.) Ability to work with a wide variety of people
2.) Time management and the ability to prioritize
3.) Understanding digital impact on businesses
4.) Ability to build, sustain, and expand network of people
5.) Ability to solve complex problems
Know Your Peers
An MBA is a gateway to learning the in-demand skills employers seek. That’s only part of the equation. In business it’s who you know that’s just as important as what you know.
“I found that, especially when I would talk to a USC alum versus someone outside the Trojan family, there was extra responsiveness and longer conversations,” Jayson Gasper, an M&A manager at Deloitte Consulting and 2013 USC Marshall alum, tells P&Q. “I sensed a difference in the amount of thoughtfulness and connection that they strove to make. From a networking perspective, I saw a big help from alumni in a number of companies in a number of roles.”
According to Jonathan Masland, executive director for career development at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, the Tuck alumni network is beneficial to students seeking jobs or internships.
“As we get into the year, we’ll get fairly detailed profiles from students for their summer internship or full-time job,” Masland tells P&Q. “We’ll group them. Let’s say you want to work on the West Coast in early stage tech. We’ll share those things with alums who work in that precise area. We’ll ask the alums to see what they can do to help the student. We connect with 2,000-3000 alumni across a whole breadth of subsectors based on student interests.”
Know Your Finances
In an effort to reach a wider student demographic, a number of b-schools now offer more options in part-time MBA programs or online programs. These expedited programs can substantially lower the cost out of pocket for students
Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that top business schools are subsidizing MBA costs by offering millions in scholarships and financial aid to attract young professionals.
“There’s been a real focus on eliminating financial considerations as a barrier for enrollment in recent years,” Luke Peña, director of admissions and financial aid at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, tells The Wall Street Journal.
Sue Oldham, executive director of recruiting and admissions at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, tells The Wall Street Journal that 96 students of this year’s class of 120 receive merit-based scholarships. On average, she says, students can expect to save roughly 68% of the program’s full cost of $58,000 a year.
“If you’re offering $500 in scholarships when tuition is $120,000 for two years, that’s a rounding error,” Oldham tells The Wall Street Journal. “The M.B.A. has the power to literally transform a person’s life and career trajectory. We’re serious about making it affordable for students.”